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 “The ’80s Generation: Contemporary Greek Painting from the Sotiris Felios Collection” exhibition, hosted at the Coumantaros Art Gallery, National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum, Sparta Annex.
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 would be valid to claim that the Sotiris 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 1980s, already stand out. Master-painters Moralis, Nicolaou, 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 et al. join the team. And it was thus that the 1980s 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 studio. 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 trained 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 1970s, 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 1980s, postmodernism 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 1980s generation of painters was fortunate enough to be enthusiastically received by new collectors. Sotiris Felios is an exceptional case: 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 the exhibitions at the Benaki Museum in Athens and at the Vittoriano in Rome were put together, the latter having been warmly embraced by the Italian press and public, to name only the most important shows.
Two exhibitions, one in the National Gallery Nafplion Annex (“Somatographies”, 12/07-14/10/2013) and another in Sparta are organized within the aforementioned policy framework.
The exhibition in the Coumantaros Art Gallery in Sparta brings together 17 painters in five thematic sections:
- Sacred Light: Christos Bokoros
- The House of the Body: Stefanos Daskalakis, Thanassis Makris, Giorgos Rorris
- The Human Comedy: Kalliopi Asargiotaki, Michalis Manoussakis, Tassos Mantzavinos, Tassos Missouras, Xenofon Bitsikas, Achilleas Papacostas, Edouard Sacaillan
- Mediterranean Light – The Scent of the 1930s Generation: Kostas Argyris, Kostas Papanikolaou, Kostas Papatriantafyllopoulos
- Return to Nature – Natura Naturans: Marilitsa Vlachaki, Anna Maria Tsakali, Maria Filopoulou