Ithaca encapsulates the art world’s current seasonal nostalgia and ritual displays of homesickness. Fittingly, this project takes its name from 1911 verse by modern Greece’s national poet C. P. Cavafy and not Homer’s blueprint. George Tourkovasilis’ candid snapshots of Hellenic youths arrest the anxious onset of adulthood. Alekos Fassianos’ oil portraits show mythical man-gods locked in a battle with time as if this were their lot forever.
What’s new becomes old. Christopher Aque’s photographs bleached out by the scorching sun call for a bygone innocence even though their subject knows death. Luigi Ghirri’s postcard images mix signposts and signifiers and where is home next is yet to be found. Only Jessie Stevenson’s abstracted oil views of North Norfolk marshlands turn to the natural entirely and thus leave Odysseus with no landmark to set his sail by.
Such escapism, typical of Herald St’s programme, becomes increasingly difficult to pull off. This show drips with affectation that wouldn’t survive a minute tomorrow. But all is forgiven in this land of other people’s memories. Some artists, we fantasize, may yet reach their land.