Paraphrasing a known phrase from a 1990s campaign of the Greek Ministry of Culture encouraging children to let their fantasy jump and travel by becoming mentally involved with literature (“Flying… with a book”), a group of modern visual artists that maintains an Internet site (www.greekartists.info) attempts their first flights by organizing exhibitions. The initiative for the establishment of this group of painters, sculptors, printmakers, ceramists, photographers and jewelry makers belongs to the ceramist Nelly Giachanagi and who is also responsible for managing the website, which has become, literally, her very soul.
The initial theme of the first exhibition of the group is the unappreciated in the culture of faceless speed, but recently reinstated again today, bicycle, as a valuable transport medium, this legend of old days, irrevocably lost days of Greece after the end of the Second World War. Let us mention here the development of the same theme both by Alekos Fassianos in his very characteristic paintings and by Vassilis Kazakos in his color engravings. Moreover, recently, in 2011, Dionysis Papadoukakis translated in Greek the book by the French anthropologist Marc Augé Eulogy of the bicycle which has contributed to the rediscovery of the virtues of this medium that promotes meaningful interaction between people and encourages the effort for a better world.
The artists who participate in this exhibition are Gagik Altunyan, Rena Anousi-Ilia, Anthony Athanassiou, Nikos Dessekopoulos, Nelly Giachanagi, Rania Grimaldi-Koromila, Yiannis Kapsidakis, Yiannis Kolios, Grigoris Kotsaris, Michalis Kotsaris, Dimitra Koumantaki, Maria Ktistopoulou, Vasiliki Nakou-Kapsidaki, Liana Melissaratou, Syni Papagianni, Thodoros Papayannis, Mimi (Dimitra) Petropoulou-Dimitraki, Tasos Rallis, Barbara Steinhauer-Papastefanaki, Dimitrios Tsiroyiannis, Constantinos Valaes and Petros Zoumboulakis. Their works ―paintings, prints, ceramics, constructions― are moving with a wealth of imagination in a wide arc of expression that refers to the familiar, and therefore recognizable idiom of each case and, in particular: from the realistic opportunity to the surrealist vision and from the two-dimensional surface to the three-dimensional construction . Therefore it seem that they compose their own little magic story, thus, validating the so apt definition of Andreas Embirikos “Poetry is the evolvent of a shining bike” (“The braid of Altamira”, 1934-1937: Endochora, 1945).
Dimitris Pavlopoulos Assistant Professor in History of Art University of Athens