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May 08, 2007

Aspects of the figure, semantics of the landscape

Despite the impression given here, living in Chania isn't all about swanning around galleries and sitting in the Venetian harbour sipping coffee together.

But mostly it is, to be honest.

So last week we went to see a new exhibition on at the Municipal Gallery. It is showcasing works from the collection of Antonis and Asia Hadjioannou, and mostly features art from the last ten years or so.

Despite the unweildy title of "Aspects of the figure, semantics of the landscape", we really enjoyed it, and I thought it was probably the best collection we had seen since we arrived here last year. It was certainly much better than the rather dreary exhibition of Andreas Georgiadis which we last saw there.

20070425_exhibitionposter We weren't too impressed by the marketing though - the poster image advertising it is looks like an ill-proportioned boy in a sailor's uniform playing with a hula-hoop. It was perhaps one of the weakest paintings on display.

A few works stood out for us as exceptionally good though.

We really liked "The Terrace" by Nikos Angelides, which was a surrealist coastal scene where a roof-top swimming pool actually formed a harbour in the sea, and two works by Daphne Angelidou in her "crossings" series, which depicted people walking across a zebra crossing carrying umbrellas whilst being drenched in rain. Everything looked grey and dull and out-of-focus except for a few of the brightly coloured umbrellas.

There were a couple of really excellent nude studies in the collection, two by Yorgos Rorris, and a red-tinged crouching female figure by Juliano Kaglis.

The gallery was also decorated with quotes from the likes of Goethe, John Berger, Christopher Butler and Wittgenstein - but only in Greek translation, so sadly they didn't add anything to our viewing experience.

Where there was translation it wasn't always perfect. One painting called "Πύργοι στην άμμο" in Greek, was labelled "Sand Towers" in English. Since it depicted two children playing in the sand on the beach, we were fairly certain it meant "Sand Castles".

I liked a sparse self-portrait by Leda Kontogiannapoulou, and Claire was very fond of a couple of paintings displayed opposite each other on the top floor of the gallery. An untitled work featuring a fragile girl by Efthimis Eftimiadis looked like it could have been the ethereal cover of a 4AD label album during the 1980s, whilst "Uber Alles" by Nikos Moschos depicted a riotous classromm scene in caricature.

We really enjoyed it, and at €2 you can't complain. The exhibition runs in the gallery on Halidon until 20th June 2007.

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Were there any other pictures of 'tiny sailors'? - I have to admit to being a bit afraid of the prospect of being attacked by a vicious gang of vertically challenged seamen brandishing metal hoops. I mean just look at the expression on his face!

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