CULTURE

An illustrated reference book on Greek art

One of the most ambitious projects of the prestigious Melissa Greek publishing house has involved the documentation of all Greek artists in a four-volume dictionary, which involved more than a decade’s worth of research and was completed in 1999. This comprehensive and vital reference work, in a field where bibliographies are scarce, was published in Greek only, and served as the basis for Melissa’s English-language publication «Contemporary Greek Artists,» to be released soon. Not as all-encompassing as the Greek reference book, this is its heavily illustrated, single-volume version which includes 188 entries and focuses on contemporary, living Greek artists. Art historians Eugenios Mathiopoulos (a professor at the University of Crete) and Katerina Koskina selected the artists to be included while art historian Elena Hamalidi edited the texts, often changing the original entries to allow better reference for English speakers and to update the information already available with additional bibliography and more recent work by each artist. Some entries have been completely rewritten while others were slightly adapted from their original version in the larger Greek dictionary to fit the concept of this new publication. Tony Moser was the translator and Katerina Logotheti, Annie Correal and Michalis Elefteriou were the copy editors. «Contemporary Greek Artists» helps acquaint the non-Greek-speaking public with contemporary art in Greece, while giving Greek art more international exposure. One of the difficulties in producing this book was, according to Hamalidi, translating concepts and terminology originally in Greek into flowing English. Another difficulty was tracking down additional material, mostly photographs and bibliography, in order to update the entries. Melissa’s extensive archive, built up through years of research, was vital in that respect. Other problems inherent in a reference book (the choice of entries and content balance) had fortunately been resolved during the making of the Greek dictionary. Melissa has used this experience to further its aim of documenting Greek art, this time for an English-speaking public.