A Timeless Contemporary
03.07 - 25.09 2011
Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros
A Timeless Contemporary
In the summer of 2011, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros of the Basil and Elise Goulandris Foundation presented an exhibition dedicated to the work of renowned Greek painter Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika (1906-1994).
A major representative of what is known as “the generation of the 30s”, this “timeless contemporary” (as his close friend Odysseus Elytis would call him) became the link between the European avant-garde and Greek modernism and has rightfully earned a prominent place in Greek art history.
Originally inspired by Picasso’s and Braque’s analytical Cubism and influenced by fauvist investigations into the use of color – notably the work of Matisse – as well as the rhythm of orphic works, Ghika created his own visual universe; a language that was inseparably linked to the light and landscapes of Greece and especially Hydra, the place he held most dear.
The exhibition was a tribute to an artist that was instrumental in advancing art and thought in Greece as much through his work in painting as through his many writings. More than 100 works (71 paintings, 21 drawings and 12 sculptures) derived from various institutions and private collections, made all the more interesting by the fact that the Greek public had only rarely the chance to see them in the past, offered the visitors a view into an extremely intriguing aspect of that seminal work, though one that was not perhaps widely known.
[…] The route of art is a flight that never disappoints, on the contrary it rewards, enriches people with impressions and sentiments. It offers a wonderful view of Nature, of the landscape, of the faces that have been, the cities we have walked in […]. We do not expect much from this summer, but we will embark on the journey of the art and creation of N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika […].
The Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation in Andros reinvigorates the ‘vision’ of N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika with an exhibition tribune to the multifarious artist who imprinted the singularity of a greekness inextricably coherent with the achievements of European art. […]. N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika avoided the effortless formalism, as well as the simple populism, the narrative. The exhibition of the Goulandris Museum in Andros is an attempt to highlight the virtues of his visual universe
[…] In Ghika’s paintings the revolutionary artistic movements of Europe met with the Greek landscape and light, the modern with tradition, our visible world with our spirit. All these elements together constituted the work of N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, who is now considered to be one of the most important Greek artists with international resonance.
Τhe familiar noble beauty of the island meets the work of a creator who managed to combine in his art the Aegean landscape, the ancient myths and the impressions of his wanderings in the world of the most revolutionary artistic movements.
During times of crisis, the questioning of identity becomes a central theme for public discussion. […] Ghika wrote: ‘This is the purpose, the goal and the target for the arrows of my quiver.’ […] This bourgeois intellectual, who contributed so much to the formation of the contemporary cultural identity of Greece, can ultimately breathe new life into us.
[…] In the case of N. Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, his identity was his everlasting quest and the lack of fear in his exploration of originality.
[…] Traversing the cobbled roads of Andros I descended to the Museum and it was as if I found shade under those crazy Pine Trees – one of the smallest paintings in size, but, at the same time the most ‘vivid’ and playful. I stayed for a long time in front of his father’s emblematic portrait, I was impressed by the way Ghika diffused the austerity of Cubism into the depiction of sun-kissed Mediterranean landscapes and I admired (as everyone else did) the “Roofs”, a point of reference in his work. […]