Thursday 28 February 2019

Great Greek Painters of the 20th century - part 1

Great Greek Painters of the 20th century - part 1

at the Theoharakis Foundation, Athens.

This is a very welcome exhibition, as there are hardly any exhibitions in Athens this time round, and this includes private art galleries, as well as major state galleries and museums. I don't understand why. When the economic crisis first hit Greece eight years ago, I thought that one of the first sectors to be hit would have been the art world, but this was not the case as there were a lot of major exhibitions all around. So, why this time? I have no idea. It's been a real struggle to find things to go and see and it's been a real loss.

The works in this exhibition are from the Museum of Modern Art in Rhodes, and Athenians are very lucky to have access to them. I will be posting on the three parts of this exhibition, and this one is about early 20th century art.

Theophilos Hadjimichail, Georgios Karaiskakis, 1919, (oil on canvas)

Epaminondas Thomopoulos, Harvest, (oil on canvas)

Stelios Miliadis, Seine, 1915, (oil on canvas)

Dimitris Galanis, Seine, 1910, (egg tempera on paper)

Michalis Oikonomou, Landscape with Cypress, (oil on canvas)

Michalis Oikonomou, Houses in Aegina, (oil on canvas)

Kostas Maleas, The Pnyx with the Acropolis, 1914-17, (oil on paper)

Kostas Maleas, Acropolis, 1918-20, (oil on paper)

Spyros Papaloukas, Red Roofs in Lesvos, 1925, (oil on canvas)

Spyros Papaloukas, Houses in Mytilini, 1924, (oil on canvas)

Pericles Vyzantios, Caique with Sails, (oil on canvas)

Theophilos Hadjimichail, The Hero Miltiades Giataganas, (oil on wood panel)

Theophilos, The Meeting of Erotokritos and Arethousa, (oil on canvas)

Monday 25 February 2019

Not the best of times...

Our stay in Greece has not been that good this time, as one thing after another made it quite a stressful and not pleasant eight weeks. First of all, Ken got a nasty virus while we were still in the UK, had to travel with it, and then remained incarcerated in the apartment for a week. By then I had caught it off him, but I was not too bad so was able to do all the necessary tasks to settle us in.

Then, the disaster with my teeth: I got an abscess in one of my implants, the worst possible imaginable nightmare, and anyone who has dental implants will be able to understand this. Fortunately, my excellent Greek dentist identified this as an abscess in the gums, rather than the bone, so antibiotics were prescribed. This did not solve the problem however, as the infection continued to fester. Apparently, around that particular implant, I have the wrong sort of gum (even though I understand what is involved, the technical terms escape me) so he had to perform a gum graft which is still in the process of healing. We will have to come back to Greece in April when the new gum will have grown and matured so that he can complete the procedure. Hopefully, this will sort the problem out.

While this was going on, I got the Greek virus that's going round, which is quite a nasty one. I was poorly for quite some time, and three weeks later I still have low temperature, but I am ignoring it now, and I'm just getting on with things. To cap it all, Ken got the virus off me, but fortunately, he was able to recover after a few days.

The background to all of this has been the weather, which has been like nothing we have ever experienced here before. The pattern has been as follows: a week of storms, pouring rain, freezing cold, and strong winds, followed by 3-4 days of sunshine and warm temperatures, and then the whole cycle repeats itself, over and over.

The winds in the last two days have been horrendous. Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in our living room doing a sudoku when suddenly I heard a mighty crash, and saw a bright flash that looked like lightning which seemed to be coming from the balcony above. I went out to the terrace, looked up but could not see anything. What I did not do, was look down.

A few minutes later my brother-in-law came to tell us that one of the old pine trees across the road had been uprooted by the wind, crashing down. This pine has been standing there since I was a little girl and it will be sorely missed. This was the last straw in a two-month stay that has been plagued by one misfortune after another.

The tree lay across the road and into our neighbour's garden - needless to say her fence is damaged. What is worse is that it brought down the utility pole so that a few of the apartment buildings around us were plunged into darkness. We lit some candles and put some music on, but we could still hear the wind howling and thundering outside.

The emergency services were amazing: the police, fire brigade and electricity company came almost immediately,

and they all worked well into the night. By then, it was raining, the wind was stronger, and yet these dedicated workers continued with their work, the tree was cleared off the road, and then the repairs to the electricity wires commenced

which involved men climbing up the utility poles - not an easy job given the strong winds and the rain.

The electricity came back around 9:30 and we all (we were upstairs at my sister's by then, having a family meal) piled on to the balcony and clapped and thanked the workers.

This morning, the final clearing of all the debris was completed by the council workers: it took two truck-fulls to clear the remains of our tree.

Friday 22 February 2019

From Cavafy's World

It is always very pleasing seeing queues of people waiting to buy tickets to see art, and so it was last week at the

Benaki Museum, Pireos Street, Athens.

From Cavafy's World, by Anna Filini.

This body of work by Filini was inspired by 24 of Cavafy's historical poems and consists of a poem on each page coupled with a drawing/painting.

The Dramas of Authority:

The main theme of these 24 poems is the issue of political power.

Caesarion, 2014, (marker and watercolour on cardboard)

Theodotos, 2014, (thin marker pen and watercolour on fine cardboard)

The Ides of March, 2014, (thin marker pen and watercolour on fine cardboard)

God Abandons Antony, 2014, (thin marker pen and watercolour on fine cardboard)

The Portraits:

A reflection on the 'dramas of authority'.

Constantinos Cavafy, 2015-18, (gouache on paper)

Marcus Antonius, 2015-18, (gouache on paper)

The Poet by the Nile, 2005, (oil on wood)

Cavafy's Mother, Harikleia in Constantinople, 2005, (oil on wood)

Eros, Sensual Perfumes of Every Kind, 2005, (oil on wood)

Interior of a Coffee House in Alexandria, 2005, (oil on wood)

Arriving at the Coast, 2005, (oil on wood)

Wednesday 20 February 2019

On a bright sunny Sunday...

Five weeks of storms with the odd reprieve, and last Sunday was just that, a bright, sunny day so we decided to go to Athens and walk around the roads at the base of the Acropolis.

Dionyssou Aeropagitou Avenue is our starting point, and there is an atmosphere of celebration in the air: everyone is out, strolling along, enjoying the good weather.

The Acropolis on our right



and street sellers, abound.

The Acropolis Museum on our left

next to it, one of the few remaining Art Deco buildings in Athens.

Some very nice buildings on this stretch

on our left, Philopappu Hill with the ancient Greek mausolum dedicated to Gaius Julius Antiochus Epiphanes, sitting on top

a  limited view of the Roman theatre of Iridou Attikou

where the Athens festival takes place every summer

We can see a small section of the Acropolis on our right,

and if we turned right here, we would reach the entrance to the Acropolis.

But we continue straight ahead onto Apostolou Paulou Avenue. Normally, the crowds tend to thin out from now on, but not today - it's very busy

and the whole of this section is lined with street sellers.

You can see how thick the crowd is - I have never seen it like this before

A good view of the Acropolis from here

the Church of St Marina

with the tiny Byzantine church in its grounds.

We can also see the Athens Observatory from here. This is where we saw the most wonderful exhibition, The Theatre of Disappearance by Adrian Villar Rojas, 18 months ago. It was truly memorable.

We have now reached an area full of cafeterias

and they are heaving.

The next stretch is full of street sellers

which enhances the festive atmosphere on this rare, sunny day

which includes a Salepi seller.

We turn right into Adrianou Street

and reach Kuzina, one of our favourite restaurants,

 where we have a delicious lunch, and watch the world go by.