May 22 2024

Katre Hamam (Katre 4, 731 32, Chania)

June 6-22, 2024
Thursday-Friday, 19:00-22:00 and Saturday, 11:00-14:00 & 16:00-19:00

Για την Ελληνική Εκδοχή

In the context of Atopos Unbound and the ongoing curatorial project of Eleni Riga for The Office of Hydrocommons, we invite you to the Opening of the solo exhibition of Maria Nikiforaki entitled “Hydrodance: Elephant Cave” on Wednesday, June 5th 2024, 19:00-22:00. The exhibition explores the protection of biodiversity in Mediterranean underwater caves from human activities and proposes a new approach based on the symbiotic relationship between human bodies, mammals and bodies of water. The artwork “Hydrodance: Elephant Cave”, from which the exhibition takes its name, was created during underwater filming in the eponymous cave at Akrotiri in Chania, highlighting the area’s precious natural treasure.

This audiovisual work invites us to hold our breath and take a dive into a liquid world. Using the Elephant Cave in Crete as a backdrop, Nikiforaki stages an original underwater choreography that appropriates the vocabulary of marine biology and diving. The site is chosen symbolically as a reminder of the risk of biodiversity loss due to anthropogenic activities. The spiral movement of the divers – Anna Iliadou, Fayrouz El Mehdawi, Anastasia Kutkovska, champions in free diving and participants in the choreography – evokes the circular dance of fish or sea mammals and witches. The exhibition is enriched with material from the preparation of the work, including interviews with marine biologists from the H.C.M.R. (Hellenic Center for Marine Research) and workshops on the development of the choreography, offering a sensitive look at feminist values and their role in protecting nature.


Maria Nikiforaki 

Maria Nikiforaki lives and works between Athens and London. She uses choreography and film strategies to introduce social connotation to movement and the body, searching for performative practices to introduce emotional worlds as a political stance. She graduated from the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and Goldsmiths University. She has participated in many exhibitions and festivals: Semana Arte, Matadero CRA, Madrid Spain, Wet Heart, The Office of Hydrocommons x ATOPOS cvc, Mystery_19 Initiation as Process: Visual Arts Initiator, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, Unhappy Monuments, OPANDA & ARTWORKS, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Learning From Documenta, International Anthropological Conference, Artistic Workshop and Exhibition on documenta 14, supported by the Athens School of Fine Arts and the Laboratory of Anthropological Research – Department of Social Anthropology of Panteion University, the performance Event GOMENES as part of the Athens Biennale 2015-2017 OMONOIA, the Latitude Festival, Big Screen 2015 and 2014, London Film Festival, Performative Labour-ism Performance Festival as part of MPA-Berlin 2014, Month of Performance, Berlin, Germany, Performance Voyage 3 Film Festival 2013, Helsinki, Excentricités 3 Performance Festival 2012, Besançon. She has received many awards such as the “ARTWORKS” Award of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, the “Trinity Laban Dance Award” from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London, the “Performance Voyage 3 Festival Video Performance” Award from the Artists Association MUU, Helsinki. Maria Nikiforaki is a selected artist in the European program “Sustainability is in the AiR” (SAiR) for the period 2024-2026 between Ljubljana, Prague, Madrid, and Athens.

The Office of Hydrocommons

The Office of Hydrocommons is an interdisciplinary and interartistic platform focusing on issues of environmental and social change related to water and the body. It was initially conceived by the artistic director of ATOPOS cvc, Vassilis Zidianakis, in collaboration with independent curator Eleni Riga as part of #OccupyAtopos, and the collaboration continues within ATOPOS UNBOUND.



June 6- June 22, 2024

Wednesday, June 5, 2024, 19:00-22:00

Visiting Hours of the Exhibition :
Thursday-Friday, 19:00-22:00 and Saturday, 11:00-14:00, 16:00-19:00

*On Saturday, June 22, 2024, the exhibition will be open only from 11:00-14:00.

Free admission.


The exhibition “Hydrodance: Elephant Cave” is organized by the Office of Hydrocommons, ATOPOS cvc, within the framework of the ATOPOS UNBOUND program and is supported by the Region of Crete, the Municipality of Chania and the Ephorate of Antiquities of Chania. Maria Nikiforaki’s eponymous audiovisual works are realized with the support of ATOPOS cvc, Region of Crete, the Municipality of Chania and the Public Beneficiary Enterprise of Culture and Environment of the Municipality of Chania – Mediterranean Architecture Center, and the Municipality of Apokoronas.