From Agrinio to New York: Christos Kapralos

A very interesting Greek sculptor. Photos do not do justice to his work, which is sometimes very large in scale

The Art Stories

kapralos (2 of 6) Christos Kapralos working in his studio, Athens, 1987

Christmas back home gave me lots of time for book hunting in my parents’ bookcases. As usual, I ignored the sociology, finance and management books that have taken over even my own room and shuffled through the art history books that I haven’t been acquainted with. Nothing interesting came up. The search was over but I was angsty for a new obsession; the blog needed something interesting. It wasn’t until a few days later that my father’s proposition, writing about local artists, seemed more inviting than boring. From that moment, Kapralos[1] couldn’t get out of my head. Kapralos happened to be a distant relative of my mother’s but I never had the chance of meeting him; he died before I was born. We did, however, have his work displayed in our dining room and a few books on his work. So…

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Twitter Art Exhibit

 

Last year I chanced upon the Twitter Art Exhibit ,  an organization  which has devised an original and fun way to help various charities. Artists of all kinds are invited to donate a postcard-sized piece of original art, to be sold at an exhibition and, for the pieces that are not sold, online.

 

 

 

There is no entry fee, no theme, there is nothing to win, and everyone is included. It is a way to give back, and, for amateur artists who might not otherwise get this opportunity, to see their work featured in an international exhibition. It’s also fun to follow TAE on Twitter or Instagram and see the huge variety of work submitted. See below a wall from a previous exhibition.

 

As I said, I only stumbled upon this last year, but TAE was set up 10 years ago by artist David Sandrum to help buy books for the children’s department of a library in Norway.
The social media-powered exhibition has since then gone from strength to strength, and the sales have raised around $64.000 for various charities around the world!
Each year, over 1000 artists of all levels sign up to donate a piece of their art. See below my own contribution for 2019.

 

This year, Twitter Art Exhibit is curated by artist Sam Banister, and takes place in Scotland’s historical capital city of Edinburgh, in support of the local charity, Art in Healthcare ( click here to find out more).

Their mission is ‘to use visual art to improve health and wellbeing’, a concept I cannot but endorse, since I really believe in the power of art as therapy.

 

 

The opening day of the exhibition is Saturday 11th May 2019, the show will run until the 13th, and thereafter sales will continue online.

 

 

 

I encourage any one of you out there who has the slightest interest in making things, to have a go. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it could just be a simple collage or a crazy doodle! What have you got to lose, nobody will judge you, and it’s all in a good cause. The deadline is April 29, 2019, but if you want your card to be included in their lovely catalogue, make sure your entry is in by April 12.

 

A Greek director at the BAFTAS

I must confess I have seen none of Yorgos Lanthimos’s films so far,
because they are dark and bleak and I never seem to be in the right mood for them. However, he has been going from strength to strength, and I am now rather tempted by his latest offering, which was a huge success at the BAFTAS.

Lanthimos was born in Athens in 1973, and went to film school in Greece, hoping to make commercials—the prospect of making films in Greece in the 80s and 90s was dim, to say the least.

 

 

Through the 1990s he directed a series of videos for Greek dance-theater companies, moving on to TV commercials, music videos, short films and experimental theater plays. He was also a member of the creative team which designed the opening and closingceremonies of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

Lanthimos, realizing his youthful ambitions, then went on to make feature films—and, just under a decade ago, released Dogtooth, a grim tale of a father keeping his family in total isolation.  It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards, but was booed and hissed by voters during a committee screening, and lost to Susanne Bier’s In a Better World. After that, Lanthimos became notorious for his wild imagination and bleak inscrutability.

However, his first English-language film, The Lobster (2015), proved a significant art-house hit, being set in a world where single people must find partners or be transformed into animals. Its follow-up, The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), is a bloody revenge drama infused with classical mythology—while his characters keep having absurdly mundane conversations.

He became a leading member of the ‘weird wave’, Greek film makers who were anti-commercial and aimed to provoke, if not to shock. Nevertheless, over the course of his six films, he managed to escape his image as a European oddity, acquire global recognition and achieve significant box-office success, attracting top actors such as Nicole Kidman.

 

 

His latest film, The Favourite, is an opulent period drama set in the court of Queen Anne and featuring stellar performances by Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.

Based on fact, it is the story of two women vying for the attention of Queen Anne, who, plagued by gout and haunted by the 17 children she’s lost over the years, has basically given up governing her country.

 

 

According to reviews, it is supposed to be less disturbing than his other films, although still dark, and features a witty script spiked with anachronisms, and lavish costumes and scenery.

The film won seven awards at the BAFTAs (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), including outstanding British film, original screenplay, leading actress for Olivia Colman and best supporting actress for Rachel Weisz.

 

 

Next stop, the Oscars? Not bad for a Greek boy who wanted to make commercials.

Perhaps it’s time to reconsider and give The Favourite a chance.

 

All photos from Google

The joyfulness of Joan Mirò

I finally managed to make it to the Mirò exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, just before it closed. Mirò was far from being my favorite artist, but these retrospectives always contain a number of treasures, and I was not to be disappointed. Although there are always too many people in blockbuster shows, they also feature paintings from private collections or faraway museums, which you would never get the chance to see otherwise.

 

 

Joan Miró i Ferrà was a Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist. He was born in 1893 in Barcelona, the son of a silversmith and watchmaker.

 

 

He began drawing classes when he was 7, and at 20 he moved to Paris and joined the art community in Montparnasse. Below is a surprisingly monochrome but strangely alluring painting.

 

 

Mirò is considered a pioneer of surrealism. He tried to portray the subconscious mind, to recreate the child-like and also subvert what he saw as the art of a bourgeois society. He loved color and used it in unexpected combinations.

 

 

During the German occupation Mirò fled to Spain, and between 1940-1941 he created the 23 gouache series Constellations, on of which you can see below. They are small, delicate compositions, and gain nothing through my phone photos.

 

 

Mirò was always testing out new territory, and experimented with all available mediums, trying his hand at collage, sculpture, and even tapestry. He kept working until late in life, creating amazing large-scale works in his 80s—including a tapestry for the World Trade Center, which was lost in the September 11 attack.

Below is a detail from one of his sculptures, in which one can see his irreverent and playful spirit.

 

 

I came away with a new-found appreciation of his work, being especially drawn to his joie de vivre and explosion of color.

 

Cool Lime Time

A new way to get around Athens. I’ve not tried it personally yet, but I love scooting, so…

ATHENS LIVING DIARIES

Sometimes navigating the streets of Athens can be a bit like a scary video game. Potholes, trees, badly parked cars, aggressive drivers and slippery sidewalks all seemingly ‘out to get you’ can make it a bit of a nightmare for the uninitiated.

Since late January, there’s a cool new way to get around town that might provide the eco friendly, gentle way to play the around Athens survival game! Lime electric scooters are popping up everywhere and offer a hop on, hop off alternative form of transport through the busy streets.

They are easy to find and easy to use. Download the Lima app and GPS tracking will help you find the nearest free scooter. Scan the barcode on the scooter and then ride away for just one euro and 0.15 cents a minute. Drop off the scooter anywhere when you are finished, what could be simpler?

It’s great to…

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Snow day in Athens

Kids preparing to return to class after the holidays were delighted to find out that schools would remain closed today, due to a rare snowstorm descending upon Greece.

 

Photo credit: greekreporter

The Parthenon was dusted with white

Credit Anna Koenig

As were city streets and cars

Credit Anna Koenig

Tomorrow it is likely there will be bright sunshine (although at the moment the forecast is for rain).

But for a few hours, children along with plenty of adults are enjoying a rare change in their routine.