MARCH - APRIL 2014 The bimonthly electronic journal of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation
Georgia Alevizaki, Paraskevi Gerolymatou, Andreas Georgiadis, Katia Kallitsounaki, Maria Koutsomallis, Alexandra Papakostopoulou, Maria Skamaga, Irene Stratis Designed and edited by
Τ +30 210 - 7252896 www.moca-andros.gr | www.goulandris.gr
IN PLACE OF A PROLOGUE
By Kyriakos Koutsomallis, Director of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation
Looking at French Art of the 20th Century, Golden Hall
John Christoforou (1921-2014)
The american painter BETTY RYAN and Andros Island
FORMER BEGF SCHOLARS
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
I N P L A C E O F A P R O LO G U E
This sixth issue of our online bulletin is dedicated to renowned painter John Christoforou who passed away recently in Paris where he had lived since the mid-50s. Regarding our exhibition program, we would like to inform our readers that the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundationâ€“Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros, will be presenting an exhibition in honor of American painter Betty Ryan from 6 April to 26 May 2014. Ryan spent the last 25 years of her life on the island and humbly came to identify herself with it. The exhibit is an homage to the celebrated painter organized by a group of friends who assembled the works and created the book that documents the event. Furthermore, the Foundation joins hands with the French School at Athens to participate in a two-week culture fest organized by Golden Hall, Athens, to celebrate FrancoHellenic relations. The exhibition it will be presenting is titled Looking at French Art of the Twentieth Century. The present issue also features an interview with George Taxiarchopoulos, restless artist and resourceful wit, who continues to experiment with new ideas, originally conceived when he was in Japan on a Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation Scholarship. Taxiarchopoulos brings these ideas to his work both as an artist and art instructor. His views as expressed here give us a glimpse into his way of thinking. As always, you can join us on all the social media networks so that you can share with us your impressions or comments. Kyriakos Koutsomallis Director
THE BASIL AND ELISE GOULANDRIS FOUNDATION
LOOKING AT FRENCH ART OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
Golden Hall, Athens, invited the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation to participate in a cultural event organized in honor of Franco-Hellenic relations. In response to the invitation, the Foundation has organized an exhibition exploring modern French Art. Titled Looking at French Art of the Twentieth Century, the exhibition is a small token of friendship offered to France, a country with which Greece has strong cultural ties, among others. Looking at French Art of the Twentieth Century features sculpture by Germaine Richier, César, Jean (Hans) Arp and François-Xavier Lalanne, prints by Georges Braque and Henri Matisse and oil paintings by François Rouan, Maurice de Vlaminck, André Derain and Jean Fautrier. In the same space the Foundation presents a history of its exhibitions and publications that have probed over the years the work of artists who were either born in France, or who chose to live and work there. The presentation surveys events and publications concerned with Henri Matisse, Balthus, Marc Chagall, Auguste RodinCamille Claudel, The History of Photography, Pablo Picasso, Toulouse Lautrec, Georges Braque, André Masson, and last but not least Surrealism. To complement the event, the French School at Athens presents an exhibition that documents its own activities in Greece.
John Christoforou (1921-2014)
John Christoforou passed away recently. He was a wonderful man and a dear friend of mine. A highly individual, fastidious painter wielding a vigorous and exuberant paintbrush, Christoforou willed his painting to be a harrowing cry of distress and protest against the collective suffering inflicted by the age and the personal hardships he endured. Following in the footsteps of such pioneers of despair as Ensor, Munch, Roualt, Bacon, Freud, Velickovic, resorting to a dark palette of thickly applied color, his grieving blacks eating away at the blue of the sky, wearing out the pink of hope, Christoforou would become an eloquent mouthpiece of hard-boiled expressionism fracturing the image of human existence. He was of Greek origin but had not lived in Greece, and yet he experienced his Greekness as a need of the mind and soul, a pressing, inescapable need. He was a small and frail man but all the same a brave man of strong will, which he consistently applied to exploring the limits of his potential. Christoforou was solitary, introverted, thoughtful, uncompromising, rebellious â€“his was a world of transcendental quiet, of often unbearable loneliness, although he was fortunate enough to share his life with his wife, a loyal, graceful, and dedicated companion. England, where he was born, honored him with the 1965 International Association of Art Critics prize. In Paris, where he settled in the mid 50s and lived until his death, he was one of the pioneers and founders of the movement known as New Figuration (Nouvelle Figuration). It is an often repeated truth that men die when they are forgotten. Christoforou will live on in our memory, cherished deep within out thoughts. Kyriakos Koutsomallis
Works of his are held in major public and private collections: Museum des 20 Jahrhundrets, Vienna Biblioteca National de Colombia, Bogota Randers Museum of ArtMuseum Jorn, Silkeborg Bibliothèque Municipale, Brest Musée d’Art Contemporain de Dunkerque, Centre d’Art Contemporainde Monpellier Cabinet des Estampes de la Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Paris Centre Culturel de Toulouse Musée des Beaux Arts, Toulouse Tate Gallery, London Contemporary Art Society, London Museum of Contemporary Art – Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation, Andros Frissiras Museum, Athens National Art Gallery, Athens Seoul Museum of Art Musée Olympique, Lausanne Asia Museum of Modern Art, Taichung Vorres Museum, Athens Musée Galliera, Paris Emfietzoglou Foundation, Athens Centre des Arts Plastiques Albert Chanot, Paris
Up: Les Amoureux, 1991 Oil on canvas, 199 x 199 cm Down: Personnage en état de crise , 1990 Oil on canvas, 200 x 165 cm
Internationally acclaimed painter John Christoforou was born on 10 March 1921 in London to parents hailing from Smyrna. By the age of nine Christoforou had lost his mother and resettled to Athens with his father. Two years later his father too would die, leaving John in the care of relatives. A neighbor noticed his gift for painting and offered financial support so that fourteen-year-old Christoforou could attend art classes at the Athens School of Fine Arts. He returned to England in 1938 and joined the Royal Air Force in 1941, taking part over the next five years in several rescue missions in the Far East. The experience would play a decisive part in shaping his identity as an artist. In 1949 Christoforou presented his first solo show at London’s Twenty Brook Street Gallery. It was followed by solo shows at Gallery One and the Gimpel Fils Gallery and group shows at the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Whitechapel Art Gallery. In 1956 Christoforou relocated his studio to Shepherd’s Bush, in West London, and married Ruth Fox, who would thenceforth work at his side as his assistant. After the marriage, the couple decided to move to Paris. His first Paris show opened in 1960 at the Rive Gauche Gallery, to be followed by many solo exhibitions. In 1965 Christoforou was awarded the International Association of Art Critics Prize in London. His reputation grew over the next years, attracting the attention of major galleries and collectors from across Europe. In 1970 he presented his first solo exhibition in the Netherlands, while his first retrospective took place four years later, in 1974, at the Randers Kunstmuseum, Denmark. Over the next 35 years the artist consolidated his ties with Northern Europe. It would take Greece even longer to discover him. His first and only solo exhibition to be held in Athens took place as late as 2002, at the Factory, the exhibition space of the Athens School of Fine Arts. Christoforou was 81 at the time. In 1994, the artist moved his studio to a suburb of Paris, where he lived until his death. His last show was presented in 2012 at the Château de Vascoeuil, in Normandy. John Christoforou died in February 2014 at the age of 93, ‘an old man and full of years’, having presented more than 50 solo exhibitions and having received praise for his work by art critics and the art loving public alike.
Homme rouge aux lunettes, 1985 Oil on canvas 146 x 114 cm
ÂŤ The tragic character of our times constitutes a reality that we cannot ignore. No matter what we do, we are always face to face with human drama.Âť
Homme aux lunettes et au gilet rouge, 1990 Acrylic on canvas 146 x 114 cm
ÂŤI am passionate about the human being: its acts, its dark motives, its psychological impulses, its frenzied endeavours to make dreams come true, its desires and passions. This is our Fate.Âť John Christoforou
Portrait de femme au chapeau noir, 1948 Oil on isorel 100 x 84 cm
ÂŤMan in his rarest of moments - the noblest or the most base - is the theme I try to portray.Âť
François 1e, 1983 Acrylic on canvas 162 x 130 cm
«I view life as a chance and fleeting experience. The only thing that seemsimportant to me is to identify those temporary feelings.» John Christoforou
Letter from an angel 1962 Oil on canvas 161,5 x 130 cm
ÂŤDeep inside, art was for me an expression that refers to man with all his shortcomings - and they are so many!Âť John Christoforou
François 1er IV 1990 Acrylic on canvas 162 x 130 cm
«Art can offer still a small ray of hope, and encourage the attempt to discoverand explore a few truths about life.» John Christoforou
The american painter
and Andros Island
The Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation presents an exhibition in honor of American painter Betty Ryan, scheduled to take place at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros, from 6 April to 26 May, 2014. Ryan, who spent the last twenty five years of her life in Andros, humbly came to identify herself with the island. The exhibit is an homage to the celebrated painter organized by a group of her friends, who assembled her works and created the book that documents the event. Exhibition runs from 6 April until 26 May 2014.
FORMER BEGF SCHOLARS
Yorgos Taxiarchopoulos Sholar B.E.G.F, 2007-2008, for Master of "Digital Art".
Greek society is currently suffering a trauma. Can visual art today reflect this experience and if so in what way? ‘In the Tao Te Ching Lao Tzu says : When thunder strikes in the mud, the wise man goes in peace.’ Your question evokes the creative potential of a space poised between the experience of ‘collective trauma’ and that part of the artistic self that is ‘untouchable’, beyond reach; a potential which makes this median space a backdrop for the transubstantiation of social experience through Art. I call this space the existential space of the artwork. Nowhere else can the work of art come into being. In their own right, the space of trauma and that of the personal unconscious can only serve as sources of inspiration. I therefore feel it is imperative for us to acknowledge and preserve such intermediate spaces, especially in this day and age, if we are to create a sustainable Civilization. Artists always capture an image of their time in their work – it is the space that holds their lives and shapes the artistic self. The distance that separates trauma and its representations, as your question aptly suggests, presupposes the model of an engaged citizen-artist who produces creative work based on a conscious practice of documenting, representing, and commenting on the reality that surrounds him. This model artist is a product of Education, and the preservation of art is the task of institutions. Both these components of art’s main support system suffer irreparable damage under the current crisis in Greece. As a result, artists are also harmed, which means that their work and the experience of trauma share the same space, even though the experience itself may not be clearly visualized in the work.
A while ago the grim prospect of removing art classes from the curriculum in secondary school as a result of budget cuts became all too real. How would you respond to those who claim that art and art education today are a luxury? I would stage a performance in a public space where I would recite paragraphs 1, 2, and 4, of article 16 in the Greek Constitution as if it were a poem set to music. Next to me an infirm racehorse would be shot dead for no longer being able to perform. To my mind this is a reactionary political choice. You know, there have been as many educational systems as the political ideologies now at play, while the way the two relate in the social context goes beyond the dialectical to reveal a struggle of interests. Therefore, a policy that uses the crisis as an excuse to claim that art and art education are a luxury is actually an artful disguise for a policy that considers Education as a whole a luxury. The same holds even if art class is not ultimately removed from the curriculum but is taken from the hands of artists, or art instructors, and assigned instead to regular
teachers. In the end, these kinds of decisions are opposed to the Constitution, which clearly defines Education as â€˜a basic mission for the State [which] shall aim at the moral, intellectual, professional, and physical trainingâ€™ of citizens. Sir Ken Robinson, the world famous education theorist, advises us to not think of the school system in mechanical terms, but instead to treat it as an organic system so that its creative potential may be preserved. We tend to forget that all the means though which life is made manageable, all the rights that now belong to us and that we take for granted in our everyday lives have been handed down to us, that they represent the achievements of past generations which we must daily reclaim for ourselves, so that we may in turn pass them on to the next generation. It is a pity that we now run the risk of leaving our children alone in a wasteland; in a future where they will be trying to live off our trash, to build on nothing but dust.
You have been concerned with the application of new technologies in art teaching. Where does Greece stand in that respect? I will soon be finishing and defending my doctoral thesis at the Athens School of Fine Arts, on the subject of Art Education in public school, which is relevant to your question. My thesis is being supervised by Titika Sallas, an artist and professor of Art Education at ASFA, while the three-member jury also comprises Andreas Ioannidis, vice-chancellor and associate professor of Modern Greek Art History, ASFA, and Gerasimos Kouzelis, full professor of Epistemology and the Sociology of Learning at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and director of the postgraduate program in Political Science and Sociology, NKUA. Greek public school ranks high compared to school in other countries in terms of technological saturation, and it continues to receive new equipment at a good pace despite the financial crisis. However, I fear it is not in good hands. Every school, or almost every
school, has internet access, and many sport interactive whiteboards. Also, teachers in public schools are provided with laptop computers and access to audio equipment installed in the classroom. Needless to say, the classrooms we are talking about have been designed for the most part prior to 1980 and are unfortunately somewhat inflexible when it comes to functional or aesthetic interventions. However, neither digital equipment nor the possibility of having access to the internet or to new technology applications seem to have had any substantial effects on the program of studies across public schools, whether in elementary or secondary school. What we need to do is redesign the program, revising the credit value of academic subjects on the school’s schedule. This is necessary in order to come up with a program that is flexible, cross-thematic and interdisciplinary, in tune with contemporary developments and needs, adjusting teaching methodology as far as the Visual Culture curriculum is concerned with a view to making it more engaging for students and instructors alike. If you will, this might also help save on the resources channeled into education. You know, securing the country’s future as a European partner is not only a financial matter. And this is certainly a lesson to be learned from the financial crisis.
You are both a professional artist with an active career and an art instructor. Are there times when you feel these two aspects of your work may perhaps be antagonistic? I think they may appear so to others, but personally I don’t find this duality obstructive; on the contrary, I feel that there is a creative synergy between my parallel activities, which takes on many forms. They represent choices that permit me to survive and offer the full picture of how Art operates within society. Besides, I am not only a professional artist and instructor, but have also served, since 2007, as Art Logistics Manager for ArtAthina, the International Contemporary Art Fair of Athens that is organized by the Hellenic Art Galleries Association. Through the years I have taught myself to put whatever antagonisms may arise from my diverse activities to creative use and to take pleasure as much in the dynamic fusion of these activities as in the fruit it bears. I have been an art teacher for just as long as I have been a professional artist. The reason for going into education was that early on in ‘staging’ my work I realized that there was a didactic streak to it. So I began to explore the pedagogical potential and uses of artworks and was soon creating my own visual art education activities, not to mention designing and running extracurricular visual art workshops where these activities are
put to the test. In my doctoral thesis I propose a visual art education system that combines extracurricular activities and the school curriculum and can be implemented in public schools to boost creativity in both students and teachers and reinstate art as an educational tool that has long been ignored by the State. I could have stayed abroad to focus on economics, my first major at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney, but consciously chose not to. Not until now that is, to be more precise...
In one of your essays (‘E ekpedefsi stin techni me nea messa’, Synchrones prosengiseis sti ddaktike tis technis [‘Using New Means to Teach Art’, Contemporary Approaches in Art Education], Nissos, 2011) you discuss the urgent need to experiment with new ideas. Would you say these new ideas are already here in your domain? The paper in question made reference to Dr. Michael Dertouzos, the renowned academic from Andros who was director of the Laboratory for Computer Science at MIT, a man I admire for his ideas and personal history. And yet, for all the years that have passed since that paper, things have not changed much. The need to experiment with new ideas and new technologies is still here and is perhaps even more urgent than before. Experimenting is something we need to do more systematically. Especially here in Greece, since there are many Greeks who occupy important positions in various scientific and research institutions around the world. Through such experimentation we may be able to join forces with major local and international research centers to develop a digital research industry that is linked to all of the economy’s production sectors. The digital age is especially demanding. There is constantly talk of international competitiveness, and yet what have we done other than an internal devaluation? Dr. Dertouzos loved Greece deeply and his ideas were always about providing a support structure for creativity to thrive, to develop in ingenious ways whose everyday manifestations would form a web of interconnected experiences. To conclude, let me say that we Greeks still seem reluctant to come to terms with our positive side and build on it, to take advantage of the groundwork our fellow Greeks have already laid abroad so that we may have a leading role to play in the age of Visual Culture.
Tell us about a challenge recently or currently faced in your work as an artist (a work in progress, perhaps). While in Japan on a BEGF Scholarship, in 2007-2008, I came up with the idea of creating an alternate identity, under the name of ARtgroupENA. I was influenced by Japanese folktales about Hokusai and the pop culture of superheroes, that is the contemporary mythology of Visual Culture. The capitalized part of the new name, ARENA, refers to the arena of contemporary art where artists today must fight for their survival. Their success depends on their ability to develop diverse skills, be involved with life around them, and create work that echoes the concerns of contemporary societies. At the time, the suffix ‘-ENA’ was conceived as an acronym that stood for ‘energetic nuclear art’, which was a way of evoking the art that reflected the principles set forth in the Manifesto of Eaismo (atomic era-ism) by Italian painter Voltonino Fontani, a representative of twentieth century avant-garde. In the context of my ongoing investigations regarding a new body of work by ARtgroupENA I have lately been studying the activities of two centers for scientific research, namely CERN and MIT, which I look into in relation to art. At the same time my concern over the state’s contempt for archaeological sites such as Elefsina–which is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites–is reflected in one of the projects I have undertaken in the context of ARtgroupENA, which is setting up a private non-profit institution whose aim will be to help with the preservation, management, and promotion of archaeological sites across the country.
INTERNATIONAL LISTINGS / CULTURE
PA R I S
Centre Pompidou Henri Cartier-Bresson
Ten years after the death of the celebrated photographer, the Centre Pompidou organizes a retrospective featuring well known photographs and lesser known items from his work. The show brings together more than 500 photographs, drawings, paintings, films, and documents.
PA R I S
grand palais bill viola
This is the first major presentation of the work of famous video artist Bill Viola at the Grand Palais. The exhibition focuses on works created from 1977 to the present, which are concerned with life, death, and transformation. Exhibition runs from 5 March to 21 July 2014 www.grandpalais.fr
Exhibition runs from 12 Febr through to 9 June, 2014. www.centrepompidou.fr
PA R I S
PA R I S
Musée de l’Orangerie Les archives du rêve
The exhibition has been curated by German art historian Werner Spies, a friend of Max Ernst and Pablo Picasso. Spies has selected as many as 200 drawings hoping to offer a glimpse into the Musée d'Orsay's vast drawings collection. Exhibition runs from 26 March through to 30 June, 2014. www.musee-orangerie.fr
Musée D' Orsay Vincent van Gogh / Antonin Artaud - The Man Suicided by Society
Almost 30 paintings and a selection of drawings and letters by Van Gogh are brought together in this exhibit that is based on the essay Antonin Artaud wrote on the eve of the Van Gogh exhibit in Paris, in 1947.
Exhibition runs from 11 March through to 6 July, 2014. www.musee-orsay.fr
ALBERTINA MUSEUM Eric Fischl
Eric Fischl (b. 1948, New York) is a major exponent of contemporary figurative art. A painter, sculptor, and graphic artist whose distinct personal style links him to American Realism, Fischl paints scenes that seem to be recreating the action on a movie still. The show focuses on the artist's graphic work, in combination with an eloquent selection of sculptures and watercolors. Exhibition runs from 13 February through to 18 May, 2014. www.albertina.at
The National Gallery VERONESE
This is the first monographic show on the Renaissance artist to be held in the UK bringing together almost 50 works, 10 of which are drawn from the collection of the National Gallery itself.
national gallery Strange Beauty: Masters of the German Renaissance
Hans Holbein ο νεώτερος, Albrecht Dürer & Lucas Cranach. The exhibition proposes a new approach to examples of German Renaissance art held in the National Gallery's permanent collection, which probes the perspectives in which the movement was perceived by its contemporaries and later generations, as well as that of the present.
Exhibition runs from 19 February until 11 May 2014 www.nationalgallery.org.uk
The Courtauld Gallery A Dialogue with Nature
The exhibition includes work by JMW Turner, Samuel Palmer, Carl Philipp Fohr and Caspar David Friedrich. Exhibition runs from 10 Jan through to 27 May, 2014. www.courtauld.ac.uk
Exhibition runs from 19 March through to 15 June, 2014. www.nationalgallery.org.uk
INTERNATIONAL LISTINGS CULTURE
Galleria borghese Giacometti. La scultura
Forty works by the Swiss sculptor (1901-1966), including the famous Walking Man are on show alongside a selection of works from the Gallery's permanent collection. Giacometti's emaciated figures voice the artist's concern with identifying the most basic particle of human vitality at the same time that they express the anguish of mankind in a period marked by two world wars. His work sharply contrasts the Italian sculptures included in the exhibit – an apotheosis of abundant, vibrant flesh in all its transient glory.
Scuderie del Quirinale Frida Kahlo
An exhibition on the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) who was a symbol of avant-garde art at the heart of twentieth century Mexican culture. The show boasts major works drawn from public and private collections in Mexico, the USA, and Europe. Curator Helga Prignitz-Poda, a foremost Kahlo expert is also the editor of the accompanying catalogue. Exhibition runs from 20 March through to 31 August, 2014. www.scuderiequirinale.it
Exhibition runs from 5 February until 25 May 2014 www.galleriaborghese.it
Thyssen – Bornemisza Museum Cézanne Site/Non-Site
The show focuses on two of the subject matters that figure more prominently in the painter's work: landscapes and still-lifes. Cézanne painted landscapes that reveal no clues about the time of year or hour of the day in which they are captured. By contrast, objects in his still-lifes intimate the passing of the hours or the change of the seasons. Exhibition runs from 4 February through to 18 May, 2014. www.museothyssen.org
TOLEDO Museum of Santa Cruz & El Greco Venues
The Greek of Toledo
This is a major monographic show concerned with El Greco's relationship to the town of Toledo, an aspect of his life and work unexplored as yet by a visual art show. The exhibition is being organized in the context of events marking the fourth centenary of the artist's death, and it brings together more than 100 of his works, 60 of which are loans returning to Toledo from 29 cities around the world. The exhibition's title, The Greek of Toledo, is actually what El Greco was known as in his time. Exhibition runs from 14 February through to 14 June, 2014. www.elgreco2014.com
THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART Gauguin: Metamorphoses
fondation beyeler Odilon Redon
A leading exponent of French Symbolism, Odilon Redon (1840-1916) would also play a key part in the movement of modernism as this took its nascent steps at the turn of the twentieth century. Exhibition runs from 2 February through to 18 May 2014 www.fondationbeyeler.ch
Chi K11 Art Space Master of Impressionism â€“ Claude Monet
The exhibition has been organized to mark the 50th anniversary of Franco-Sino diplomatic relations and it brings together forty works by Monet alongside works by other impressionist masters. Exhibition runs from 8 March until 16 May 2014 www.shanghaik11.com
The exhibition focuses on Gauguin's rare prints and his transfer drawings for his most celebrated paintings, wood sculptures and ceramics. On display are approximately 150 works, including almost 120 works on paper and a selection of some 30 paintings and sculptures related to the drawings, covering a period that stretches from 1889 until his death in 1903. The drawings provide a record of Gauguin's experiments with the various media he would employ throughout his career. Exhibition runs from 8 March through to 8 June, 2014. www.moma.org
Mori Art Museum: ANDY WARHOL
After an extensive tour across Asia, the Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal exhibit has reached its final destination: Tokyo. This is a major retrospective of the work of Pop-Art's standard bearer whose creativity spanned widely spaced genres, consistently conflating the boundaries between high art and contemporary consumer culture. Exhibition runs from 1 February through to 6 May, 2014. www.warhol.org
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