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.

Interview – Artforum Culture Foundation

Interview with members of the Board of Trustees

Question: Which assignments does Artforum Culture Foundation (abbreviation ACF) fulfil?
Apostolidou: ACF is a foundation which runs cultural activities. The main running projects are, for instance, our NETWORK+ Project and our idea of a European Cultural Centre (ECC) in Thessaloniki. The latest example an single artistic idea is the initiation of the project Sancto Subito with which we would like to perform a contribution to the actual discussion about the system of ethical values.

Question: Contemporary art plays a leading role at ACF. What is the policy of ACF concerning international change exhibitions and itinerant exhibitions, which ACF shows in its spaces or sends somewhere else?
Apostolidou: ACF wants to promote the cultural dialogue and the artistic exchange in the conviction, that this is conducive to the reciprocal understanding and the tolerance between the nations. Concerning the role of ACF, it consists in promoting cultural variety and knowledge about the art as well as in announcing significant art in Greece and from Greece.

Question: What are the main focuses of ACF?
Apostolidou: The name of the foundation itself formulates already the responsibility to be involved for cultural interests. This contains at first all areas of culture, all parts of the arts and extraordinary expression forms of social life. We are open for all areas of culture and try to link up existing activities to allow new views. Indeed, because of personal interest and for strategically reasons, nevertheless a special focus lies on the mediation of fine art. Our assignments can be controlled and forced better over this line. Literature readings, music, dance and theatre complement our program. Furthermore we are willing to  co-operate for cultural activities of local authority districts and companies. We like to be in contact with galleries and collectors. With pleasure we exert ourselves for the objective interests of artists. This approach is especially suitable to link cultural, social and intellectual interests.

Question: Which is the practical use that do you see subsequently of such synergy effects?
Safiriou: L'art pour l'art is absolutely necessary, because mind and soul want to be able to relax. This should be immanent, in any case, of every art. However, in addition, we see art as a practical instrument of philosophy, to give sense (!) to our life. We have to imagine, that art is the only area in which science can be freely run. We are interesting in artistic research as contributions to individual psychology, to ethics and to utopia. An architecture as a living space, e.g.,  and the integration in town planning and landscape planning,  is nowadays an area where is highest state of emergency and where totally thinking and working is absolutely necessary.

Question: ACF disposes of relatively big exhibition floor spaces and more attached space. For what needs ACF has to be so self-sufficiently?
Apostolidou: It is one of the aims of ACF to led artists real, virtual and spiritual space where they can show their artwork and where it can be valued according to her own aesthetics without having to pretend. This was and is one more one of the main functions of the exhibition hall and the other spaces.

Question: How is the financial position of ACF?
Apostolidou: ACF is a non-profit private foundation. This means, our work is not profit-oriented, possible profits are used exclusively for foundation purposes. ACF undertakes all activities from the own strength and therefore private and public sponsorship is necessary and very welcomed. A municipal or state sponsorship or participation does not exist at all till today. For this reason ACF is independent and we are free in our decisions. Nevertheless, a support from the European Community would make sense and would become very helpfully to fulfil our pan-european and international targets.

Question: Which special performances does ACF offer additional to the art and cultural program?
Apostolidou: ACF publishes own publications, books, catalogues and posters. Additional and in co-operation ArtForum Edition publishes graphics and multiples of selected artists. ACF has a library system for research purposes at the seat of the foundation, as well as at the contact offices. ACF is a partner for private and institutional collectors to whom we can give assistance in collaboration with specialists in questions of the art market, for conservation, technical analysis, art historical problems and authenticity. As a partner of artists we consult objectively further approach and we coordinate documentation and inventory. We can also be responsible for treatment, care, publication and utilisation of art estates of antiquities up to contemporary art.
ACF also maintains good relations with Greek publishing companies and can arrange contacts for writers. In the same way ACF is a partner for foreign music and theatre ensembles coming to Greece and the neighbour countries. An area for which we like to do more in the very future will be cinematography.

Question: How do you see the situation of Greek literature today?
Apostolidou: There are great Greek authors, prominent lyricists. However, the young authors have fewer chances outside Greece. This has possibly to do with narrative forms, which are not simply, can be mediated to most of the audience. On the other hand, the phenomenon has to be ascertained, for Italy e.g. the Melanese publisher Inge Feltrinelli have pointed out, that the origin of the authors is not of big importance. Attributes like "German" and "Italian" or "Greek" and "English" really do not exist anymore in today's literature. Last but not least, personality is necessary for success, but however, indeed, there are cultural differences also in the reception.

Question: Does sport not replace increasingly the role from art and culture in the favour of the people?
Apostolidou: First of all, sport is an essential part of the culture and, secondly,  artists deal for a long time in an analytic way with this phenomenon. In this sense sport activities of course also belong to our assignment. The Greeks are keen on sport, they have create  sport as a cultural thing. The resumption of the Olympic games in 1896 was financed to a third part from the private pockets of the people, which were not quite rich.
A great support came also from wealthy people of the Greek community, living in  Alexandria, Egypt. It is to be seen with joy how Greece and the Greeks have shown their  capacity and organisation talent with the Olympic Games in 2004 and the football European championship as well. This has delivered an important contribution to the cultural self-confidence of Greeks today all over the world. Nevertheless, it is a pity that, although the international Olympic committee designate the environmental care as columns of the Olympic ideas, the responsible managers have done only very little for this.

Question: Did it belong to the concept from the beginning of ACF to include also art in the program from neighbour-countries and international art beside the focus on contemporary art from Greece? On which considerations this decision is based?
Safiriou:In my opinion the cultural bottom is especially fertile in these regions which dispose of a great heritage  and which has been offside for longer time because of political and economic reasons. This is in culture not more differently than in agriculture. However, it requires special care.

Question: Which politic-cultural aims do you pursue and how do you see the possibilities of ACF?
Safiriou: There will be no lasting peace, as long as mistrust remains the prevailing and everything edging out norm. Cultural ignorance is the mostly incriminating factor which sows mistrust between us and which can lead to war. The increasing efforts towards a cleaner and greener planet lead to nothing,  if we will destroy at the same time the human achievements which are contemptuous foreign to us. It is not enough giving disaster relief and economic support to the people, but to refuse her aesthetic needs, however, only because these are different from our needs.

pm I a + s