The team of SHARING PERAMA chose the Scottish, London-based artist Robert Montgomery to fulfill the artistic project in Perama. He is one of the most known and shown artists working in the public space, with authenticity and respect for the people and the environment.
ROBERT MONTGOMERY is a poet, sculpting his poems with light (solar energy activated LEDs), so that everybody can see them, even at a distance, by day and by night.
Ηe is one of the most known and shown artists working in the public space, with authenticity and respect for the people. He is a pacifist and as such supports the pacifists and has created a body of work in favour of freedom, ecology, respect, and against imprisonment and the power of overwhelming capitalism. And again, Montgomery always gets inspired by the local situation to create his light poems: in Tasmania, outside the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, his work WHAT BECOMES OF THE BROKEN-HEARTED resonated in everybody’s mind.
Robert Montgomery draws his inspiration from the surroundings and the people to create his light poems.
He is a poet. But books are not enough for his poems. He wants to write his poems with light (solar energy activated LEDs) and write them on the walls of the cities, on buildings, in public spaces, so that everybody can see them, even at a distance, by day and by night. The cities are his galleries and he is one of the few artists today who does indeed, very specifically, “art for the people”. Wherever he installs his works, he will make sure that they resonate with the past and present of the place. When he was invited to install an exhibition on Tempelhof (the former airport in Berlin now transformed into a park), his poems talked about peace, about Europe, recalled some terrifying war strategies, made us dream of a peaceful future. Robert Montgomery is a pacifist.
In Perama, he bases his texts on the history of ancient and modern Greece, democracy and the history of Father Georgios Dimitriadis, on the marine geography of Perama, the islands, the shipyards, naval constructions and traveling (the artist knows about shipyards: Montgomery’s grandfather worked in the shipyards of Glasgow, the cranes in Perama are the same as in Glasgow, and Montgomery also knows about the devastating effects of the closure of the shipyards). Further sources of inspiration include the early times of Perama, the migrations, the current life in the city, and Rebétiko.
One more interesting feature for the artist is that the Greek alphabet is formally different. Montgomery’s pieces are not only poems, they are also sculptures. The artist makes sculptures with words and with light. A sculpture with Greek words is a novel challenge for him. And obviously, the texts have to be in Greek in order to serve the purpose of being art for the people. They will actually be two-sided: Greek – and English. Furthermore, Robert Montgomery’s works are sustainable and may remain outside safe and illuminated for decades.
“The Scottish artist installs poetry in unexpected urban sites with his stripped down white-on-black text. Others are made of lights or even lit on fire, adding a ghostly air to the lonely public spaces."
from The Huffington Post (US)
“For lack of a better word, there is a profoundly magical moment in the works of Robert Montgomery: In the middle of the street, we might come across one of his poems and realise that someone is speaking with us. Like a ghostly whisper. It is the idea that someone knows us and has known us all along that is at the unsettling and touching core of Robert’s work. He recognises us in his poems. He speaks with us and never just to us. And within that recognition – somewhere on a street amongst strangers – is a deeply dignifying moment.
from Manuel Wischnewski