Friday, 9 October 2015

Museum of Cycladic Art


Museum of Cycladic Art, Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, Athens

The museum consists of two buildings, one old and one modern.  The Stathatos mansion, the old building was built by Ernst Ziller, and you can see it in the photograph above. The building is composed of two wings, nearly symmetrical, connected by the impressive entrance and a cylindrical atrium. The building has many neoclassical characteristics: symmetry, geometrical order, use of ancient Greek and Roman features. The entrance is one of the basic parts of the building, unifying the two wings and giving a character to the building.  

A closer look at the entrance - the two Corinthian columns give emphasis to the stairs that lead to the covered part of the entrance.

The museum has an extensive collection of Greek antiquities with special interest in the prehistoric art from the Cyclades islands of the Aegean sea. They also stage temporary exhibitions of modern art.

The entrance hall as seen from the imposing sweeping staircase that leads to the first floor - the body on the floor is part of the exhibition of modern art that is on at present.

The entrance hall leads to a circular room

with an impressive semi-circular window

The glass corridor that connects the two buildings

which also affords a view of the garden.

The newly refurbished restaurant-café

with an interesting ceiling

and lots of plants as a backdrop

a definite improvement.

Leaving the café/restaurant, towards the exit which in this case is the entrance to the modern building

The shop has also been refurbished and is to the right of the entrance of the new building

selling copies of Cycladic sculpture, books, jewellery and ceramics


the room where children's activities take place

Standing by the entrance of the new building and looking at the café/restaurant

and we exit via the modern building, designed by Ioannis Vikelas and erected in 1985.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tony Cragg

Tony Cragg at the Benaki Museum, Pireos Avenue, Athens.

We had great fun at the Tony Cragg exhibition trying to locate the human profiles, the noses, mouths, chins, eye-sockets in these horizontal sculptures that resembled precariously piled stacks of spinning plates. Made using computer-aided design, these sculptures also evoke standing figures, columns, towers that spin on their axes and wobble like viscous liquid.
'We perceive the world through light reflected on surfaces',  Cragg says. 'We develop a frantic ability to read these surfaces and what lies behind them. And these surfaces are always the product of a function. There's a reason things look the way they do - a value to everything. But if you shift these relationships just a bit, put another emphasis on them, new meanings come out of it'.

This is exactly what Cragg is doing in his current sculptures, shifting our sense of what things should look like so that what appear to be human profiles blur out of existence as you move around them, and they slide out of alignment.

Three of the sculptures have been set up in the courtyard.


And then we walked in the gallery where the rest of the sculptures were exhibited....

Runner, 2011 (bronze)

looking closer 

Willow II, 2015

These sculptures are as much about the material that has been used and the way it has been used, as about form

Sharing, 2005, (jesmonite)

Woman's Head, 2007 (bronze)

Relatives, 2004, (bronze)

In Memory of a Second, 2002, (stone)

Diabas Head, 2008, (stone)

looking closer


Point of View, 2003, (stainless steel)

The steel has been polished so well that it does indeed look like viscous liquid


McCormack, 2007 (bronze)

looking closer


Declination, 2003 (bronze)

Bent of Mind, 2008 (wood)

looking closer

Secretions, 1995

looking closer

A Head, I Thought, 2011 (wood)

a different view

looking closer

Lost in Thought, 2011 (wood)

Friday, 2 October 2015

Margarita Ecclesiarchou

New work by Margarita Ecclesiarchou at the Nikos Hakjikyriakos-Ghika annexe of the Benaki Museum.

We visited the museum shop during one of our wanders around Kolonaki. I have posted on Margarita Ecclesiarchou's ceramics before, here  and here . This work is different from anything of hers I have seen before.


Six porcelain bowls. The decoration is pretty enough, but it was the quality of the form that totally threw me. The porcelain is literally paper thin. Egg shell is thicker. I cannot begin to understand how she was able to make them. The man in the shop said to me that for every four she makes only one survives. And I am not surprised. I have never seen such thin porcelain. I was afraid to touch them, I thought they would disintegrate as I was very very gently holding them. Amazing.


Thursday, 1 October 2015

Panayiotis Tetsis

Panayiotis Tetsis

at the Theoharakis Foundation, Vassilisis Sofias Avenue, Athens.

An exponent of the post-impressionist seascape tradition, Tetsis regards himself as a painter driven by the senses. In 1949 Tetsis along with Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, Yannis Moralis, Nikos Nikolau, Nikos Engonopoulos and Yannis Tsarouchis established the Armos art group.

'If I take a long voyage at sea, I get bored', Tetsis says, 'and I don't agree with Cavafy that heading for Ithaca we ought to hope that the voyage lasts as long as possible... I paint a large number of my seas from memory. I don't need to paint them from life. And even if I do, I change them later in my studio, even change them totally'.

from the 'Skipping Tselevinia' series, 2008-2009 (oil on canvas)

Waves, 2011-14, (oil on canvas)

a closer look at the brushstrokes

Skylaion Cape II, 2011-2014 (oil on canvas)

Untitled, 2011-2014 (ink on canvas)

Mountains of Hydra I, 2011-14, (oil on canvas)


Mountains of Hydra II, 2011-2014 (oil on canvas)

a closer look at the brushstrokes (low right)

Untitled, 2015 (oil on canvas)

a closer look at the brushstrokes


Untitled, 2011-14, (oil on canvas)