Wishes depicted for the new year

As wishes for a new beginning and a happy 2005 are exchanged, an art exhibition captures the mood of the season by making us think about the meaning of wishes in our lives and their significance as expressions of hope for betterment and happiness. Art historian and curator Iris Criticou has asked each of 25 contemporary, mostly Greek artists of her choice to make a work related to wishes and, under the title «Efhologion» (a term which refers to a liturgical church book), has gathered the paintings in a group exhibition currently on show at the Ekfrasi gallery. The exhibition is filled with emotions and anticipation and resonates with human frailty. It does not contain humor but feels like a confession of deep-seated wishes. Most are wishes we all relate to: The face of a young woman painted against the background of a cafe in a work by Irini Iliopoulou suggests the anticipation of an encounter, probably between two lovers. «All Together,» the title of a painting by Antonis Statheris, showing people of different ages strolling in the open air, expresses a wish for a feeling of community and human relationships. Artist Spyros Koursaris paints a ship in the midst of a tumultuous sea. «Kalo Taxidi,» the title of the painting, expresses wishes for a good trip, presumably in the symbolic voyage of life. The same kind of symbolism is also suggested by Dimitris Katsiyiannis, who has also painted a ship, his depicted as a small dot against a pastel-colored, calm sea. Four small paintings that progress from dark colors to bright vibrant hues of red, pink and orange suggest a wish for «More Light,» which is, in fact, the title of the work by Nikolaos Klironomos. The portrait of a male figure depicted in three successive paintings, first as a young boy, an adolescent and then as an old man, expresses Nikos Moschos’s wish for longevity and to mature with grace. Most of the artists express wishes related to personal fulfillment and human relationships. Vladimir Velickovic is probably the only artist in the exhibition who makes a counter-wish and addresses the broader issue of war. His dark, ominous painting is a reminder of the wars inflicted on other people and a wish for peace. Is this the grander, more noble wish? The exhibition is an occasion to ponder our good sentiments toward others, our need for personal fulfillment and love. It resonates with an existential angle that makes it slightly melancholy yet filled with hopeful sentiments at the same time. At the Ekfrasi – Yianna Grammatopoulou gallery (9a Valaoritou, 210.360.7598) through January 8.