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NOVEMBER - DECEMBER 2013 The bimonthly electronic journal of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation

EDITORIAL TEAM

Georgia Alevizaki, Paraskevi Gerolymatou, Andreas Georgiadis, Maria Koutsomallis, Alexandra Papakostopoulou, Maria Skamaga, Irene Stratis Designed and edited by

Τ +30 210 - 7252896 www.moca-andros.gr | www.goulandris.gr


CONTENTS

IN PLACE OF A PROLOGUE

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By Kyriakos Koutsomallis, Director of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation

INTERVIEW

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With Costa Gavras

I N S I D E T H E F O U N D AT I O N ’ S P E R M A N E N T C O L L E C T I O N

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César, Pouce

CONTEMPORARY GREEK ART F rom the F oundation ’ s P ermanent C ollection

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RECENT NEWS

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After Depicting Transcendence Impressions and Reviews

FORMER BEGF SCHOLARS

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Apostolia Papadamakis

I N T E R N AT I O N A L L I S T I N G S / C U LT U R E A list of major art shows around the world

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I N P L A C E O F A P R O LO G U E

With our online bulletin now in its fourth issue we feel we should extend a warm greeting to our ever growing readership and thank them for their attention and trust, which they communicate to us in so many different ways. This issue offers its readers the opportunity to savor and reflect on the thought and practice of acclaimed film director Costa Gavras, an erudite, experienced, inspired, and talented transcriber of real-life scenarios and socially engaged tales into film images. At the risk of sounding cliché, we might observe once more that in these spiritually arid times Costa Gavras’ achievements do credit to his homeland, as much as to his adopted country, which embraced him and showcased his work; above all, they do credit to the great art of the cinema. No wonder, we are so happy about this interview. We are equally pleased to commend to our readers’ judgment some compelling thoughts by former BEGF scholar Apostolia Papadamaki, who ‘went after her dream’ with love, faith, and passion, and managed to open new roads in contemporary dance and choreography. The MoCA, Andros, exhibit Depicting Transcendence: From Byzantine Tradition to Modern Art, which was at the heart of this summer’s art events, attracting a large Greek and international public and receiving great reviews, closed on Sunday, 29 September. The catalogue that accompanied it can now be purchased at the museum’s art store and in central Athens bookshops. We would like to inform our friends that an exhibition titled Modern Greek Art will be on show at the Andros Museum through the winter months, featuring paintings and sculptures from the Foundation’s permanent collection along a theme-based itinerary. The exhibition will run until 30 April 2014. Finally, let us once more repeat the obvious: that you can reach us on all social media platforms so that you may share with us your impressions and comments. Kyriakos Koutsomallis Director

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INTERVIEW WITH

COSTA GAVRAS Philippe Claudel has described you as a ‘tragic poet’, a dramatist using his camera to portray the contrast (or, perhaps, the contradiction) between History and personal choice, or in other words the tragic irony contained in that small space man occupies within an inhumane society. How do you respond to this, or, if you prefer, how would you describe your own artistic vision as articulated through the films you make? It is an interesting thing Philippe Claudel says about me. Naturally, though, he alone is responsible for this view. Personally I can neither accept nor reject it. I make my films all the while keeping my distance from the various schools of filmmaking; nor have I ever desired to create one myself for that matter. A filmmaker’s work, the film itself, is the fruit of a personal passion and it is a complex, adventurous affair. It is often said that filmmaking is collaborative, but this is not exactly true. For a film to be, there first needs to be a ‘master builder’ so to speak, without whom what you get is not a cinematic work but a mere product that has been completed. However, I am always aware of the fact that filmmaking is no less an industry than it is an art, which makes it an extremely sophisticated and complex artifice. One sees, then, that a film is not exactly something for which there is a social demand. It is the filmmaker that will help establish his work as such by means of the passion that he brings to it, his talent, and, perhaps, the name he has made for himself through his work. At times, the sort of remark that opens your question will also lend a hand. To me, making a film means taking action at the same time, entering the life of the crowd. I portray man within society; I portray the power of which he is both the wielding subject and receiving object. I penetrate into that life, then, and start recounting what I see, with delight as much as with a sense of resentment if resentment is what I experience. In other words, I document the happiness or misery that people bring to each other’s lives. It is not the viewer I am thinking of when conceiving the idea for a film. But what I want, in terms of my relationship with the viewer, is to use the stories I tell and the images I create to seduce him, in a broad sense of the word. To ‘captivate’ him, as Bergman used to say, keep a firm grip on the audience’s attention and perhaps force them into reflection.

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Your stories and heroes do not seem to need the sense of security that a happy ending provides. And yet there is a quiet optimism to the way you look at things. Where does this stem from? I feel that this generalized concept of a ‘happy end’ is more a commercial necessity than an artistic imperative. Certain stories, of course, cannot but have a happy ending. As far as my work is concerned, with some of the stories I transcribe into image, which are true stories, based on fact that is to say, such as Z, The Confession, and Missing, it is the story itself that dictates the ending. With other narratives though, such as State of Siege, Hanna K, Capital, etc, the ending is the result of personal reflection on the film’s subject. In general, it is my belief that for all the insanity and successive disasters that beset the world, historically speaking the fate of mankind and its societies is largely improved. But the truth remains that political parlance abounds, as it always has, in promises of paradise, while what is actually done to promote improvement and progress is inadequate. I think that a film’s end must reflect this reality, though we should not fail to turn an ironic, and, at the end of the day, perhaps even a sarcastic eye on this world and our own self. If we might say that art’s most fundamental contribution is its profound humanism, do you feel that contemporary art (in the sense of the art being created today) continues to play that part? From antiquity to the middle ages, Art was bound with religion; in fact, it was in a way subjugated by it. It was didactic and moralistic. But around the eighteenth century it liberates itself from that bond and becomes buoyant, hedonistic. During the nineteenth century Art harmonizes with a new dominant aesthetics that makes a religion of the notion of freedom. The twentieth century sees the advent of cinema, an original-sin-like art, contradictory and diverse, but also bold and undaunted in its resolve. Thus begins a new age of emancipation and freedom. Art becomes didactic, moralistic, hedonistic, brimful of aesthetic pleasure and at the same time, perhaps more importantly so, increasingly more liberated and varied. The religious gives way to the social and, therefore, the political, whose character is largely humanistic: in other words, it exalts the dignity of the human being and the individual’s need for freedom.

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INTERVIEW WITH C O S TA G AV R A S

And yet the entrance of politics into cinema would also have adverse results insofar as extremist regimes would use the art of filmmaking to suit their appetite. But despite the difficulties and mishaps it must overcome, creative expression through the art of filmmaking will remain free and popular, for its will is strong. Does the work of young filmmakers give you reasons to feel vindicated, hopeful, or reassured about the present of the art of filmmaking, or, better yet, its future? What I notice about young film directors is a new kind of artistic ambition and a sense of freedom that accepts no compromise. This is accompanied by an indifference as regards financial concerns and their personal career, which was not there before, at least not in that scale. In general, these directors seem to be concerned first and foremost with the content and form of their films. They broach new subjects that are more often than not taboo. They are especially aided in this by the development of technical means; more precisely, by the revolutionary techniques that are a result of information technology. Making a documentary or narrative film these days is not the prerogative of a single social class, whose children, that is, have the means... The digital age has made this accessible to all. All it takes for a young person to make a film is ideas, a will to do so, and perseverance; the funds one needs are now smaller. Of course, above all it takes talent. Your frequent comments on the role of learning, not to mention your contribution through the Cinémathèque Française underscore the need to develop and practice a rigorous, and dynamic policy of cultural learning and aesthetic training. What would be the effects of such a courageous policy on education and society? Before there is such a thing as a national culture there first needs to be a will on the part of the political establishment, of the people’s elected representatives and their governments to promote this culture and support it at every turn. It all starts with education, that is with making the Arts – painting, drama, literature, film – part of the school curriculum. Education and culture are the ultimate means with which to do away with fanaticism,

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INTERVIEW WITH C O S TA G AV R A S dead-end mentalities, and the inability to practice self-criticism. They are the means to tolerance, to accepting difference in others. I believe that teaching film and audiovisual media in general is essential for a world such as ours where the image is omnipresent and laden with meanings that we must be able to make out; hence, to choose amongst them. Political will should be complemented by substantial funding for film and audiovisual productions. It is the only way to ensure their creative freedom and high quality, and extricate them from the grip of the market, relieve them from the pressure to generate profit. It is clear, though, that this kind of aid cannot be accompanied by state or other intervention. Creative freedom is a sine qua non condition. This is the case in France. The role of the Cinémathèque Française is to act as guardian of our cinematic tradition, and restore works on film should that be necessary, but above all to screen the masterpieces created ever since the birth of cinema. Viewers are offered in this infinite possibilities for discoveries that can be both entertaining and thought provoking. The hero in your last film, Capital, offers a lesson in both cynicism and hypocrisy when he declares that the Left should be happy for Capital is now in the position to feed the children in the Third World, in other words to realize the Left’s youthful dreams. The line’s biting sarcasm aside, can one perhaps also read it as a bitter comment on the future? Does the future belong to those who can but won’t, as opposed to those who willed but could not? Shall those with a will to act never be able to? You are asking me to answer questions that have been troubling humans for ages. I have no answers, but what I do know is that often in the history of mankind a single man or small group of men with a strong and unswerving will power, full of determination and new ideas managed to change long established perceptions, human desires, and convictions, mankind itself. They pulled the rest of humanity out of ignorance, often out of a state of barbarity, though there are unfortunately occasions where the exact opposite was the case. As far as Capital is concerned, the hero is steeped in the kind of cynicism that comes with being sincere. He believes everything he says and does. No one could promote and defend a policy, a strategy as vast as the one he is implementing without believing in it: that is, without the moral foundation he is himself advertising, and the god-pleasing results that are again his own construct and serve his own ends. And that is exactly an image of man regressing to a form of barbarity. The film’s hero is like those colonialists of the past who never failed to claim that colonialism was the way to bring civilization to the ‘savages’. And just like those colonialists, just like many others really, e. g. politicians everywhere, the hero of Capital ‘sacralizes’ his own actions. This is where art comes in, cinema in particular, a popular art par excellence, its role being to ‘de-sacralize’ those persons and their actions.

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I N S I D E T H E F O U N D AT I O N ’ S PERMANENT COLLECTION

César (1921 - 1984)

Pouce

Bronze, 46,5 x 23,5 x 18 cm, 1980 César’ s idea to enlarge a model of his thumb came to him when his work was alternating between sculptures from welded pieces of scrap metal and the compressions, cars compacted into blocks. His travel to Pompeii was proved to be the instrumental experience in the depiction of the human body in his works. Especially, his admiration of hands stems from the thick fingers and broad palms of his teacher, Cornu, Rodin’s assistant. The inspiration to enlarge his own thumb in 1965 came when, as a member of the Salon de Mai board of critics, he visited a young sculptor’s workshop and saw a technician in the yard enlarging models of sculpture using a pantograph. César was unaware of pantographs and was delighted by its ability to faithfully enlarge the original object. The result was a thumb approximating human flesh. For the artist, the enlargement of his thumb and its versions in different dimensions and in a plethora of materials seemed a work of art with no end: “It is a sculpture in the making. If I could, I would make it the size of the Eiffel Tower, people it have restaurants!” Seeing the Thumb always triggers similar associations as do parts broken off ancient statues: the part betrays the whole and stands as an entity in its own right: “My idea was to create, with the help of its technique, a César, not a sculpture of César to be enlarged”. In 1980 he decided to rework several creations from the 1960s and cast them in bronze. Their uprightness symbolizes affirmation, imparting strength and moreover, giving a phallic dimension to these works. However, what is ultimately expressed through these oversized fingers is character, life style: the long but fleshy thumb of 1980, presented here, with its fine, manicured nail, can only belong to a woman of charm and forceful personality.

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RECENT NEWS

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MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

CONTEMPORARY GREEK ART From the Foundation’s Permanent Collection

The Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art in Chora, Andros, will remain open through the winter months, presenting works of painting and sculpture from the Foundation’s permanent collection in an exhibition titled Contemporary Greek Art. The exhibition includes work from the following artists: George Bouzianis, George Chadoulis, Mariora Exarchopoulos, Alekos Fasianos, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, Steve Gianakos, Anna Grigora, Marina Karella, Yorgos Lambrou, Marina Laskari, Memos Makris, Yannis Moralis, Yorgos Negroponte, George Rorris, Lucas Samaras, Pavlos Samios, Evanthia Soutoglou, Panayiotis Tetsis, Yannis Tsarouchis, Yannis Psychopedis, Sophia Vari, Spyros Vassiliou, Dikos Βyzantios, George Yannakas, George Zongolopoulos. The exhibition hopes to provide a platform for dialogue between artists from different generations; more importantly, between artists that represent different perceptions of art. The exhibition’s approach is thematic rather than chronological and it therefore eschews linearity as far as its narrative is concerned. It is scheduled to run until 30 April 2014.

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RECENT NEWS

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MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

After Depicting Transcendence Impressions and Reviews Borrowed from Byzantium: 130 paintings on show in Andros By Margarita Pournara Can religious painting be fascinating? Before offering a hasty answer, it might be worth visiting the exhibition organized this year by the Andros-based museum of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, titled Depicting Transcendence: From Byzantine Tradition to Modern Art; a survey bringing together as many as 130 works, each of which has its own story to tell. And it is not the Lives of Saints I am referring to, but rather the tale of challenges that confronted artists such as Yannis Tsarouchis, Constantinos Parthenis, Polyklitos Rengos, Agenor Asteriadis, Nikos Engonopoulos, Spyros Papaloukas, Spyros Vassiliou, and Fotis Kontoglou, when alongside their secular work they decided to try their hand at religious art. It was hardly a matter of chance. At a time when academic religious painting was dominant, the generation of the 30s forcefully reintroduced the tradition of Byzantine art. Yet their contemplation of the past was inseminated with the aesthetic concerns of their age, with experiences garnered from their travels to the metropolises of Europe, with their own personal investigations. A thread seems to run through the selection of works featured in the Andros exhibit that magically binds together Mount Athos and Paris, the millennium-long history of the Byzantine tradition and the achievements of the Fauves, expressionists, surrealists, and Nabis. And more than that, the exhibition shows the Greek public that some of the avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century seem in fact to have borrowed elements from Byzantine art: the absence of threedimensionality, the frontal arrangement of figures, the use of geometric motifs. Putting together this show was no easy matter. Works exited the archives of Holy Monasteries and the storage sites of private and museum collections for the first time; they were removed from their place in iconostases revealing unknown truths about painters whose work is otherwise largely familiar to us. These include, among others, Yannis Tsarouchis’ exquisite drawings for the chapel of St. Paraskevi in Mytilene, on loan from the Tériade Museum, Mytilene, preliminary sketches for a work that never went past the preparation stage. The same holds for the two Parthenis paintings on the theme of the Annunciation, which the artist created for the church of St. Alexandros in Paleo Faliro and which were stored in the church vestry; to these were added two drawings by the painter depicting the Virgin Reading a Book (Panagia Anagnostra), which came to light in time to be included in the exhibition, and a so far unknown drawing of a saint by Kontoglou. The exhibition also offers a lesson in some of the excellent work many of our greater painters carried out in churches that we may have visited, though hardly ever paying attention to the aesthetic brilliance of the icons adorning their walls, e. g. the splendid saints painted by Spyros Vassiliou in the church of St. Dionysios the Areopagite, or by Constantinos Artemis in the church of St. Basil on Metsovou St., or by Smyrna-born Anastasios Loukidis in the church of Zöodochos Pege (Fountain of Life), in Athens, etc. We were pleasantly surprised by this exhibition at the Goulandris Museum, which helps advance our insight into the generation of the 30s in such an unexpected way. I Kathimerini, 03.07.2013 17


RECENT NEWS

Transcendence and impasse: On ‘reception’, ‘assimilation’, ‘utilization’, and ‘integration’, or, simply put, on the synthesis of tradition and modernism. By Costas Christopoulos The exhibition currently on show at the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation [sic] in Chora, Andros, that has been curated by art historian Nikolaos Zias is certainly one of the most significant art events of this summer. It is concerned with the dialogue between modern Greek artists and the tradition of Byzantine and post-Byzantine painting: a dialogue which spans a period starting at the beginning of the past century and ending roughly around the 1970s. […] It is a known fact that artists such as Parthenis, Papaloukas, Vassiliou, Engonopoulos, Asteriadis, Tassos, Tsarouchis, Kopsidis, or Nikolaou engaged the idioms of Byzantine art. However, the terms of such engagement become clearer within this kind of rigorous thematic display as opposed to the occasional general historical survey of modern Greek art, or other exhibitions that are conceived as retrospectives. […] This analogy at the heart of the exhibition’s narrative helps chart the development of religious imagery and representation through the past century. Especially as regards church frescoes and, to a lesser extent, icons, there are numerous restrictions, as you may already know, that these are subject to, whether aesthetic, stylistic, or legal even. Nevertheless, it is within such constraints that subtle, though not imperceptible, variations become the token of a special painterly skill or sensibility. Amidst so rigid a morphological ‘canon’ these slight shifts become all the more evident, indeed explicit: we might say that they in fact constitute manifestations of the modern. Works in the exhibition, then, speak of ‘reception’, ‘assimilation’, ‘utilization’, and ‘integration’; simply put, they speak of the synthesis of tradition and modernism. Although the exhibition’s approach is not linear, its installation plan in other words does not follow a chronological order and, in so doing, exactly serve the purpose of a particular historical narrative, one can generally discern the different stages in this dialogue and, ultimately, tell in which cases this gives way to a fundamentally new and dynamic insight, as opposed to those instances where it appears to be stale and ineffectual, confined to little more than an awkward reading not only of contemporary reality but also of tradition and modernism itself. For example, the cases of Parthenis and Papaloukas stand out inasmuch as both artists were ingenious and groundbreaking in their treatment of form, and perfectly attuned to the avant-garde spirit of their time, without ever compromising the spirituality of religious faith and inspiration, or indeed its transcendent quality. On the contrary, there is the example of Engonopoulos, among others, who seems trapped in an endless reiteration of bits and pieces of that dialogue, unable to move past them, creating work that is uncertain, irresolute, content to describe rather than rise above the implicit contradictions of that dialogue. […] I Avgi tis Kyriakis, 08.09.2013

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MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

Byzantine art is Surrealistic By Christos Siafkos In 1958 Nikos Nikolaou submitted to a specially convened jury studies for two icons that were meant to be installed in the church of Zoödochos Pege, The Hospitality of Abraham and Deësis (Supplication), and was subsequently given the go-ahead by Marinos Kalligas and [Anastasios] Orlandos. These studies, complete with revenue stamps on the side, are now on show at the Andros Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation. But the work that best sums up the exhibition’s concept is The Annunciation by Parthenis, on loan from the National Gallery, where the artist is seen borrowing elements from the tradition of Byzantine art at the same time that his work seems to have assimilated all the latest developments in the art movements of his time (symbolism, fauvism, etc.) Professor Nikolaos Zias, the exhibition’s curator, characteristically notes that Parthenis painted the scene of the Annunciation in the monastery of St. George in Poros where he then lived, substituting the lily in the hands of the angel with a lyre in accordance with his belief that music was the tongue of angels. The exhibition includes three more icons by Parthenis never before to have left their place in the church of St. Alexandros in Paleo Faliro, two of which had been hidden for years in the church vestry. Furthermore, Athenian churches were the source for a scale model and two drawings by Loukidis (the church of Zoödochos Pege on Academias St.), four pilgrimage icons by Spyros Vassiliou (the church of St. Dionysios the Areopagite), and a drawing for the decoration of the Church of St. Andrew in Kato Patissia by Fotis Kontoglou. Eleftherotypia, 01.07.2013

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RECENT NEWS And Surrealism Created the Divine

By Pari Spinou Byzantine tradition and its influence on modern Greek art, especially the work of major representatives of the celebrated generation of the 30s and the Interwar years, are the focus of the exhibition organized this year by the Andros Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation. Depicting Transcendence: From Byzantine Tradition to Modern Art presents more than 130 works painted with keen religious sensibility. Featured artists include Constantinos Parthenis, Fotis Kontoglou, Nikos Engonopoulos, Nikos Nikolaou, Yannis Tsarouchis, Spyros Vassiliou, Spyros Papaloukas, Constantinos Artemis, Agenor Asteriadis, Rallis Kopsidis, Dimitris Galanis, Tassos, Georgios Sikeliotis, Vasso Katraki, et al. ‘Today the exhibition serves as an incentive for us to go back to our own values, and there seek out the models we need,’ said yesterday MoCA, Andros, director Kyriakos Koutsomallis. He went on to point out that ‘Greek artists who experienced the crisis of the Interwar years resolved not to act as compradors, but instead to hearken to the lessons of their own tradition. Some of them gained first hand experience of the massive shifts in art of the past century, as they found themselves living in or travelling to the great centers of the art world, Paris, Munich, Vienna, New York. Others travelled to the cradles of Byzantine culture, to Mount Athos, Meteora, Mystras. The exhibition aims to demonstrate how these artists received, assimilated, and utilized elements of both tradition and modernism and how they integrated them into their particular artistic vision, helping thus to renew the appeal of Byzantine art’. Byzantine artists may have disobeyed the divine command forbidding them to depict the likeness of Christ. Yet this is how ‘Christ enters the realm of History, his image entering that of the two-dimensional, so that it may both resemble and be distinct from the image of God,’ remarked University of Athens professor emeritus Nikolaos Zias, who has curated the exhibition. Moreover, Christians may have fought against each other in the period of the iconomachy, but for many centuries since the Byzantine world would dwell in obscurity, until the day when interest in its art was rekindled. Constantinos Parthenis seems to have pioneered this turn after his stay in Paris, launching a dialogue between tradition and European art movements. ‘In 1919 he uses canvas to paint the icons of saints in the church of St. Alexandros, in Paleo Faliro, and takes substantial liberties in his use of color – strokes of green are introduced into the palette of pinks reserved for the face –, while his drawings are striking in their precision,’ continues N. Zias. Conversely, the work of Spyros Papaloukas–who is commissioned to decorate the Cathedral of Amfissa in 1927, following a competition–reveals a cache of neo-impressionist features, a legacy of his Paris training. At the same time Fotis Kontoglou visits Mount Athos and writes, awestruck: ‘I never expected to find so rhythmical an art inside these dark churches.’ The young Spyros Vassiliou undertakes to decorate the church of St. Dionysios the Areopagite adhering to the principles of Byzantine style ‘with minor variations mainly on the western wall of the church, where there are references to the Athens Acropolis and St. Paul’s Areopagus Sermon.’ Nikos Engonopoulos combined surrealism, the Greek past, and Byzantine art, which he considered to be highly surrealistic in its own right, while Zante-born Demetrios Pelekassis was evidently influenced by the Ionian School and Italian art and infused his work with elements from both the neo-byzantine and western traditions. I Efimerida ton Syntakton, 03.07.2013 20


MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART

At first I thought what I would see would be rather traditional; the title baffled me a little. But it was an exceptional experience, an altogether unique thing for me! Congratulations – this is a step forward in many directions! Vassilis Tsakiris * A difficult subject beautifully presented – at last it becomes obvious that religious art equals the Byzantine world along with something else that is rarely to be seen in Greece. Eftychia * A truly brilliant show! Both the selection and installation of works across the exhibition space were absolutely enlightening. My warmest congratulations to all those who made it happen. Yorgos Tsimboukis, Archaeologist * An inspired selection of works. It opens up new roads in understanding Byzantine art. It seems ideally suited for scholars – this is certainly work that will not go to waste. Congratulations. Maria Fotouchou, Archaeologist * One of the most interesting shows the Museum has put up. Bringing together the diverse visions of so many painters was a difficult task that was carried out with great success. Al. Voudouris * A vastly interesting exhibition, especially in as much as it introduces us to the religious work of painters we have come to know for art that is altogether different. M. M. 21


FORMER BEGF SCHOLARS

Apostolia Papadamakis Sholar B.E.G.F., 1994-1995, choreography

How does an artist such as yourself experience the current situation? I listen closely to things happening around me, I observe, and experience reality through a ‘system of concentric circles’ as I call it. Starting with myself, with how I feel in regard to the crisis, I move on to the circle of my immediate family, my neighborhood, my city, my country, Europe, the world..., or the other way around, with an event occurring somewhere in the world: how this affects my personal life, or views. I believe the artist to be a kind of poet-prophet: someone who should criticize what is, at once seeing what might be, how man might change the world, making it a better place by changing himself first. When my feelings find expression and are shared by others, then I am happy. I feel fortunate to be living in Greece at this time: to me, the crisis is first and foremost a spiritual crisis and, as such, it is also an opportunity to create a better future. The age of rampant consumerism is now behind us and it only led to fear. A new era is dawning and we must choose to have a place in it. I believe in the theory of morphic resonance: when one of us does something, say creates a work of art, that is profoundly sincere then this resonates with the rest of us in way that is not necessarily rational but is rather more like a vibration that causes you to ‘move’ from the spot you occupied. You have been involved in many different projects in terms of both form and content. Have you ever been concerned about whether your work was received more as entertainment or fun, or is this a false dichotomy in the sense that the dividing lines it implies are not really there? They are very much there. It is almost impossible for me to survive in Greece today if I am an artist involved only in avant-garde shows, without support from state institutions. I was given the choice to leave the country and work in Belgium where working

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conditions simply cannot compare to those in Greece, but I decided to stay and fight as best I could. And so I work at the same time with something that is equally dear to me, choreographing and directing theater or opera productions. I must confess that I find it extremely challenging to create quality work that has at once a distinct mark and a sense of artistic character even when putting together a show that targets a wider audience. I believe this is a feasible thing. It is through such work that I came to realize that Greek audiences are inquisitive and intellectually curious, and their aesthetic standards are pretty high. It is also worth noting that the crisis seems to have nudged a substantial portion of the public in the direction of what one might call ‘top notch work’ and to have fueled a demand for refinement even in those shows that are supposed to be ‘fun’, though fun is not understood as it would have been in the past. To give you an example, fewer and fewer people will go to nightclubs while National Theater audiences, or attendance in shows that combine theater, music, and dance are steadily increasing. A while ago you produced a show for children and, if I am not mistaken, the audience consisted mainly of preschoolers and young schoolchildren. What urged you to ‘speak’ to the children? Children are more demanding an audience than adults; they have no sense of propriety and they pick up everything that’s going on up on the stage. Grown-ups will remain seated even through a show that means nothing to them, because that’s the norm. A child simply will not. When I decided to direct Lahana kai Hahana (Greens and Giggles) I had my five-year-old son in mind, asking myself how might one explain to an audience of children what art is, what its basic principles are, why we need to express ourselves through dance, music, painting, and song. Let us not forget that the first thing we do as infants is move rhythmically and make sounds. For humans learning to sing and dance

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(through impulse) comes before learning to talk and walk. The challenge, therefore, consisted on the one hand in asking how instrumental art really is to shaping our personality and value system, and, on the other, in carrying the message across to my young audience that art, whether we are professionally involved with it or not, is the mind’s life-long companion; that it sensitizes us to our own needs and the needs of others. At the same time, my goal was to make them see that if we have understanding, trust, and faith in the power of team work there is nothing we cannot achieve. I feel that what’s missing in education today is a love of learning per se as opposed to learning as a tool for survival. The biggest bet for the show, then, was to urge young viewers to learn for love of learning and not because ‘they have to’. Much to my surprise, and delight, audiences have loved the show so much that it now continues into its third year. Is there a new challenge in terms of your creative work you are currently preoccupied with? Thankfully, yes. I am working on a series of site-specific solo performances that are to be carried out under special conditions in outdoor spaces. The title is The Death Series and it has already been presented at the courtyard of the National Theater and in the surrounding streets, now part of an immigrant ghetto more than anything else, and it deals with the role of art and the artist in a time of crisis. My wish is that the performance travel to other cities and countries in the world, asking questions such as: is art a thing for the select few? To what extent might artists dare to expose themselves to audiences that are considered ‘disenfranchised’, perhaps even ‘dangerous’? You have said that New York was a ‘big turn’ for you? What did it change about your life? Yes, that is true. I arrived in New York to study new dance techniques and ended up studying far more: a different way of thinking, a different outlook on life, a different life stance. There was no censorship regarding one’s appearance, gender, nationality, social background, economic status, sexual orientation, or connections in the world: the single thing that determined the course of one’s career was talent, commitment, the way one worked. Also, at that time New York was a city that attracted artists and teachers from around the world, their one concern being to develop their art and share their knowledge and love for their field of choice. Art was the pulse throbbing through the entire city. I was taught self-esteem and came to believe that being an artist is not a hobby but a vocation; that one must work hard at all costs before they can express their vision and be appreciated and admired for doing what they do. I also learned that there are many different ‘voices’ expressing many different visions and that each is valuable in its own right. I disposed of criteria based on taste and learned instead to recognize the different philosophies, needs, identities, and languages of artistic expression. You are one of those people who ‘went after their dream’. Today we bear witness as the dreams of thousands of young people are being crushed and they are increasingly faced with one impasse after another. What would you say to these kids?

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It is true that when I decided to go after my dream the reality around me was a lot different to what young people have to deal with today. Although I was faced with substantial adversity, coming from a small town in the country and lacking the proper training (I was twenty when I began to train as a dancer), and although I had to work at odd jobs to support myself while trying to make my dream come true and survive as a choreographer, I was still given access to major opportunities. I firmly believe that young people today must follow their calling, that they must work hard and with integrity even if they are forced to take up different jobs to support them-

selves, even if they are given no other choice but to create the necessary conditions and structures themselves. There are many artists’ groups presenting their work in parks and parking lots, under pilotis, and across a range of alternative spaces because they simply cannot afford to rent a theater, and because, of course, there is no state funding to support them. Athens is bustling with creative activity and that is a brilliant sign of hope. Today I see many among the young people who refuse to leave Greece seeking a way out in moving away from the urban centers and into the periphery. They establish dance centers (not schools) in the country, addressing both amateurs and artists involved with other art forms that may be willing to take up dance; join forces with other institutions in the towns where they are based and attempt to apply the motto ‘in unity there is strength’, or, in this case, ‘in unity there is creative survival’. The truth is I have done much thought on the issue of creative alternatives since the onset of the crisis, because to support oneself through art has become increasingly more difficult for all of us. I seem to come to the same conclusion every time, namely that I will keep creating art even from trash, from nothing, so long as there is someone out there who can relate to my message. So my advice to young people is to remain undaunted, to bring all their enthusiasm, innocence, and talent to their work and to get as much pleasure as possible from that spiritual rapport with their audience even if there is no immediate economic reward to be had. I am citing here a link to the Landfill Harmonic Orchestra, a children’s orchestra in Paraguay that makes its own instruments from trash. There is always a way: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJrSUHK9Luw&list=FL25nnbYfQiDdRDKLmx3N_Q&feature=mh_lolz

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INTERNATIONAL LISTINGS / CULTURE

PA R I S

The Grand Palais Georges Braque

This retrospective, dedicated to the major 20th century artist Georges Braque, will survey all the periods of his artistic creation, from Fauvism to his final works culminating in the magnificent art studios and birds series. The exhibition will focus on highlights in his career, such as Cubism, the Canéphores (Basket Carriers) of the 1920’s, and his final landscapes. Exhibition runs from 18 Sept. 2013 through to 6 Jan. 2014 www.grandpalais.fr

PA R I S

Orangerie des tuilleries Frida Kahlo – Diego Rivera

Legendary art couple Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo is the focus of this exhibition, whoms originality lies in juxtaposing their work as if to confirm at once their clashing personalities and complementary lives, the shared starting point of their art in their strong ties to the Mexican homeland, their individual investigations into shared themes such as the cycles of life and death, religion and revolution, realism and mysticism, the life of workers and peasants. Exhibition runs from 9 Oct. 2013 through to 13 Jan. 2014 www.musee-orangerie.fr

PA R I S

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Serge Poliakoff

Μajor retrospective dedicated to the work of Russian painter Serge Poliakoff (1900-1969), bringing together some 70 paintings and many works on paper created over a thirty-year period (1936-1969). Like all artists practicing pure abstraction Poliakoff probes the relationship between line and surface, content and form, color and light. Apart from his gouaches that are given pride of place, the exhibition also includes textile patterns, stained glass and pottery. Exhibition runs from 18 Oct 2013 through to 23 Feb. 2014 www.mam.paris.fr 26

V enice

PEGGY GUGGENHEIM - THE AVANTGARDES OF FIN-DE-SIÈCLE PARIS

The exhibition includes almost 100 paintings, drawings, and prints, which exemplify the various trends of late nineteenth-century avant-garde with a special focus on the NeoImpressionists, Nabis, and Symbolists. The work of artists Paul Signac, Maximilien Luce, Maurice Denis, Pierre Bonnard, Félix Vallotton, and Odilon Redon is examined in depth. Exhibition runs from 28 Sept 2013 through to 6 Jan. 2014 www.guggenheim-venice.it


VIENNA

ALBERTINA MUSEUM MATISSE & FAUVISM

The exhibition features some 140 works by Henri Matisse and other Fauves who are largely considered the precursors of Modernism. Works by these artists have never been shown in Austria before. Apart from Matisse himself, members of the movement include artists André Derain, Maurice de Vlaminck, Georges Braque, and Kees van Dongen. Exhibition runs from 20 Sept. 2013 through to 12 Jan. 2014 www.albertina.at

VIENNA

The Kunsthistorisches Museum  Lucian Freud

Works for the exhibition were selected in collaboration with the artist himself, in the months before his death in July 2011, and his longtime assistant David Dawson. The exhibition is in fact a retrospective of Freud’s entire career, which spans almost 70 years, and includes some of his most important and celebrated works. At the same time the Sigmund Freud Museum in Vienna will be presenting an exhibition of photography by David Dawson, titled Lucien Freud: In private. Exhibition runs from 20 Sept. 2013  through to 12 Jan. 2014 www.khm.at

LONDON

TATE MODERN Paul Klee: Making visible

Paintings, drawings, and watercolors by the famous artist from collections around the world are on display with a focus on the three most productive periods in his career. Exhibition runs from 16 Oct. 2013 through to 9 March 2014 www.tate.org.uk

MADRID

Thyssen – Bornemisza Museum Surrealism and the Dream

The exhibition features paintings, drawings, collages, sculptures, and photographs by artists such as André Breton, Salvador Dalí, Paul Delvaux, Yves Tanguy, René Magritte, André Masson, Max Ernst, Jean Arp, Claude Cahun, and Paul Nougé. To the Surrealist mind the dream and automatic writing were both fundamental to liberating the human soul. Exhibition runs from 8 Oct. 2013 through to 12 Jan. 2014 www.museothyssen.org

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INTERNATIONAL LISTINGS / CULTURE

ΤΟΚΥΟ

A msterdam

THE HERMITAGE AMSTERDAM Gauguin, Bonnard, Denis

The exhibition focuses on three major French artists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: Gaugin, Bonnard, and Denis. Paul Gaugin (1848-1903) seems to have been a guiding light for the introspective Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) and for theoretician Maurice Denis (1870-1943). Exhibition runs from 14 Sept. 2013 through to 28 Feb. 2014 www.hermitage.nl

FLORENCE

PALAZZO STROZZI The Russian Avant-garde

It’s the first international exhibition to examine the fundamental importance of the Oriental and Eurasian connection to Russian Modernism. Neolithic stone figures, Siberian shaman rituals, popular Chinese prints, Japanese engravings, Theosophical doctrine and Indian philosophy are some of the elements which inspired Russia’s new artists and writers. Exhibition runs from 27 Sept. through to 19 Jan. 2013 www.palazzostrozzi.org

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THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MODERN ART Josef Koudelka Retrospective

Josef Koudelka (born 1938, in the former Czechoslovakia) is one of the world’s most important contemporary photographers. This is the first retrospective of his work to be organized in Asia. The very first Koudelka retrospective was held in 2002 at the National Gallery in Prague, the artist’s home city.

Exhibition runs from 6 Nov. 2013 through to 13 Jan. 2014 www.momat.go.jp

N ew Y ork

GUGGENHEIM museum Robert Motherwell early collages

The exhibition is exclusively concerned with papier collés and related works on paper from the 40s and early 50s, featuring as many as 60 works and examining the origins of Motherwell’s engagement with the practice of collage. Exhibition runs from 27 Sept. 2013 through to 5 Jan. 2014 www.guggenheim.org


NEW YORK

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART American Modern: Hopper to O’Keeffe

The exhibition draws on MoMA’s collection of modern American art to survey American Modernism between the years 1915 and 1950. Showcased artists include George Bellows, Stuart Davis, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz, and Andrew Wyeth among others. Exhibition runs from 17 Aug. 2013 through to 26 Jan. 2014 www.moma.org

NEW YORK

THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART Magritte: the Mystery of Ordinary, 1926-1938

The exhibition is the first to deal exclusively with the artist’s radical Surrealist period. Bringing together as many as eighty works, including paintings, collages, and objects, a selection of photographs and periodicals, as well as some of the artist’s early commercial works, the show sheds new light on Magritte’s identity as a modern painter and Surrealist artist. Exhibition runs from 28 Sept. 2013 through to 12 Jan. 2014 www.moma.org

NEW YORK

NEUE GALLERIE Kandinsky: from Blaue Reiter to Bauhaus

Wasily Kandinsky’s art (1866-1944) had a pivotal transformative effect on modern art history. Kandinsky rejected the easel and the painting tradition it represented and moved on to develop a revolutionary method of abstract painting. The exhibition connects art, music, and theater, exploring the artist’s work from his Blaue Reiter period to the large-scale environments of his Bauhaus years.

NEW YORK

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART Balthus - Cats and Girls

The exhibition brings together some of the artist’s most striking works. It focuses on paintings dated from the mid-30s through to the 1950s. From 1936 to 1939 Balthus painted his famous portraits of Thérèse Blanchard, a young neighbor of his in Paris, who posed alone, or with her cat, or her two brothers. Exhibition runs from 25 Sept. 2013 through to 12 Jan. 2014 www.metmuseum.org

Exhibition runs from 3 Oct. 2013 through to 10 Feb. 2014 www.neuegalerie.org

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B E Goulandris Foundation Ίδρυμα Β Ε Γουλανδρή 30


g- the 4th volume of B. & E. Goulandris Foundation