CULTURE

Documenting contemporary Greek artists

In an attempt to document Greek contemporary art and help promote it internationally, Melissa publications has released «Contemporary Greek Artists,» an illustrated dictionary that includes entries on the work of 188 living artists, both Greek and Cypriot. Designed in the format of an art album, this dictionary is based on the four-volume, comprehensive «Dictionary of Greek Artists» which was released by the same publishing house over a period of four years beginning in 1997. The four-volume dictionary was the outcome of nearly 20 years of research and is a pioneering project for the field of Greek publishing. Melissa, which is the second-oldest and one of most prestigious publishing houses specializing in art books, already had years of experience in the field of the visual arts. Its four-volume dictionary provided researchers in the field with a valuable tool. Instead of an English translation of the four-volume dictionary, Melissa decided to issue an abridged version focusing only on contemporary artists. Of the roughly 5,000 contemporary artists included in the original dictionary, art historian Katerina Koskina and assistant professor of art history Evgenios Matthiopoulos (both Melissa’s editorial consultants for this series) selected fewer than 200. The criteria used included the international exposure of these artists and the expectations placed on emerging young artists; another objective was to create a compilation that is representative of the Greek contemporary art scene. The book’s editor is art historian Elena Hamalidi. Reputable artists of the Greek diaspora – Yannis Kounellis and Lucas Samaras are examples – are also included in the book. For the foreign reader, «Contemporary Greek Artists» does indeed provide a general idea of contemporary art production in Greece. It also expresses the dynamism and growth of this field in Greece during the past decade. In a sense, the book is the outcome of this growth. «Contemporary Greek Artists» by Melissa Publishing house, at 70 euros for the hardback.