Contemporary painter observes world of sports

Sport is not a frequent subject of contemporary art but occasions such as the Olympic Games seem to encourage exhibitions on the theme and prompt some artists to participate. The large touring exhibition «Contemporary Greek Art and the Olympic Spirit,» now at its last stop in Patras, is probably this year’s largest project that attempts to draw a connection between sports and art. A solo exhibition on the work of a young French painter by the name of Nicolas Curmer, currently being held at the millefioriARTspace in Athens, is another timely show anticipating the Olympic Games. Its opening in early July also coincided with another important sports event, the 2004 European soccer championship and the victorious celebrations held all over Greece for its winning team. Soccer does not appear in Curmer’s paintings, but boxing, basketball and sumo wrestling do. A spectator of sports and a sportsman himself (at a young age, he learned judo and later became a referee and trainer in basketball), the artist has a distinct feeling for sports and also paints through observation. This is probably why he has been able to capture the movement of the athletes and something of the vibrant energy of sports. What seems to fascinate Curmer the most is the movement and shape of the human body. Many of his early paintings, for example, show the human body in movement with anatomical detail, whether in dance or in sports. Curmer has also painted other themes: He did many watercolors on Myconos, an island he has frequently visited. Some watercolors on sport also appear in the exhibition in Athens. They are the exact opposite of the heavily impasto paintings, particularly those showing sumo wrestlers. But they too show Curmer’s capacity for capturing movement. Nicolas Curmer at the millefioriARTspace (29 Haritos, Kolonaki, tel 210.723.9558), through September 11.