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ATHENS Tyus Bowser Jersey , Aug. 6 (Xinhua) -- Celebrated Argentinean artist Adrian Villar Rojas has transformed this summer the outdoor space of the Athens National Observatory opposite to the Athens Acropolis into a "jungle", posing to locals and foreign tourists questions regarding disappearance, extinction, the passage and volatility of time.

Rojas' impressive installation on the Hill of the Nymphs entitled "The Theater of Disappearance" is the first project ever he was allowed to set up in an archaeological site worldwide, organizers of the Greek NEON nonprofit organization which commissioned the work told Xinhua.

It is also the first time Greek authorities have given the green light for such a major project in an archaeological site.

The Athens National Observatory with a remarkable view of the Parthenon is a landmark in the historic centre of the Greek capital. It is the first research institution established in Greece in 1842.

The Athens National Observatory is part of the city's history and more often in recent years tries through various events to highlight the link between science and Art, according to its Director Manolis Pleionis.

"Opening up to a different kind of Art and hosting the Theater of Disappearance was a challenge. Adrian Villar Rojas revealed with his work more potential of the historic site of the Hill of the Nymphs," Professor Pleionis noted.

Villar Rojas is well known for large-scale sculptural installations that radically disturb the sites he engages with. He creates unpredictable settings for the visitor to explore.

On the Hill of the Nymphs he worked for months to sow 46,000 plants from 26 species, including bamboo, artichokes, watermelons, pumpkins, artichokes and asparagus across an area of 4,500 square meters.

The vegetation gradually took over the hill, swallowing statues, and will to grow until the exhibition's end on Sept. 24.

Since June 1 visitors -- free of entrance- can walk through narrow paths to admire this "jungle" and discover the sculptural installations Rojas has hidden in vitrines among the plants as well as a barren zone which points to a war-torn site.

Among others the visitors can see a replica of the Victory of Samothrace, the statue of a winged female figure, which lies horizontally instead of upright or a replica of NASA's unmanned space rover that arrived on Mars in 2012 to assess whether the planet has ever supported life.

"What does it mean to have the soil beneath our feet?" Villar Rojas asks visitors through this intervention which also expands into the indoor spaces of the Observatory.

"I come from Argentina, where essentially soil is a means of production... The strongest features of our national identity are our crops and cattle," the artist told the organizers.

"When I arrived in Greece, I immediately understood that for Greeks what is below their feet was as constitutive of their national identity as it is for Argentineans, but in a completely different way. What was beneath their feet was culture: thousands of years of human civilizations," he said according to an NEON press release.

"The transformation of the Athens National Observatory by Villar Rojas shows his vision and commitment to overturn status quo. It also shows NEON's determination to bring contemporary culture closer to the public with innovative and bold ideas," NEON's founder, collector and entrepreneur Dimitris Daskalopoulos said.

Founded in 2013 NEON aims to show that Art is a key tool for growth for a country which faces difficult times in recent years during the debt crisis.

The project on the Hill of the Nymphs is part of the organization's campaign to establish a link between contemporary culture and the historical and archaeological heritage of Athens.

The installation is also an umbrella title and part of four separate exhibitions taking place in 2017 across Europe and the U.S. In addition to Athens, Villar Rojas currently presents his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (April 14-Oct. 29), Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria (May 13-Aug. 27) and the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles (Oct. 22-Feb. 26, 2018).

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