One could argue that Vlassis Kaniaris?s entire oeuvre, and life, was at odds with the official version of history. Clad in their signature tattered clothing, the artist?s familiar figures traveled the world, appearing in museums and galleries, expressing their creator?s need for dialogue.
Kaniaris died on March 3 at the age of 83. Born in Athens in 1928, he had spent five years studying medicine before dedicating his efforts to art. From 1950 to 1955 he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts and subsequently collaborated with Yannis Tsarouchis on various set design projects, including director Michael Cacoyannis?s 1955 film ?Stella.? In the 1960s, Kaniaris lived in Rome and then in Paris, taking in both cities? visual arts movements, before returning to Greece in 1967 — not a good time as it turned out. He was off again two years later, but not before presenting a controversial exhibition featuring works made of plaster and carnations. Outside of Greece, once again, he dedicated his work to migration issues, before returning to Athens in 1976, as an appointed professor at the National Technical University of Athens.
A major retrospective exhibition carried out by the Benaki Museum three years ago gave visitors a glimpse of Kaniaris?s world. ?What I?m interested in is a dialogue with daily life,? he had said in an interview with Kathimerini, at the time of the Benaki show. The dialogue will continue through his unconventional works.