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September 25, 2006

Greek contemporary art of the 20th century in Chania's Municipal Gallery

Greekcontemporaryart Last week we went to a new art exhibition in Hania's Municipal Art Gallery which is located at the top of Halidon, near Plateia 1866, called "Greek contemporary art of the 20th Century from the collection of Kostas Ionannidis". Featuring 80 paintings on three floors, most artists on display had contributed three or four works. Like most exhibitions of this kind, it was a bit of a curate's egg.

Some of the things we liked included the glittery blue stripes of "Corinthian Landscape" by Paniaras Costas, and "Untitled" by Spyropoulus Yannis. The latter was a dark abstract work that defied interpretation, seeming to look very textured and detailed whilst at the same time actually being very vague.

Some of the things we didn't like included "Offense and Defense" [sic] by Makroulakis Michalis. This featured a highly detailed Greek landscape, littered with ancient relics, and a bird of prey coming in to land. And a badly-drawn footballer in the Greek national kit half standing on a podium with his arms raised as if he'd just scored a goal. Very odd, and not very well executed.

We liked the work by Tsigos Thanis. His style involved really piling oil onto the canvass to make scuplted flowers or in the case of "Peacok" to make the details of a peacock's splendid tail. We didn't think these paintings were well displayed though. "Flowers in Blue Background" in particular suffered from being in a very old-fashioned and incongruent frame.

One of the central pieces of the exhibition is a portrait of the collector Kostas Ioannidis himself. He is pictured reclining, with Paris shimmering in the background, looking a bit like Trevor Horn circa The Buggles era, clutching in one of his hands a canvass by Gaitis Yannis which was on display elsewhere in the exhibition.

Our two favourite works were "Trees" by Prassinos Maris, and a piece by Bokoros Christos from the cycle "The Olive Tree". The latter avoided being hung in a poor frame by consisting of oil and gold on wood, with the frame itself being part of the painting. It depicted a tree and candles, with the candles providing a smeary shadow down onto the frame of the picture. "Trees" was a 1984 piece by Prassinos, the year before he died, which depicted the bleak sillouette of a forest landscape.

Like the previous exhibition in the Municipal Gallery, it was hung with the most enticing contemporary looking pieces downstairs, with some rather duller older pictures upstairs. The catalogue was a bit too pricy for us at €35, but entrance itself was reasonable - €2 each with a €1 discount for students, and free entrance on Wednesdays - and the exhibition runs until the 30th November 2006. Sadly photographs were not permitted in the building.

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I saw that exhibition while on vacation as well, and was so enamoured with the Christos painting that I tracked down his gallery (Zoumboulakis in Athens) and bought a poster version of it. While it does not do justice to the golden original, it is still one of my favourites.

Regards, Chris, Norway

Hello and thank you for your website.I like Paintings by Greek Artist (Michalis Makroulakis ). They are very Beautiful.

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