CULTURE

The power of ‘Greek White’

Defining Greek style in the 21st century – now there’s a challenge. Do you reckon it’s all about sandy beaches, Greek dancing and flowing retsina? Think again. Increasingly concerned with the way the rest of the world perceives this country today, Greeks are making a fresh, aesthetic point. Published by Imagenation Editions, «Greek White» (a bilingual edition in Greek and English) showcases the photographic labor of Giorgos Kordakis, offering a stylish point of view on architectural interiors and exteriors as well as the art of living in a country which is coming of age in a global environment. Born in Athens in 1973, Kordakis studied car styling in Turin, Italy as well as media management in London. Working as a freelance photographer since 1999, his work has appeared in publications such as Conde Nast Traveler and Elle Deco. Kordakis’s first venture into publishing, «Moments in Greece,» came out in 2001. In the foreword of «Greek White,» journalist/architect Memos Phillipidis defines the book’s essence as «a search for an original dialogue between new and old, beyond the picturesque and beyond folklore,» while journalist Nikos Vatopoulos, author of the publication’s text, asks readers the defining question: «What did you think of Greece?» For Kordakis the answer is: so many different things and moments, all going beyond the beauty of longstanding monuments, the breathtaking (and well-recorded) views of Santorini’s caldera and the seemingly infinite Aegean blue. Among others, the photographer’s lens focuses on a detail in decoration in a city apartment, a face, a shadow, a striking interior in Paros and a striking exterior in Myconos, a hotel in Santorini, a hip restaurant in central Athens, and a landmark patisserie in the suburbs – all intrinsically linked through the «philosophy of white.» Besides being a traditionally «Greek» color, for Kordakis, white takes on an extra dimension – it becomes a canvas from which the rest of the color palette can develop in a variety of ways. «Since it is new, this novel face of Greece is not always visible at first sight, but you will feel its presence even in the bustling city, in urban clearings, in facades, on balconies, in hotel and restaurant interiors, in shops and even in the faces of young people,» writes Vatopoulos. A lavish production, «Greek White» marks a positive step on the road to stylistic and aesthetic emancipation. There is room for improvement in the language department, however. While the Greek text flows effortlessly – acting as an informative companion to the visual material – its translation into English would have benefited from more attentive editing and proofreading.