Two shows put art of comics at the heart of urban culture

Comics in Greece is no longer the confined genre it used to be. The art nowadays stretches beyond the limits of a once youth-oriented subculture and have become an integral part of contemporary urban culture, as manifested by many of its channels, including graffiti and hip-hop music. A walk around town is more than likely to bring home this development. And it is not just on the walls around us, but in exhibitions too. A show titled «Street Art in Athens, Vol. 1,» featuring the work of Dimitris Theodosis, which has just opened at the capital’s FNAC outlet at The Mall in Maroussi (Nerantziotissa, tel 210.630.5555), northern Athens, comes as the latest example of the rise of comics. The exhibition features photographs of various street-art scenes around Athens as captured by Theodosis’s camera during walks around town. A total of 27 photographs as well as accompanying texts by Panayiotis Menegou are on display. Another similar-minded exhibition, «Comics of Spain’s Post-Dictatorship Years: 1975-2005,» organized by the Cervantes Institute and held at the American-Hellenic Arts Center in Halandri (53 Garittou, tel 210.639.3341), opened last week. It runs through December 20. In putting it together, the Cervantes Institute joined forces with major Spanish and Belgian publishers involved in comics and linked with some of the field’s most renowned artists. The exhibition covers two periods, the early post-dictatorship years of 1975 to 1982, and the years of development and crisis, between 1982 and 2005. A significant part of modern Spanish history is depicted through the exhibition’s comics, covering the Mediterranean country’s history from the death of General Francisco Franco in 1975 to the present. A Greek equivalent based on the country’s own civil war and military dictatorship would make an interesting initiative. The right time for a project of this nature may well have arrived.