FAMOUS GREEK ARTISTS
Most famous Greek artists of the 20th century abroad are among others:
Stylianos Antonakos, Peter Voulkos, Steve Giannakos, Christos Giannakos, Nassos Daphnis, Electros (B.Vekris), Aristodemos Kaldis, Yannis Kounelis, George Constant, Michalis Lekakis, Constantinos Manos, Jenny Marketou, Jim Molfesis, William Baziotis, Linda Benglis, Eleni Milona, Nikos (Kessanlis), Jean Xceron, Lucas Samaras, Theodoros Stamos, Philip Tsiaras, Constanin Parthenis, Konstantinos Maleas, Michalis Economou, Yannis Spyropoulos, Nikolas Ghika, Diamantis Diamdopoulos, Yannis Tsarouchis, Spyros Papaloukas, Yannis Moralis, Tsingos, Nikolas Gyzis, Giannis Gaitis, Dimitris Mytaras, Nikos Engonopoulos, Markos Hatzipateras, Dimitris Hatzis, Theo Hios, Alekos Fasianos, Alexis Akrithakis, Chryssa (Vardea), Theodoros (Papadimitriou), Yiorgos Zongolopoulos.
Furthermore important contemporary artists in Greece are: Manolis Polymeris, Costis, Vangelis Pliaridis, Panagiotis Tanimanidis, Yannis Fokas, Yannis Lassithiotakis, Mihalis Manoussakis, Stanislav Marijanovic, Opy Zouni, Slovodanka Stupar.
Culture is connected inseparable with history and is able to connect people. There is a need of knowledge of the past, as well as of the exact current situation, and we certainly need, most of all, to grope what is coming. Purely from a practical point of view, the Artforum Culture Foundation of Thessaloniki give birth and a harbour to individual and competent artists, as well as from Greece or from abroad, which like to co-operate for the same aims of humanistic culture. To reach this never ending targets, the Foundation is an open and serious partner to communities, museums, culture organisations and innovative galleries in all parts of the world.
Greece is an entity and at the same time a constantly evolving process. There is no doubt that the contributions to art, architecture and science and first of all the philosophical and political thoughts serve as the foundation of modern Western civilisation. But it is up for discussion, what can be the contemporary contribution of the Hellenic culture and of the whole influenced area with its own remarkable cultures.
Contemporary Greek art is owing to a variety of complex historical, political and social conditions, which directly influenced and conditioned the evolution of creative activity in the visual arts and in general its cultural development. It shows a discontinuous broken line and mute presence, while at the same time presenting original, noteworthy and occasionally pioneering in the vanguard, new approaches in visual arts. During the long period of civil war (1945-49) after World War II, continual political upheavals (1950-67), and dictatorial control (1967-74), were like ruptures with the past, attributable to an insufficiency or deficiency of culture and a stifling sense of isolation and enclosure, dogmatism, and the prejudices inherited from a traditional "academicism".
The fall of the junta (1974) created an atmosphere of the communication and the international interaction which remained not without influence on the visual arts.
One of the main features of the contemporary artistic scene in Greece since 1980 has been the return of a large number of artists from abroad, where they had sought refuge for economic, political and cultural reasons.
During the last three decades the cultural landscape, on the basis of reawakened public consciousness and under the impulse of strong creative forces, has been in a state of constant and dynamic transformation in many regions worldwide. Dependent from a free and optimal climate in New York, Cologne (partner-community of Thessaloniki), Sao Paulo and London for instance, individual artists, experts and collectors could create phases of highly cultural impute. There is just forgotten, that the power of Greek culture is still in the venues of the Greek people, that the lust for philosophical dispute, aesthetics, art, literature and music has never ends. But this is not a national situation, it is a cultural phenomena. In a progressing Europe we have to think about cultural roots. The workshops in Athens of Nikos Kessanlis, Giorgos Lappas and Rena Papaspyrou at the Athens School of Fine Arts, or the class of plastic arts at the School of Architecture (N.T.U.A.) of Theodoros (Papadimitriou) and the workshops of Teta Makri and Yiannis Fokas at the School of Applied Arts in Thessaloniki, founded in 1985, were to make a dynamic contribution to forcing the development of contemporary art in Greece.
Their aesthetic initiatives are characterised very often by features rooted in the approaches to contemporary culture (contemporary history, social issues, politics), the multi-dimensional analysis of the concept of memory (social, personal, psychological, anthropological), associated with the spirit of cosmopolitanism and an international interpretation of identity which transcends the bounds of individual nationality, and in the approach to and understanding of the modes of transformation of a fragmented present.
Some of their works combining photography, installations, painting, new media, functions as a system of knowledge of memory and mythology, related to different disciplines like psychoanalysis, literature, feminist theory, cinema, music, theatre and philosophy. Based on this theoretic construction, there is no border in presentation ideas. Culture is the playground on which creation can grow up.
It is thus the younger generation of artists, which began to take shape around the year 1990 who are forming the image of contemporary art in Greece. And it is this generation, which is called on to transcend the boundaries of a cultural policy imprisoned in the ideas and prejudices of the past.
Modern creation in Greece deals with stimuli and expresses itself through a language certainly common all over the world. Information, the media, new technologies, the Internet have acted as catalysts on the work of artists in the last ten years. What is more the issue of globalisation and, mainly, the painful consequences, which have resulted from the post-communist society, have inescapably affected artists who live in the sensitive Mediterranean zone.