CULTURE

Greek art in London showcase

For many art collectors, there comes a time when they wish to make their collection public. George N. Stathopoulos, a former international lawyer, began collecting art around 35 years ago. Yet, instead of organizing an exhibition of his own collection, he became interested in giving Greek art – particularly Greek representational painting – international exposure. Around four years ago he took upon himself the task of «exporting» Greek art to cultural venues and art galleries and bringing it to the attention of an international audience. The group exhibition which opened yesterday at London’s Belgravia Gallery is the first European outing of Greek painting that Stathopoulos has organized. The exhibition will include paintings by 12 Greek painters (Daphne Aggelidou, Stefanos Daskalakis, Kostis Georgiou, Irini Iliopoulou, Manolis Zacharioudakis, Chrysa Vergi, Manolis Charos, Maria Filopoulou, Giorgos Golfinos, Erietta Vordoni, Pavlos Samios and Alexis Veroucas) who are brought together in the show because of the commitment they share in representational, figurative painting. Enthusiastic about the prospects of the event, Stathopoulos expects to attract an elite crowd, including London-based Greeks. The London event is the third successive international exhibition of contemporary, Greek representational painting. The first was held in 2004 at the Absolute Americana Gallery in St Augustine, Florida, and was reviewed at Art News. «Reflections from Greece» was subsequently held two years later at the Grand Gallery of the National Arts Club in Manhattan, with the backing of the J. F. Costopoulos Foundation. All exhibitions have focused on the work of a group of painters who emerged on the Greek art scene in the 1980s and 90s. Although not tied together in the group, the oldest ones were identified as the «new, representational painters» and their work established a movement of representational painting in Greece. In the local art market, it is a commercially successful style of painting with ardent followers in the art world. George N. Stathopoulos is one of them. Operating as a sort of «ambassador» of Greek painting abroad, he says nevertheless that he does not want to turn his love for art into a profession. But he does want to work in a systematic way and to slowly open a new, international route for Greek art, not just organize one-off successful exhibitions. Aided by his international contacts (he has spent many years of his life and studied in the US), Stathopoulos is busy networking and making contacts with the ambition of taking Greek art beyond its borders. The London exhibition is one step in that direction. «Greek Art Today,» at the Belgravia Gallery (45 Albemarle Street, Mayfair, tel 020.7495.1010, www. belgraviagallery. com), to May 31.