Mona Hatoum, "Fix it". 2004. ΕΜΣΤ Collection. Photo by Olympianna Miliaki


Floors 2 & 3

ΕΜΣΤ holds the national collection of contemporary Greek art as well as work by international contemporary artists. As a museum that was founded in 2000, it highlights art of the 21st century, though it also collects Greek art of the post-war era that is representative of the basic stages in the development of the avant-garde in the country and abroad. The focus is on conceptual art as well as works of a socio-political orientation. There are over 1400 works in the collection to date.

The future collection policy under the new artistic direction of Katerina Gregos will maintain core socio-political character of the collection and will continue systematically enriching the collection with Greek artists of different generations, offering multiple perspectives across the genealogies of the country’s political and cultural life, but also the tools to understand and place them in relation to the ever-changing international context.

At the same time, the new collection policy will take into consideration Greece’s position in the southeastern edge of Europe, bordering Turkey and within the Balkans, its proximity to the Middle East and North Africa. This makes ΕΜΣΤ uniquely positioned to become a leading museum in the region and one that reflects the rich multicultural, historic and socio-political universe of the Mediterranean, Southern Europe and the former Levant. Many parts of the region continue to be terra incognita as a result of Ottoman occupation, long-standing resulting conflicts, geo-political tensions and power struggles which have played out in a battle between master and marginalised narratives, with many stories sidelined by predominant narratives of nation-building and progress. Today, new, more diverse and inclusive narratives need to be brought forward, including ones that reflect the roots of Greece’s own tumultuous history and the cosmopolitanism of its diaspora. Μyths need to be dismantled and minority voices heard. The museum’s future acquisitions policy will be based on these axes.

The entirety of a museum collection can never be permanently on show, as its size invariably exceeds the available exhibition space. Changing the presentation of the collection is necessary to renew the works, to showcase those that have not been seen before, and to demonstrate that a museum, as well as its collection, are lively entities, and not moribund apothecaries of the past. Moreover, as history is neither fixed, nor singular, the acquisitions policy of a museum of contemporary art should reflect this.


A selection of over 90 works from the museum’s collection is on view on the second and third floor of the building. The collection unravels and interweaves multiple narrative threads: the post-war social and political struggles in Greece and the critique of institutions and power; the precarious conditions created by borders and exclusionary politics, from South Africa to the Middle East; the limits of the self and the social body; the formal adventures of abstraction and the dynamic use of materials; the concept of negotiation as a field for the expression of social conflicts.

Based on the curatorial plan of the museum’s former director, Katerina Koskina, this exhibition was put together under the interim direction of Dimitris Antonakakis and Syrago Tsiara and made possible by the efforts of the EMΣT curatorial team: Daphne Vitali, Anna Mykoniati, Tina Pandi and Stamatis Schizakis, as well as the museum’s art conservators Fotini Alexopoulou and Elina Kavalieratou, architect Iro Nikolakea and EMΣΤ registrar Maria Drakou. This presentation of the collection will be on view until the end of 2022. It will then be completely reconfigured to include part of a major donation this year from the D.Daskalopoulos Collection, the most significant donation in the museum’s history. In the future, EMΣT will continue to systematically renew the collection presentation.

The National Museum of Contemporary Art began operating in 2000. Its establishment and development would not have been possible without the perseverance, vision and dedica- tion of its founding director Anna Kafetsi, who made it the leading contemporary art institution in Greece that it is today.

Vital to EMST’s creative continuity was a €3,000,000 grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), announced in July 2018, which enabled completion of the works necessary for the Museum to operate to its fullest potential. This grant helped the Museum outfit its exhibition spaces and prepare and transport its permanent collection. SNF supported the procurement of essential equipment and contributed to the establishment and upgrade of various Museum spaces, including the Media Lounge, the Conservation Laboratory, the Library and Artistic Archive, and the Screening Room.

Dimitris Alithinos, Francis Alÿs, Kutlug Ataman, Chronis Botsoglou, Andrea Bowers, Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin, Vlassis Caniaris, Ivan Grubanov, Koken Ergun, Makis Faros, Kendell Geers, Mona Hatoum, Emily Jacir, Nikos Kessanlis, Panos Kokkinias, Dimosthenis Kokkinidis, Jannis Kounellis, Jannis Psyshopedis, Walid Raad and the Atlas Group, Allan Sekula, Aspa Stasinopoulou, Theodoros,sculptor, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Kostis Velonis