André Masson and Ancient Greece
01.07 - 30.09 2007
Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros
André Masson and Ancient Greece
In the summer of 2007, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation hosted an exhibition – tribute to the great French artist of the 20th century André Masson (1896-1987).
The multi-faceted artistic oeuvre of Masson has contributed to a great extent to the evolution of the visual arts of the previous century. The artist was identified with the progression of the surrealist movement, a movement with which he collaborated at different stages of his life. The retrospective to the painterly space and time of Masson was approached and examined through the widely appreciated theme of Ancient Greece’s history and mythology.
The wider artistic creation of Masson’s oeuvre can be interpreted as a spherical study of the human existence. Taking as a starting point the theories of Heraclitus – as far as the motion of man and the universe is concerned – Masson examined the development of man through his anxieties for his future and through his relation to nature. The ancient legends, the tragedy, the Dionysian cult and adoration and the primordial, universal myths of the Greek antiquity formed the sources of inspiration for Masson and proved critical in the formation of his widely significant artistic spirit.
The exhibition "André Masson and Ancient Greece" was focused on the theme of the metamorphosis of man’s nature. It presented the dimension that was given, by ancient Greek history and philosophy, to the equilibrium between the ‘rational’ and the ‘sentimental’. Some of the most important paintings and drawings of Masson, representing themes from ancient Greek mythology, such as the myth of the Minotaure, Ariadne, Daedalus and Icarus and the labours of Hercules, were included in this exhibition.
It should be noted that retrospective exhibitions on André Masson have been organized in some of the most important museums in Europe and the United States of America, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Grand Palais in Paris and more. Museums of an international range such as the Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Pompidou in Paris together with other major public and private collections offered on loan the important works of André Masson for the realization of such a retrospective of great importance.
[…]A master of surrealism, with a-political attitude, a true romantic in life and in art, André Masson is “hosted” this summer at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros.
[…] The myths of Ancient Greece offered to Masson a true depository of knowledge. They provided him the inspiration and the challenge to re-negotiate in a personal manner the primordial issues of life, love and death. The primitive myths of the Minotaure, Sisyphe, Oedipus, Pasiphae, the Amazons and the Labyrinth form the core of his mythological references. […]
[…] A new approach to the Greek civilization and to the mystifying and dionysiac space of mythology, therefore, is what is offered by the exhibition “André Masson and Ancient Greece” presented in Andros from July 1st. In the exhibition of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation the unlimited indulgence of Masson to the primordial Greek myths is what is being investigated. The Minotaurs of the artist form a burst of color and movement and the emblematic heroes of mythology redefine their substance and presence via a dionysiac tempo. […]
[…] A unique artist. A rare exhibition,. Here we see the artistic charge which expands between the greek myths of antiquity and the calligraphy of the orient. From the folk traditions of the Indians all the way to the quotidian life of man next to nature. […]
[…] The monographic exhibition, which includes 85 works of the pioneer of automatic writing, which was inaugurated on Saturday at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros, presents for the first time in Greece, works that have subverted the content of the ancient Greek myths. The paintings have made Greek myths well-timed. They have put them in creative juxtaposition with the artistic expression of the 20th century. […]
[…] The Minotaur has turned victorious; Pasiphae has offered new themes of a “sadistic’ nature. Ariane has presented herself as the perfect incarnation of the surreal heroin, the myth of which goes hand in hand with the inner psychic pursuit. The myth announces the arrival of Freudian thought since it denotes the struggle against the abyss and the loss of rational thought. Heraclite has proved for Masson to be the prophet of the universe’s motion and Empedocles appears to be praising each and every chimera that love co-unites. […]
[…] The present art is of a Nietzschean nature, yet its visual performance seems, in the end, rather literary. This is due to the fact that only a few artists have had the opportunity to succumb to the ecstatic approach of the making of form. Masson is singled out for adopting such a stance, although he is not as widely known as Miro., (…) The exhibition presents very well the personality of the artist and all the fields of his wider activity, through a carefully chosen spectrum of works and documents, that indirectly bring to the fore eclectic relations with his contemporaries in Europe (De Chirico, Matisse, Picasso),but also with Greek artists such as N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas. […]
[…] The premiere exhibition of André Masson in our country is an event of major importance, since it brings us close to a personality that has marked deeply the art of the 20th century and has become a point of reference through the ways it has examined the human nature and its anxieties. […]