Located in the city’s geographical and commercial centre, on bustling Istiklal Caddesi (or Istiklal Avenue, the old Grande Rue de Pera), the Sismanoglio Megaro of the Consulate General of Greece in Istanbul hosts exhibitions on artistic and current themes. The exhibitions attract more than 25,000 visitors annually. It has been operating as a Greek language school for the past two years. It is attended today by about 400 students.
The works in the exhibition portray contemporary Greek representational painting. Works by six significant artists are presented with the aim of promoting the image of representational painting as it has evolved in Greece in recent decades. Most of these works were exhibited at the Benaki Museum in Athens in November 2009.
These works also show how each artist has evolved and their selection bears the seal of the collector’s personal choice. The co-existence of these different voices in a single exhibition venue is based on shared features. There are pictorial elements in the exhibition that are common to all; the reading of each artist’s works can provide a clear picture of the contemporary painting creation in Greece.
The orientation initially chosen by Sotiris Felios was in the direction of Greek representational painting as it was evolving in the late 1980s, with works in which the human-centered nature is emphasized. The artwork were painted in a realistic style with many features in common. The first work in his collection was the Carp painted by Christos Bokoros in 1990. The human centered nature of his early choices was destined to determine future ones as well; perhaps because he was becoming familiar with the subject matter, but certainly also because his own personal criteria determined his subsequent choices and in the end, the personality of his collection.
The paintings, which constitute the central core of the Sotiris Felios Collection, have many elements in common, that are associated with the collector’s preferences but that also testify to viewpoints shared by these six artists. Their insistence on pure painting and above all, the importance they all attach to personal observation of the world seen through diverse apperceptions, articulating a lucid artistic statement every time. The works are absolutely interwoven with each one’s differences.
The first works seen as one enters the exhibition venue are paintings by Yannis Moralis and Chronis Botsoglou. Moralis – beyond the brilliance of his personality and his painting – redrew the human figure in a spare, geometric way. Botsoglou seeks to ensure that his intense feeling is clearly registered on all levels of his creation, attitude and action. The works of Yannis Moralis in the Felios Collection are paintings from the period between 1994 and 2004, together with a number of drawings from his student years and preliminary colour sketches for large-scale compositions. Moralis’ paintings reveal intellectual work and creativity, functioning as magnets, which is why the work Erotico (2002) was chosen for this exhibition. The monumental cycle of works titled: “A Personal Nekyia by Chronis Botsoglou” (1993-2000) constitutes an integrated personal and poetic look at “Reminiscence and the Place”. The painting: “A Personal Nekyia No. 15” belongs to this cycle.
The works of these six artists who make up the basic core of the exhibition have been painted over the past 25 years and trace the artist’s different but related courses with considerable clarity. The aim of the exhibition is mainly to disclose the relationships between them; their common treatment of the world, the power of their regard, their struggle with the medium, the consistency of their subject matter, even though their viewpoints have changed over time and above all their respect for painting.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a bilingual catalogue in both Greek and Turkish and a catalogue in English, with texts by the artists Yannis Moralis, Chronis Botsoglou, Stephanos Daskalakis, Tassos Mantzavinos, Christos Bokoros, Kostas Papanikolaou, Giorgos Rorris and Edouard Sacaillan. The catalogue is enriched with texts by Marina Lambraki-Plaka, Theodoros Pangalos, Sotiris Felios, Ayşegül Sonmez, Angeliki Kottaridi, Apostolos S. Georgiadis, Vassilis Vassilikos, Giorgos Veltsos and Vasileios Bornovas.
It will be open to the public from the 2nd of November until the 12th of December 2010.