It was a beautiful, warm and sunny Thursday morning in Athens when I decided to visit some of the (many) galleries around Kolonaki Square, right in the heart of the city. Kolonaki is still (although kind of toned-down due to the fiscal crises) the shopping centre of the city for designer clothes and shoes as well as the residential area of the wealthy Athenians who still live in the centre of the city (in contrast to the rich and famous who prefer the classy Kifisia, the exclusive Ekali or the cooler-seafront of Glyfada and Voula). Understandably, the majority of the art galleries in Athens are located in the neighborhood thus making it the perfect place for gallery-hopping, combined with a relaxing coffee break in the always busy and interesting Square.
I started my gallery walk from the Gagosian Gallery on Merlin Str, the Athens branch of the international gallery-network of Larry Gagosian, which presents Giles; a group exhibition curated by Artemis Baltoyanni, inspired by John Barth's 1966 comic novel Giles Goat-Boy. The show features works by world-class names of contemporary art such as Cindy Sherman and Maurizio Cattelan. I particularly loved the Apostolos Georgiou painting (shown below, on the right).
Gasosian Gallery, Giles, Installation view. Photo by Silia Psych.
My next stop was the Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery, which presents a show inspired by an incident from the Tom Sawyer book, by Mark Twain: painter George Hadjimichalis and photographer Margarita Myrogianni got inspired from punishment aunt Polly enforced on Tom, that being the whitewashing of the fence, as a starting point to make a comment on exalting the insignificant into something important. I had the pleasure of receiving a guided tour of the exhibition by the gallery owner’s father, an art enthusiast and, may I say, an excellent guide.
CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery, on the prestigious Anagnostopoulou Str, hosts the The Life of Things: Four Reflections on Precarious Objects exhibition. Artists Petros Efstathiadis, Giorgos Gerontides, Ioannis Koliopoulos and Nana Sachini explore the transition of the object from inert mass to raw material, expressive tool and artifact. I found “Collected Objects” a work by Giorgios Gerontides to be particularly fascinating; the artist, whose installation of collected objects is the centerpiece of the exhibition, documents those objects on paper, using a very interesting technique of dust-painting. The gallery owner, Christina, had the courtesy of walking me through the exhibition and directing my attention to this artwork which otherwise I would have skipped.
Left: Kalfayan Galleries, Panos Tsagaris, September 12 2001, 2016, gold leaf on archival inkjet print, 150 x 90 cm. Right: CAN Gallery, Giorgos Gerontides, Untitled Collected Objects, 2016. Mixed media installation, dimensions variable.
Climbing up the Lycabettus hill, next to the charming square known as Dexameni, I entered the Athens Art Gallery where the “Ilias Karras: Dialectical Reconstruction of the Visible” exhibition just opened. The artist (b. 1973) shows large dark panels depicting faces or busts of children, in an engaging combination of painting and collage. As the artist states, these are "faces that do not directly address the spectator since their gazes usually aim towards the infinate, the empty space or a flowing grey universe".
Athens Art Gallery, lias Karras: Dialectical Reconstruction of the Visible exhibition.
The nearby Medusa Gallery, which is focused on discovering and promoting young Greek artists, hosts a show of Elli Koutsoukeli. The artist (b. 1984) presents six large works of charcoal on paper, delightfully black & white, which move between representation and abstraction, under the, appropriate, title Landscapes of the Mind. You can spend a lot of time looking at these captivating panels of charcoal strokes, constantly discovering new forms and images. An intriguing exhibition indeed!
Medusa Gallery, Elli Koutsoukeli, Landscapes of the Mind exhibition.
My walk brought me to Charitos str, where Kalfayan Gallery is, for Panos Tsagaris’ show titled TIME! The quite interesting exhibition by the young artist (b. 1979) is worth visiting for the September 12, 2001 alone; a rework of post 9/11 The New York Times front page with gold leafs substituting the text and the picture of the Twin Towers in flames emerging powerful. Possibly the most interesting artwork I’ve seen this month in Athens.
Gagosian Gallery - Giles / Until November 26, 2016
Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery - Tom Sawyer / Until November 19, 2016
CAN Christina Androulidaki Gallery - The Life of Things / Until December 3, 2016
Athens Art Gallery - Ilias Karras: Dialectical Reconstruction of the Visible / Until December 3, 2016
Medusa Gallery - Elli Koutsoukeli: Landscapes of the Mind / Until January 14, 2017
Kalfayan Gallery - Panos Tsagaris: Time / Until December 3, 2016
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