Antiquity’s influence endures

Ancient Greek civilization may not have influenced many specific movements in 20th century art, yet Greek antiquity has inspired plenty of independent modern artists and continues to do so today. «Columns and Pillars,» which runs through the weekend at the European Cultural Center of Delphi and is curated by Takis Mavrotas, is an exhibition that explores the references contemporary artists make to Greek antiquity in their work. The focus is on contemporary Greek art but the exhibition is not culture-specific and looks into archetypes shared by artists irrespective of their nationality. Yiannis Moralis’s «Athens,» a five-panel composition consisting of symbolic depictions of the city in different periods of history, is one of the exhibition’s most emblematic works and typical of the artist’s «Doric» style. Like Moralis, Chryssa was inspired by ancient Greece as early as the late 1950s, when she produced her famous «Cycladic Books.» Her work shown at the Delphi exhibition is a bronze sculpture in the shape of an Ionic-style capital. Stephen Antonakos, who, like Chryssa, is based in New York, has produced a site-specific work made of two columns backlit by a red neon light. «Passage,» the sculpture’s title, evokes the entrance of an ancient temple and resonates with an aura of sacredness and spirituality. Yiannis Bouteas was inspired by the Oracle of Delphi for his installation of luminous cylinders that contain rolls of printed or painted images. Pillars and columns populate the paintings of Opi Zouni, an artist whose work is heavily inspired by geometry and architecture. «Columns and Pillars» includes works by artists working in different styles. From Yiannis Psychopedis’s paintings that touch on issues related to contemporary Greek society to the paintings of Alekos Fasianos that put across a certain nostalgia for old Athens, the exhibition makes the point that concepts tied to ancient Greek civilization can reach contemporary art in the most varied ways. Many of the works will remain permanently as a homage to Greek antiquity. The rest of the artists participating are: Costas Tsoklis, Pavlos, Gunther Uecker, Yannis Parmakelis, Dimitris Mytaras, Sotiris Sorongas, Novello Finotti, Patrizia Molinari and Iotoff.