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Cris Gianakos

Cris Gianakos
Cris Gianakos
August 9, 2008 - September 14, 2008

Virvili Square
18020 Poros Island

(+30) 697 9989 684

Opening Hours
11.00-13.00 & 19.00-23.00

About the artist

Cris Gianakos was born in New York in 1934, where he lives. He attended the School of Visual Arts (SVA), where he has been a Professor of Art for many years. Gianakos has been the recipient of a variety of grants and awards: these include the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the NY Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) and others. He completed a large installation for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

About the exhibition

Gianakos was always attracted by the timeless quality of ancient art and has had a longstanding interest in geometric forms and classical proportions. In the early 1990s, in parallel to his photographic alterations of archaeological sites, he reused photographic images of ancient art works. In Alpha Series, 1991, the solarized image of the head of an archaic kouros was first printed on mylar at a monumental scale (220x145 cm). The work is characterized by a linear precision and a rude massiveness, expressing the original contours of the block. Gianakos superimposed a red square covering the nose and the mouth, hiding the famous archaic smile. The resulting collage emphasizes the blocklike form of the kouros. The partial reversal of tone of the solarized image, with its almost apparitional quality, is dramatically juxtaposed to the form of the solid red square. Nothing could have been more different from the monolithic monumentality of the kouros head than the Hellenistic statue of the Victory of Samothrace with its tempestuous movement of the body and the power of the outstretched wings.

That famous statue has been the raw material of a whole series of Gianakos’s works, each one exploring different aspects. In Niki of Samothrace with Blue and White Squares, he first draws two diagonal red lines to indicate the center of movement and then places two heavy square forms (a blue and a white) creating an alternative sense of movement and rotation. In Niki of Samothrace with Two Rectangles, 2000, he creates two shadow rectangular areas, one corresponding to the headless body and the other to the stretched wings, tracing the stone blocks out of which the statue was carved. The artist playfully reencloses the statue in a geometrical solid block and at the same time reveals the process of sculpting out, bringing to our attention the fundamental aspect of carving and visually echoing Michelangelo’s saying that the work of art preexists in the marble block and the sculptor simply “liberates the figure from its marble prison