The war refuge in Adamas, Melos, was constructed under the commands of the German Occupation Army during the Second World War. It is an impressive, complected construction consisted of twelve large chambers, branching on both sides of an axial artery, below the today’s settlement of Adamas. All this invisible side of the island, concealing memories of a story we all wish to forget, comes in sharp contradiction to the Cycladic landscape of the island and the vacationers flocking in thousands here during the summer period.
Incentive for the Refuge Project has been the site itself, as well as the notion of «refuge», not only in its historical meaning but, more generally, in the sense of our today’s need to find shelter in a non existing place, an invention of a personal refuge created by each one of us in order to feel safe and protected.
Point of departure for this attempt has been our investigation concerning the initial use of the place and the living memories through the photographic material, private collections, narrations – testimonies given by local islanders surviving from the war era.
We shared the results of this investigation with 17 other visual artists, who were invited to participate, «re-abiding» the refuge 70 years after, rearticulating so the need for «protection» from a potential threat, by works in situ.
Every artist, within the span of one week, was given a «private» cell in the refuge, where he developed the initial idea of his work and shared with everybody else the responsibility of cohabitation and coexistence, in an otherwise «unfamiliar» place. A considerable amount of the materials were found on the island. The very morphology of the place, niches, crypts, blind tunnels, water and empty tanks, as well as materials which each artist brought with him, personal documents included, have been a decisive thrust for the creation of the works. The visitor, through this invisible side of the island, comes to participate in the search for new, invisible areas of reality, which cannot appear but through visual means.