29.06 - 28.09 2008
Museum of Contemporary Art, Andros
In the summer of 2008, Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation presented a tribute dedicated to the celebrated Greek painter Yannis Moralis (1916-2009).
The exhibition featured oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, selected by the artist himself and belonged to public and private collections. The structure of the exhibition was following a retrospective approach. It was aiming to offer visitors the opportunity to trace the course of a work that is impressive in terms of plasticity and density of meaning; a work that developed from what was an idiosyncratic version of post-impressionistic realism – with an emphasis on portraiture – to abstraction governed by a geometric logic that would acquire momentum over time.
The tribute offered an overview of Y. Moralis’ creative activity, which has yielded an intensely eloquent visual work, stretching over a long period of time and constituting a major chapter in the historiography not only of Greek but also of international art. And this because, though true to his Mediterranean sensibility, Y. Moralis constantly referred to the humanist tradition that was at the heart of his schooling and managed to transcend, through his art, the boundaries of his own place. His proposals are a synthesis of old and new, at the same time as they dynamically open themselves to the groundbreaking developments occurring within the seminal art movement of Modernism.
His visual language established him as one of the leading masters of our contemporary iconographic culture, as it apparently responded first and foremost to demands raised by his own sense of creative time.
And yet, despite the immeasurable value of his work in painting, despite all that he generously offered as friend and instructor to many of our acclaimed contemporary Greek painters, despite his crucial contribution in revitalizing the painting of his time, Y. Moralis has always been a modest man.
With equal modesty the exhibition in Andros tried to provide the opportunity for a renewed reading of his work, revealing the virtues that have rightfully established him as one of the classics of both the previous and current century.
The exhibition was accompanied by a scholarly edition featuring all exhibited works. Its character is that of a reference work, since apart from biographical and bibliographical information and data about the artist’s exhibition history, it includes descriptions by the painter himself of the specific circumstances in which each of the works was created.
The exhibition was curated by Mr. Kyriakos Koutsomallis, with the assistance of Margarita Kataga and the invaluable contribution of Peggy and Daphne Zoumboulakis and of Mr. Nikos Paisios, who proposed and transcribed the recordings of the artist’s narrations.
Works from the exhibition
[…] Y. Moralis on Saturday noon was cheerful at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation. He was surrounded by his works, a lifetime’s creation. He was in high spirits and at the same time – he even stated so – moved. Almost after half a century he was once again found in the Chora of Andros recalling his youth and the historical company of Moralis-Nikolaou-Elytis-Karagatsis. Most important though, is the fact that after several years he was facing works that he had “lost” since they belong to public and private collections […].
[…] The tribute begins with Moralis’ early post-impressionistic pursuits to conclude with his distinctive abstractions […] which create a personal iconographic universe, always focusing on the human, most particularly the youthful female form. An exhibition-pilgrimage […].
[…] The biggest advantage of this year’s exhibition is the fact that the selection of works has been done by the artist himself, who decided how to draw light on his choices, his dilemmas, his development. His narrative is through 48 oil paintings and 70 drawings. Not through words, but through his personal visual poetry […].
[…] A homage to one of our most significant painters Yannis Moralis who loved and painted youth – and who continues to love and paint […].
[…] The “small” retrospective exhibition of Y. Moralis at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Andros will leave behind the impression of big painting, the course of an artistic thought that was fortunate enough to reach completion. But also a catalogue with its pages full of well-printed images of the robust paintings of Moralis, of comments, information and texts that enlighten, reveal and creatively project to the viewer each and every work […].
[…] The resulting presentation offers the viewer the opportunity to approach the great master’s work in retrospect, covering a long period of intense and comprehensive presence in the domain of the visual arts, where Moralis was established as an avant-garde artist, as well as a very particular person […].
[…] With abstract simplicity, color gentleness and rhythmic clarity, he painted his personal universe, where the female figure dominates, not as a painting appearance, but as an allusion of the quest for essence, of its internal psycho-emotional entity […].
[…] The plasticity, the conceptual density, the abstraction, all the main characteristics of his art and technique are visible and the viewer has the opportunity to see how the works of different periods developed […].
[…] The retrospective of Y. Moralis at the Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basil & Elise Goulandris Foundation is probably the most comprehensive and substantial we have seen in the last years […].