Saturday, 18 March 2023

Modernist houses in Alimos

Most buildings in Alimos, the area where we live in Athens, are apartment buildings. This is mainly due to the fact that Athens is surrounded by mountains on three sides with the sea at the fourth, so the city does not have room to expand. Greek people do not like renovating their homes, so there comes a time when their homes become quite run down, and then they make a deal with a developer who builds an apartment building - the owner gets half and the developer gets the other half of the building, which they then sell. There is also another reason why this happens and that is that quite often, a house is bequeathed to more than one sibling and by converting the house to an apartment building, the siblings can have an apartment each.

This is what happened with my sister and me: we now each have an apartment, whilst the developer's two apartments were sold to two families.

There are still a few of the traditional houses left in our area. There are also some modernist buildings that people who could afford it, had built for themselves.

During a recent walk we spotted three modernist houses.

House no. 1 is extremely intriguing, and I always stop to have a look whenever I walk that way.

The top floor protrudes right out

in a very unusual way. It must be wonderful looking out from the top floor

I sometimes think that the two floors below must be quite dark as a consequence, but given that three sides of the building are made of glass that is probably not the case.

Despite the fact that it's all glass, it's extremely private.

I would love to know more about the building and its architect, and would love to have a look inside.

House no. 2 is near Pani Hill and we spotted it when we went there to celebrate Clean Monday

Beautiful and again, quite unusual.

Like house no. 1, house no. 3 is quite near where we live. Note the terrace between the two bedrooms on the top floor, which provides privacy, and at the same time, access through the french windows on to the terrace.

The elongated second floor is predominantly glass as is the first floor. One used to be able to see the building in its full glory before they planted the bamboo but it does make sense, the bamboo gives them privacy.

 I was not able to get a good photograph of the third side of the house, the one facing the sea, but it's all glass, leading on to the two terraces.  

It's beautiful, and I would love to live in it.

Tuesday, 14 March 2023

Andreas Vourloumis - a painter of Attica

Andreas Vourloumis - a painter of Attica, at the Niarchos Cultural Centre.

Born in Patras in 1910, Andreas Vourloumis was one of the most characteristic but low-key representatives of Greek painting of the second half of the 20th century. A figurative painter, influenced by impressionism and wary of the teachings of modernism, he was almost exclusively interested in the Attic space. He painted Athens and its people on canvas and paper, focusing on urban housing. He captured in his work the places where he lived, the places that made up his everyday life. He died in Athens in August 1999.

His work was exhibited in the space next to the library.

The Stroffili Grove, Kifissia (the first landscape), 1924, (oil on canvas)

Kifissia during the Winter, 1923, (oil on canvas)

Hypatia (I hate you), 1935, (oil on canvas)

Loverdos Estate, (Kifissia, towards Varybobi), 1935, (oil on canvas)

Hydra, 1938, (oil on hardboard)

Boats, (oil on canvas)

Vouliagmeni, 1940, (oil on wood)

Memory from Albania, 1948, (oil on cardboard)

Neighbourhood in Athens, 1958, (egg temper mounted on hardboard)

The roof of the house on Tsakalof Street, 1954, (oil on hardboard)

View from the House on Tsakalof Street, 1947, (oil on hardboard)

View from the House on Tsakalof Street, 1947, (oil on hardboard)

Rooftops and Mount Hymettus, 1929, (oil on canvas)

Terrace with Pergola, (Tsakalof Street), 1960, (egg tempera on paper)

Rooftops, Tsakalof Street, 1957, (oil on canvas)

Coal Shop, 1950, (egg tempera on hardboard)

Greengrocer, 1951, (egg tempera on hardboard)

Passersby, 1950, (egg tempera on paper mounted on hardboard)

Street with Figures, 1963, (egg tempera on hardboard)

Helen Playing the Piano, 1949, (oil on cardboard)

Daphne at the Piano, 1954, (oil on canvas)

The Butcher's Assistant, 1970, (oil on hardboard)

The Dining Room, the house on Tsakalof Street, 1953, (ol on hardboard)

Playing Cards, 1960, (egg tempera on hardboard)

The Artist's Mother, 1953, (oil on hardboard)

Store in Pangrati, (egg tempera on paper)

Rooftops, (charcoal and egg tempera on hardboard)

Rooftops on Tsakalof Street, 1994, (oil on canvas)

Panathenaic Stadium, (oil on canvas)

Patras Beach, 1970, (pencil and watercolour on paper)

Patras Beach, 1970, (pencil and watercolour on paper)

Aegina, Pier and Boats, 1988, (oil on canvas)

Aegina, 1993, (oil on canvas mounted on hardboard)

Self-Portrait, 1969, (oil on canvas)

Friday, 10 March 2023

Another iNO mural

Another iNO mural I discovered in the Psiri area.

A graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts, iNo is best known for his figurative murals created on a large scale. Although he began his career as a graffiti artist in the early 2000s by producing letters and bombing, over the years he has developed his distinctive style characterised by fragmented forms, photorealistic elements and a grayscale colour palette with touches of light blue. His eye-catching, stylised and clever pieces often deal with social and political themes. Using spray paint and fat caps or acrylic paint and water, his pieces imitate the tone of watercolours with light, transparent layers. He uses no projectors, but relies on his perception and his sketching outlines.

'For me, it's not right to invade someone else's property. If it's a public wall, it's different. I don't ask permission because the people who govern our society don't ask permission from us to do things. So why should I ask them?' ... I deal with social themes in my art. Most of the themes represent social stigmas - how humans become slaves of their own creations, be it money or in politics'.

Sunday, 5 March 2023

Clean Monday - Kite Flying and more

Clean Monday (Kathara Deutera) is the first day of Lent in Greece. The term refers to the leaving behind of sinful attitudes and non-fasting foods. As the name indicates, people 'clean' their body and soul - having spent 3 weeks consuming a lot of meat during the carnival, now they stop eating meat, dairy products and eggs. Instead, on this first day of Lent, people consume shellfish, taramosalata, a special kind of azyme bread, (baked only on that day, called lagana), halva, gigandes and beans. 

For most Greeks, celebrating Clean Monday means going to the hillside or by the sea to enjoy a fasting picnic and fly their kites. Kites symbolise the ascension of the soul to God and the start of its purification by reaching close to him.

On this Clean Monday, which this year fell on the 27th of February, we decided to go to our nearest hill, Pani, which is a 25 minute walk, to take part in the festivities.

It's a small green oasis

spring flowers are already blooming

Walking uphill, we reached a plateau where quite a few people were flying their kites

Good views of Athens here, despite the mist

We then decided to walk up to the highest point of the hill, taking this path

a modernist house on our right

we continued on our way

Lots of people around, and lots of kites in the sky

We reached the top

Good views of the sea from here

as well as the northern suburbs and the Hymettus mountain range

below, we could also see the Pani park where the day's celebrations were taking place - our next destination

Most kite-flyers were dads while their children look on, so it was good seeing this little girl flying her kite - she was very good at it

We started walking down again, 

and reached the park - it was heaving

the play area

the adult exercise area which on that day was taken over by people having fun

Lots of kids playing football

lots of people listening 

to the band that played folk music

and then people started dancing.

On the way home we stopped at our local bakery to buy a loaf of lagana.  The bakery was decorated with, what else? kites.