Illuminated Shadows: Christos Bokoros – Chronis Botsoglou. Paintings from the Sotiris Felios Collection
The Hellenic Institute for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice and “The other Arcadia” Foundation present a joint Christos Bokoros – Chronis Botsoglou exhibition bearing the title “Illuminated Shadows” and presenting paintings from the Sotiris Felios Collection.
A total of 20 paintings by the two important contemporary Greek figurative painters are travelling to the Hellenic Institute for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice. They will be on display in the historical Sala del Capitolo, where to date the Greek community of Venice, the first, for that matter, established outside the confines of Greece, still holds its meetings.
Beloved figures from the netherworld came back to the canvas of Chronis Botsoglou (as part of his emblematic group of works “Νekyia”), along with flames, altar breads and painted imprints on wood, i.e. objects and symbols typical of the unique artistic language of Christos Bokoros, are all giving a taste of contemporary Greek painting, timing being anything but random: this is a time when the image of Greece has been heavily tarnished worldwide due to the financial crisis, as well as a time when everyone’s eyes are on the greatest event of the art world, the Venice Biennale.
“The paintings of Christos Bokoros and Chronis Botsoglou are intertwined as to their spiritual origins and testimony they bear, despite the fact that the two artists are opting for entirely different paths”, says art critic Nikos Xydakis summing up the very essence of “Illuminated Shadows”.
And he goes on to add: “They bear witness to the survival of a painting tradition within the area of the Mediterranean which is not reproducing the tangible reality but rather the invisible aspect of things, the hidden substance. Through such paintings that synthetize the quasi-arbitrary, as it seems at first glance, co-existence of the two contemporary Greek painters, the spirit of ancient Greek painting is nonetheless preserved in manifold ways and by means of a steady hand as well as through the material testimony of late antiquity paintings, the long tradition of Byzantine painting and its theoretical foundations during the time of Iconomachy”.
It is a fortunate coincidence that “Illuminated Shadows” is to be hosted during the Venice Biennale at exactly the time when Diohandi shall be the official representative for Greece at the pavilion of the Giardini, thus allowing an international audience to find out that Greece is ever present and active in the art world.
This is, moreover, the second time the Sotiris Felios Collection makes an international appearance, following a successful exhibition held at the Sismanoglio Megaron in Istanbul in November 2010.
A 112-page-long volume accompanies “Illuminated Shadows”. It consists of texts written by Greek and Italian experts such as Chryssa Maltezou (Director of the Hellenic Institute for Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Studies in Venice) Nikos Karapidakis (Medieval History Professor at the Ionian University and President of the Ephorate for the Archives of the Greek State), Marina Lambraki-Plaka (Director of the National Gallery of Greece), Nikos Xydakis (editor-in-chief of “Kathimerini” newspaper and art critic), Giuliano Serafini (art historian), Italo Tomassoni (art critic), as well as the collector Sotiris Felios. The exhibition’s catalogue also quotes a discussion the two artists had regarding “Illuminated Shadows”.