CULTURE

A few treats for art lovers on vacation

For the past few years, and especially after the Olympics, Athens during the summer months is a city filled with interesting art exhibitions. This is despite the fact that most galleries are closed and do not reopen until mid September. The sprawling outdoor exhibition of contemporary art organized by the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the double exhibition on Marino Marini and on masterpieces of Greek sculpture in the National Gallery’s Sculpture Gallery (or Glyptotheque) or the treasures from the Tang Dynasty at the Byzantine and Christian Museum are examples of a lively, urban visual arts summer. However, the summer visual arts scene has long been associated with the art exhibitions held on the Greek islands, with Andros leading the way thanks to the Basil and Elise Goulandris Museum of Contemporary Art (seascapes by Panayiotis Tetsis comprise this year’s exhibition). One of the most interesting visual arts events held outside Athens this summer is the «The Code of the Street.» an exhibition on the work of Constantin Xenakis which is open for a few more days at the Municipal Museum of Modern Greek Art in Rhodes. The exhibition, which was jointly organized with the French Institute in Athens, focuses on a body of work whose concept dates to the early 1970s. Back then, Xenakis began probing semiotics and the function of languages or signs as codes and means of communication. The artist’s exposure to diverse cultures (he was born in Cairo but has lived most of his life in France and also spent many years living in Berlin as well as around the world) was one of the reasons that led him to look into linguistics. In the mid-60s he began working with photokinetic art and environments and several years later he turned his attention to language. He began painting geometric compositions which resembled a microcosm of different scripts and combined the shapes and letters of Egyptian hieroglyphics, the Phoenician, Greek or Arab alphabets together with other codes taken from the worlds of technology, science and mathematics. Heavily influenced by linguistics, Xenakis used language and text as an image or object and played with the notion of the signifier and the signified. «The Code of the Street» includes mostly works from the 70s but also presents the design that Xenakis made for two vans that provide services to the disabled in Thessaloniki. (To July 29; for information, tel 22410 43780-2.) ‘Mythologies of the Ephemeral’ On the island of Andros, the Petros and Marina Kydoniefs Foundation is hosting «Mythologies of the Ephemeral» a joint exhibition on the work of the painters Christos Caras and Dimitris Mytaras. Curated by Athena Schina, the exhibition presents the work of the two artists together for the first time in Greece. Both artists belong to the same generation and share some common stylistic traits in their work. They consider line and drawing to be important and have painted compositions that feature distorted figures against a flat background. A surrealistic streak runs through the work of Caras but elements of expressionism are more prevalent in the paintings of Mytaras. A former rector at the Athens School of Fine Arts, where he has also taught for years, Mytaras has painted several series of paintings on specific themes: «Shells» from 1998 and «Wild Dogs» from 2001 are examples included in the exhibition. To September 30; for information, tel 22820.24598.) The most typical summer exhibitions put together the works of several artists on a given theme. The Marina Keas Gallery in the area of Vourkari in Kea hosts works by 11 contemporary Greek painters (Yiannis Adamakis, Alexis Veroukas, Stefanos Daskalakis, Irini Iliopoulou, Aphrodite Liti, Christina Morali, Costas Papanikolaou, Anna-Maria Tsakali, Maria Philopoulou, Giorgos Hadoulis and Manolis Haros). The exhibition is curated by Iris Critikou and the works are inspired by the summer landscape and the island of Kea. (To August 26; for information, tel 22880.21902.) On the island of Hydra, artist Dimitris Antonitsis, in collaboration with Dimie Athanassopoulou, is curating for the seventh consecutive year yet one more exhibition on the cutting edge of international, contemporary art scene. Held at the island’s former high school and the Bratsera Hotel, «Post ER» addresses the mental state that follows an emergency situation. (To September 17.) Another interesting exhibition is being held at the Bazaiou Castle on Naxos. Organized by the Benaki Museum in collaboration with the Aeon cultural organization, «Tokens of Worship» presents votive offerings from the Benaki Museum’s collections and photos of votive pieces from the archive of photographer Maria Houlaki. It includes a contemporary art section on votive-inspired works by Dimitris Talaganis as well as a documentary film by Panos Karkanevatos. (To September 3; for information, tel 210.367.1000.)