A Sense of Place: Traces of Landscapes from the Sotiris Felios Collection

A Sense of Place: Traces of Landscapes from the Sotiris Felios Collection

The Courtauld Institute of Art, London and The Sotiris Felios Collection present the exhibition A Sense of Place: Traces of landscapes from the Sotiris Felios Collection curated by Maria Alessio. The exhibition opens on Wednesday 25th of October 2023 at 18.00-21.00 at the art space 16 Fokionos Negri, Athens.

A Sense of Place: Traces of landscapes from the Sotiris Felios Collection is the second exhibition presented in the context of the Residency Programme and is the culmination of curator Maria Alessio’s six-week residency in Athens, during which she immersed himself in its vibrant arts community and developed her research and curatorial practice through meeting artists and art professionals from leading museums and galleries of Athens.

The exhibition comprises paintings and sculptures by: Io Angeli, Alecos Fassianos, Maria Filopoulou, Christos Bokoros, Alecos Levidis, Afroditi Liti, Andreas Lolis, Tassos Mantzavinos, Natalia Mela, Louiza Missiou, Emmanouil Bitsakis Vally Nomidou, Kostas Papanikolaou, Elias Papanikolaou, Kostas Papatriantafyllopoulos, Anna Maria Tsakali, Edouard Sacaillan, Varvara Spirouli


In art history, the genre of landscape designates pictorial representations of an open space, usually natural, whose qualities make it the object of aesthetic enjoyment for humans. The different generations of Greek artists in the Collection were inspired by aesthetics of natural and urban settings of Greece and skillfully explore it in their works.

The extraordinary variety of styles and media that characterises the works in this exhibition demonstrates that the landscapes exhibited are not purely aesthetic depictions of a place: as artists observe, remember, and even invent the places they depict, each work produces its own, unique, sense of place. In fact, as British cultural geographer Denis Cosgrove explains: ‘Landscape is not merely the world we see, it is a construction, a composition of that world. Landscape is a way of seeing the world’ (Cosgrove, ‘Prospect, Perspective and the Evolution of the Landscape’, 1985).

The artworks in the exhibition are all variously permeated by the nostalgia of the emigrant, the curiosity of the visitor, the intimacy of the resident, the imagination of the dreamer. More than a staged view, each work engages with landscape as a memory theatre, that exists between past and present, presences and absences and through the emotive and the subconscious rather than the purely rational as the compositions come to life.

The exhibited artists’ deeply subjective engagement with the imagined and real places that they depict reminds us that landscapes can and do exist in many ways and are not purely something we look at but also something we experience, something we live in: people, animals, plants, and even mythological creatures inhabit and shape the landscapes depicted and are the subject of the sculptures that populate the exhibition space. Expanding on conventional notions of landscape, the artworks extend its dominion beyond the flatness of the canvas and into our own space, inviting emotional, bodily participation.


Maria Alessio (2000, Rome) graduated with a BA in Art History from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 2022 and has completed her Master in Curating the Art Museum at the same university. She developed an interest in transcultural studies, with a focus on the cultural exchanges happening in the Eastern Mediterranean from antiquity to the present day.


The Residency Programme for Academic and Curatorial Research of Greek Contemporary Art of The Courtauld Institute of Art, London and The Sotiris Felios Collection, Athens aims to create support channels for emerging curators and art historians, who want to expand academic research around contemporary figurative art and its position within the international art scene.

The Programme takes place twice a year and invites current PhD candidates, MA and third-year students and recent alumni of The Courtauld Institute of Art, with an academic background in art history and curating to participate in a six-week, fully-funded residency at the Sotiris Felios Collection. Residents of the Programme are given the opportunity to develop their art research by engaging in self-initiated projects that build on themes linked to The Collection and the artistic community of Athens.

Since September 2023, the Residency Programme is curated and coordinated by Dora Vasilakou, artistic director of The Sotiris Felios Collection.

The Residency Programme for Academic and Curatorial Research of Contemporary Greek Art is funded by “The other Arcadia” Foundation and is supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.

The “other Arcadia” Foundation would like to thank: Io Angeli, Ileana Arnaoutou, Emmanouil Bitsakis, Christos Bokoros, Lucy Bradnock, Anna Somers-Cocks, Heather Dorgan, Mark Hallett, Ismene King, Caroline Levitt, Kostas Papanikolaou, Elisabeth Plessa, Daphne Politi, Faidra Vasileiadou.