Stunning ‘Clepsydra’

Angelos Mendis was the big surprise of the opening ceremony of the Games. We already knew him as a top-notch makeup artist whose work has made a significant contribution over the years to collaborations with many stage directors and choreographers. Papaioannou, knowing Mendis’s potential as an artist, commissioned him to create a part of the opening ceremony, one of the most significant and most difficult to realize: «Clepsydra,» that «river of history,» the procession that had us rooted in our seats as it gave us wonderful images of the highest points of Greek history through the eyes of Greek art. Mendis’s work solved an exceptionally difficult dilemma: How to present completely faithful, but also animated, now-cliched images representing the course of Hellenism, without making it kitsch. The art, poetry and sensitive approach applied by Mendis and his associates transformed the risky «Clepsydra» into the highlight of the opening ceremony and it remains a lasting memory of the Athens Olympics.