Wednesday 31 July 2013

Per Kirkeby in Copenhagen

I first came upon Per Kirkeby's paintings in an exhibition in the Byzantine Museum in Athens and decided to explore his work further and do a post on him, which you can see here .

By the time Kirkeby had completed a Masters in arctic geology he was already part of the experimental art school Eks-Skolen and working as a painter, sculptor, writer and lithographic artist and he has pursued these activities ever since. His interest in geology and nature in general, still play a crucial role in his artistic expression.

He was also a member of the Fluxus group and was influenced by Pop Art in the 1960s. Later he was influenced by Tachism and Abstract Expressionism. The vigorous brushwork and chromatic beauty of his paintings and the sensuous modelling of his rough black bronzes have earned him the title 'lyric expressionist'. His paintings tend towards the abstract.

In Louisiana:

for more on Louisiana, go here

The Sun Temple, 1969

Mongolian Felt Tent, 1968
Birds Buried in Snow, 1938
The Hut, 1968

Untitled, 1968

Two Arms I, 1981

Small Head and Arm, 1981

Laesoe, 2001
Green Spring, 1988

 Landscape, 1983

Mother and Child, 1938

Head and Arm: Gate, 1938.
 In the Statens Museum for Kunst:
 for more on the Staatens Museum for Kunst go here

A Romantic Picture, 1965
The title of this painting offers an ironic contrast to the watered-down romanticising emotionalism that Kirkeby, as part of the avant-garde, rejected. Pop Art took its point of departure from consumer society as one way of breaking down what it regarded as a petty bourgeois concept of art. The motifs are from popular culture: magazines, comic books, and are transferred by means of templates. All contents are wryly kept at arm's length drawing on general ideals and cliches about desire. The painting is executed in a self-aware manner, replacing deep emotion with surface seduction.
 In The Black Diamond:

for more on the Black Diamond, go here

Untitled, 1998 
looking closer. 

Tuesday 30 July 2013

A night out

We tried a new taverna, Panorama in Kavouri.

As usual, we went very early (well, it was 9:00, but Greek people eat very late) so the place was quite empty when we arrived.

Beautiful views, excellent food, draft wine,

A dream-like atmosphere when it got dark

All four of us were in a particularly exuberant mood - a wonderful evening.

We will certainly be going there again.

Monday 29 July 2013

Zoumboulaki Gallery

Everything shuts in August in Athens, so I am trying to see as much art as I can, before everything closes until September. Zoumboulaki is one of my favourite private galleries in Athens. The exhibition this time was of a collection of various artists and I found a few paintings that I like.

Egg, Christos Bokoros, (oil on wood and canvas)

Distant Sea, Christos Kechagioglou (or Kex), (acrylic on canvas)

Distant Sea II, Christos Kechagioglou, (acrylic on canvas)

Ancient Zagora, Christos Kechagioglou, (acrylic on canvas)

Bathers, Maria Philopoulou, (oil on canvas).

Sunday 28 July 2013

Vouliagmeni beach on a hot, hot day


The first heat wave of the summer, and it's hot, hot, hot.

So, we decide to go to Vouliagmeni beach to cool off

Every one else has had the same idea though, and the beach is packed even though it is only 10:30.

We manage to get the last two umbrellas, so we're happy

Even though we're constantly in and out of the sea

it still feels very hot

but this is the place to be.

Saturday 27 July 2013

Edvard Weie

There were several paintings by Edvard Weie in the Statens Museum for Kunst, a new painter for me.
The ambition behind his compositions was to create' a new Romantic vein of art, capable of depicting the drama of life with true grandeur'. Guided by Romantic music, this new art was to be shaped by harmonies and sounds, thereby liberating itself from the solidity of old naturalism and moving towards the supernatural instead. The objective was to regain a spiritual dimension borne by emotion, 'the return of poetry' within painting.

The Mail Boat Arriving, Christanso, 1920

Still Life with Oranges, 1922

Standing Female Nude, 1923

Two Genii. Sketch. 1922

A Forest Road

Faun and Nymph, 1940-41

Weie drew inspiration from Cezanne's The Abduction for this painting. This picture marks the culmination of Weie's ambition to compose a picture consisting entirely of pure harmonies of colour that could transform matter into spirit.

Landscape for Christianso, 1914

Mindet. Christianso. 1912.

Friday 26 July 2013

The spectre of fascism is haunting Europe once more

More than 2,000 people queued on Wednesday to receive free food outside the fascists' headquarters in Athens after the neo-Nazi party was banned from conducting the hand-out in Attikis Square.

Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said that he would not allow the neo-Nazis to use the central Square for its 'Greeks only' event so the venue was switched to the party's offices near Larissis Station. A queue of over 1,000 people snaked its way around the streets one hour before the food distribution was due to begin, and by 6:00 it had swelled to 2,000. Before the handing out of food began, their leader gave a speech declaring that the date was meant to coincide with the anniversary of democracy being restored to Greece after the collapse of the military junta - a dictatorship which the Nazis exalt. 'They are celebrating the so-called anniversary of democracy but in fact they are celebrating the arrival of klpetocracy, scandals and betrayal', he declared. He continued by saying that the food was not  'for blacks, or Pakistanis' and every time he mentioned a nationality or race of people, the supporters booed. From time to time, the black-shirted members of the Nazis would start shouting 'blood, honour', and the name of the party (that I do not want mentioned in this blog) and that would be followed by Nazi salutes.

At the end of this message of hate and division, the handing out of food started, and the people who were queuing had to produce their ID cards to prove that they were Greek.

The police stood by and at no point did they attempt to stop the proceedings.

Greece is being held hostage by a police force that increasingly appears beyond state control, and which has long forsaken its role of protecting citizens from the thugs they now side with. Meanwhile, the government's agenda is increasingly moving to the right, resembling the policies of the Weimar Republic and you can read more about this here .

In the middle of the severe economic, political and social crisis that is engulfing Greece, the neo-Nazi party and their message of hate is quickly gaining influence and power, emerging as the fastest-growing political force in the country.  They won 18 seats in Parliament in the June 2012 elections and had 14% of support in recent polls - a showing comparable to that of Hitler's  National Socialist German Workers' Party in 1930, three years before rising to power and setting the world on course for WWII. Antisemitism, xenophobia, hatred of immigrants, misogyny, homophobia, are at the heart of their vision of the world.


It is such an irony that this should be happening in the country that mounted such fierce resistance to fascism during WWII, during which more than 300,000 Greeks were killed.

Fascism is once again rearing its ugly head in Europe, and what are the EU leaders saying or doing about this? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The only thing they seem to care about is that Greece repays its debts. Financial interests are the primary concern, with human rights, democracy and the rule of law totally sidelined. There is no recognition that the problem even exists. Could it be that European leaders realize how deeply implicated they are in the rise of this neo-Nazi group?

Never again, we used to say. We don't say it anymore.

                                                                     *   *   *

For more information on how desperate things are for sections of the Greek population go here

Source:    (the Greek version of this article is much more detailed)

Thursday 25 July 2013

Anna Kindyny

While writing up the post Hunger yesterday, I was reminded of Anna Kindyny whose work was exhibited in the Benaki Museum in 2009.

All the major events in Anna Kindyny's life run parallel to all the major events in Greece's history. She was two months old when her family had to leave Asia Minor in Turkey when all the resident Greeks were persecuted and expelled. 'I was two months' old when we had to leave our home and took refuge in the mountains, half naked, without water or food, and we stayed there for 3 nights. We then found a boat that took us to Lesbos', she recounted. In 1917-18, when she was 4 years old,  the German submarines besieged the Ionian islands and hunger hit the people there: she could see from her balcony all the emaciated dead being taken away: 'most days our only food was a handful of raisins', she remembered. Her family were able to return to Turkey in 1919 but had to leave again in 1922 when the Greek residents were all forced to flee the country: Anna was eight. Back to Lesbos. She moved to Athens in 1939 in search of work, and married in 1940.

The German occupation of Greece meant persecutions, mass executions, concentration camps and the awful hunger of 1941-42. She worked for the City Council and her job was to record the deaths of those who died from starvation. One of her sisters died from malnutrition. Kindyny and her husband moved to Paris in 1945 and she stayed there for 45 years. In 1947 her other sister, Irini, a political activist, was arrested and sent to exile to an arid island in the Aegean where she stayed for 4 years. Anna Kindyny found this very hard to bear and years later, did a whole series of sketches titled 'Women in Exile'.

She went to University in Paris and her friends included Braque, Picasso, Mondrian, Malevich and Kadinsky. Throughout her life she was politically active, and that included the uprising of May '68 as well as the feminist movement.

She was never able to forget the hunger of people in Athens during WWII and most of her work is influenced by those years: 'I had to recount my history and the history of my people. I used to sketch as if I was having a conversation with myself, a testimony, a confession....'

Despairing Motherhood, 1950s

Greece in 1941, 1950

Hunger, 1950s

Child, 1950s
'I saw this. This is how it happened', wrote Goya when referring to his masterpiece, Images of War.
It's the same with Anna Kindyny. Her work is a testimony to what she saw, what she experienced. The seemingly rough lines of her sketches, the dark tones, the silent, spectral forms, the tightly closed mouths of her haunting characters bear witness to what she saw and what she experienced. Her work is the recounting of the experiences of women, of female consciousness, of female suffering in a male-dominated world. Like Kathe Kollwitz's work, her work is about loss, suffering, and, ultimately, resistance.


Hungry Children, 1950s

Mother and Child, 1950s

Family of Immigrants, 1950s

Immigrants, 1950s

Bitter Motherhood, 1953

Hunger, 1954

 Child, 1955


German Occupation, 1955

Unprotected, 1956

Hiroshima, 1956

Child, 1956
Abandonment, 1959



Child and Grandmother, 1962


 Hungry, 1962

 A different theme:

Eros, 1981

Eros, 1985

Finally, a photograph of the artist at work.