THE 80s GENERATION Contemporary Greek Painting from the Sotiris Felios Collection
The National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum in cooperation with ‘The other Arcadia’ Foundation organise:
An exhibition at the National Gallery Annex in Sparta (Coumantaros Art Gallery)
The artists who cohabitate in the Sotiris Felios Collection chose to express their own personal experiences as well as the passions of their time in a traditional manner: by using brushstrokes and colours for depicting figurative subjects, and mostly human figures.It is valid to claim that the Felios Collection hosts a team of masters, headed by Yannis Moralis, and students who share the same commitment to easel painting. As to student-painters, those who were either still studying or about to complete their studies in the 80s, stand out. Master-painters Moralis, Nikolaou, Mavroidis, Tetsis, Mytaras, Kokkinidis, Dekoulakos, Kessanlis prevail in the Athens School of Fine Arts and a while later their own students, Patraskidis, Botsoglou, Psychopedis, Valavanidis etc., join the team. And it was thus that the 80s Generation of painters had the chance to learn the principles of their art from good masters and teachers. Those painters who went on to continue their studies at the School of Fine Arts in Paris –and they were more than a handful- chose to do so in Leonardo Cremonini’s atelier. The illustrious Italian painter, who was moreover an exceptional teacher, added a spiritual dimension to the visual arts education of his Greek students while at the same time training them in the way they looked at what he used to call ‘the vertigo of the visible’: he taught them how to seek revelation through the trivial.
Let us nonetheless not overlook the auspicious global context as already at the start of the 70s, both in Greece and abroad, in Europe and America, there is a marked turn towards figurative painting, while drawing, as an independent form of art, went through an unheard-of renaissance. Since the start of the 80s, post-modernism encourages all sorts of digression from trendy dictates, while nostalgic research for models into the past belong to the genetic code of the movement itself.
The 80s Generation of painters was fortunate enough to be enthusiastically received by new collectors. Sotiris Felios is an exceptional case apart: he chooses his works of art based on personal preferences and not on making an investment. He ‘falls for’ the works he buys and relishes in living with them. When his collection acquired museum-like dimensions, Sotiris Felios decided to share with the public the joy the collection gave him. Thus were put together the exhibitions at the Benaki Museum in Athens and at the Vittoriano in Rome, which was warmly embraced by the Italian press and public, to name just the most important shows.
Two exhibitions, one in the National Gallery Annex of Nafplion (Somatographies, 12.07-14.10.2013) and another in Sparta are organized within the aforementioned policy framework.
The exhibition in the Coumantaros Art Gallery of Sparta brings together 17 painters in five thematic sections:
- Sacred Light: Bokoros
Time and memory, as experienced by everyday man, the Greek, bearer of a long tradition, are the essence and the ‘agent’ behind Bokoros’ creation. Time sanctifies all things, endowing them with a worldly eternity. The artist picks out old, ‘tired’ pieces of wood worn-away from being used, on which he paints his few archetypal themes with illusionary verisimilitude: the proverbial daily bread, the sacramental bread, a sanctuary lamp, an olive branch... The eternal flame of the votive light, the candle, acts as an expiatory symbol for memory. He practices his subtle, almost impeccable technique with the piety of old painters turning it into the tautological sign of duration, transcending time and overcoming attrition.
- The House of the Body: Daskalakis, Rorris, Makris
The body, as existential testimony, is the house of the soul, of memory, pain, solitude, the consciousness of decay and death, which is the latent message that the paintings of Daskalakis and Rorris, despite their different styles and modes, emit. This type of ‘pictorial scripture’ assimilated the teachings of tradition but also the lesson of gestural freedom modern art taught. A singular osmosis between the bodies and space seem to capture the bodies in a spider’s web. The gestural texture impasto technique of Makris conveyed the painter’s passionate nature and made him one of the few Greek expressionists of the younger generation of painters.
- “The Human Comedy”: Assargiotaki, Manoussakis, Mantzavinos, Missouras, Bitsikas, Papacostas, Sacaillan
This thematic section features painters who transform the human image, turn and disguise it to sometimes express intense existential experiences or at times proceed with an astute social commentary. Styles and techniques vary and cover a wide range spanning from expressive distortion to pop culture iconography. Bitsikas, an incomparable draughtsman and a faithful proponent of black and white imagery, comments on the irrationality of the human condition with the insightfulness of an anatomic pathologist.
- Mediterranean Light - the Scent of the 30s Generation: Argyris, Papanikolaou, Papatriantafyllopoulos.
The Greek countryside and the character of light, as interpreted by the 30s generation, and especially Yannis Tsarouchis, apparently inspire this group of painters. Faces, actions, social events, all unfold in a festive ambiance, full of light. Bright colours, the ‘calcareous’ character of even the oil painting, making it look like a fresco, are the typical feature of such purely ‘Greek’ painting.
- Return to Nature– Natura naturans: Vlachaki, Tsakali, Filopoulou.
The ‘romantic’ return to the expiatory embrace of nature blending in with the contagious freshness of the sea is what Filopoulou suggests through her work, while Vlachaki, in her latest works, gives up on the sombre tones of inner landscapes and instead gives in to the purgatorial beauty of true nature. Tsakali observes plants, flowers and foliage with clarity, while trying to capture and depict the life-giving power of nature, its élan vital, the life-bearing juices that lay behind the visible image.
Director of the National Gallery - Alexandros Soutsos Museum
Georgia Kakourou Chroni
Curator of the National Gallery Annex in Sparta (Coumantaros Art Gallery)
Opening: Friday July 19, 2013 at 20:30
Duration: July 19 - October 14, 2013
Address: Konstantinou Palaiologou 123 & Thermopylon, 23100 Sparta
Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 8:30-15:30
Wednesday: 10:00-15:00 & 18:00-21:00
For more information please contact:
Georgia Kakourou Chroni
Curator of the National Gallery Annex in Sparta
Τ: +30 27310 81 557 & +30 27310 81 822