Friday, 3 December 2021

Maria Callas sculpture in Athens

Across the road from the Herodou Attikou ancient Roman theatre, where Maria Callas made her debut


the new sculpture of the opera singer has been recently installed,

 

From day one of its installation the sculpture has been ridiculed and has generated a social media storm. People have complained that it's more redolent of 'Ghandhi in heels', or an Oscar statuette, than the prima donna. Created by Aphrodite Liti, professor of sculpture at the Athens School of Fine arts, the sculpture has been criticised for being kitsch, unbecoming and for bearing absolutely no resemblance to Callas.



Born to Greek immigrant parents in New York, Callas was christened Maria Anna Sofia Celia Kalogeropoulos before returning to Athens and rising to stardom. 


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The controversy surrounding the sculpture of Callas reminded me of another public sculpture that has been heavily criticised.


(photograph from the Guardian).

Namely, the sculpture of Mary Woolstonecraft which stands in north London. The sculpture, created by Maggi Hambling shows a silvery naked woman held up by a swirling mingle of female forms. 

The critics ask why is the 'mother' of feminism celebrated with a naked female form. Caroline Criado-Perez: 'I honestly feel that actually this representation is insulting to her. I can't see her feeling happy to be represented by this naked, perfectly formed wet dream of a woman'.


(photograph from the Guardian)

Caitlin Moran: 'Imagine if there was a statue of a hot young naked guy 'in tribute' to eg Churchill. It would look mad. This also, looks mad'.



Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Theodoros Papayiannis


Theodoros Papayiannis, Facing One's History, at Alimos Art Gallery.




Theodoros Papayiannis was born in Eliniko, Ioannina, Greece, in 1942. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Appliques et des Metiers d'Art in Paris. He subsequently organised various sculpture symposiums in various cities in Greece and Cyprus, where large sculptures were created in public spaces. In 2006 he won an international sculpture competition sponsored by the City of Chicago for his sculpture 'the Runners' which was installed at the O'Hare International Airport. 

After retiring in 2009 he founded the Theodoros Papayiannis Museum of Contemporary Art in his home town of Elliniko. Every summer students and sculptors are invited to the museum to create sculptures which are placed on the 5 km route from the village to the Monastery of Tsouka.




Papayiannis uses a variety of materials in his work: stone, marble, bronze, wood, steel terracotta, but also synthetic materials and secondary objects.

His work can be grouped into three categories: 1. Tectonic sculptures, groups of figures carved on marble and stone that preserve the memory of the rectangle shapes from which they originated. 2. Sculptures that are inspired by organic forms: stones and pebbles where the sculptor utilises their random shape in order to draw out, with minor but vital interventions, human figures with special expressiveness. 3. Small sculptures, usually made of clay, that are reminiscent of the post-Minoan and Mycenaean periods. 

It is the sculptures of this third category that are presented in this exhibition. The masks are very expressive, and the small sculptures are exquisite. It is quite a coup to exhibit the work of such prolific, creative and talented artist in a small regional gallery, and we were very grateful to have had the opportunity to see his work.




This is a small, regional gallery, basic, no pretense. The space is still set up as it was on the day of the launch of the exhibition.











































Looking at some of the individual pieces
























































 

Sunday, 28 November 2021

On the way to the producers' market.


There is a producers' market in our area once a month, two venues, each venue alternating very other month. One venue is near where we live, but the other one, the one described in this post, is quite far but walkable - just about. 



Near our apartment is the site for yet another apartment building to be built. They started the demolition in July, but then, work stopped completely because they found antiquities as they were digging the foundations. Archaeologists are busy at work and the digger moves the earth they have excavated around. It's anyone's guess when work will resume, or, what they will unearth.



Soon after we reached the tiny little park where the outdoor exercise equipment is located. We used to use this outdoor gym quite a lot last year, but have not done so this year.








Beyond the outdoor gym is the dry river bed which is located behind these bamboo bushes. The road is fairly quiet, so it's a nice walk




very pleasant because of the bushes and trees on either side of the river.




This modernist house is one of my favourites in the area. Before they planted the bamboo bushes to give them privacy, you could see the walls of glass on both floors which led to large verandas







I don't recognise some of the bushes and trees that grow on the side of the river, 







but some are familiar, like the huge eucalyptus trees in this photograph.




A mural 




by the bridge




a shrine




the Seville orange trees are bursting with fruit




it's a long walk but very pleasant




we had reached the pharmaceutical factory




I tried to gain access a few years ago to have a look at the sculpture of an artist whose work I like, but they would not let me in.





Lots of oleanders by the side of the river.




We had reached the small park which is at the end of this road








at the other end of the park is a pedestrianised road - only the cars of residents are allowed here.







It's a short-cut, so we continued on our way







A children's play area




another outdoor gym - there are lots in our area







lots of chickens and a cockerel in a garden 




they all came up to us hoping for some food, I guess




it's very quiet here, it must be lovely for the residents




Suddenly we turned right and a complete change of scene: this is Ionias Avenue, a busy thoroughfare, but not that busy on a Sunday.




A flower shop




and then the stadium: there are always a few spectators sitting on the stalls, they must be parents watching their children train.




Street art on the wall of the stadium




Anonymous




Picasso




This tree lined avenue used to be the entrance to the estate of the 'lord of the manor' of our area in olden times




another flower shop.




We had reached the municipal art gallery, the second reason for this walk. We went in and saw a wonderful exhibition of ceramic sculptures and then went on our way.




Almost immediately after leaving the gallery we came upon this man who was grilling souvlakia. I thought they were for sale, even though it was an odd place for doing this. I said that we did not want to buy anything but could I take his photograph. He said to go ahead, and then we got chatting. He was not selling souvlakia at all, but was preparing his lunch. Apparently he lives in the building behind him, and does this most lunchtimes. And, why not, I thought.




We had reached the park where the producers' market takes place.




We entered from the side entrance



 
past this children's playing area that has seating for parents to watch them play




and we reached the market.




Not many sellers, but the produce is varied and we always end up buying quite a lot




different types of flour




pulses



processed meats - not good for you, but oh! so tasty




cheese




homemade wine




olive oil




honey








bread, biscuits and cookies




tomato sauces




fruit and veg




I don't like aubergines, but I always think they look so good








more cookies and florentines




halva




rusks




Ken's into the ones made out of carob and this is the only place he can get them




eggs




olives







dried figs




pasta sauces




homemade pasta









nuts, seeds and dried fruit




bottled fruit




vinegars




almonds




honey




pomegranate products.





We finished our shopping and then we walked through the central area of the park.




Some people were playing basketball




the children's area was busy




and the cafe was heaving. We had too much shopping to carry so we took a taxi home.