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I…Loop de Loop…

About the artist

Steve Gianakos was born in New York in 1938 and studied at the Pratt Institute. He began developing his artistic language in the mid-1960s, in the midst of the Pop Art explosion. He was awarded major prizes and fellowships, including the Guggenheim Fellowship (1995) and the Pollock-Krasner Prize (1996). His works are included in the most prestigious American public collections—MoMA, the Guggenheim, the New York Whitney Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the Neuberger Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum (Houston), the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Contemporary Arts Museum (Chicago), the University Museum (Berkeley), the Judith Rothschild Contemporary, the Chase Manhattan Bank —as well as the CNAP collections in France. He has presented his work in more than thirty solo exhibitions worldwide: Guggenheim, PS1 (MoMA) and the Leo Castelli, Marian Goodman and Barbara Gladstone galleries. He has participated in numerous group shows with other major American artists: MoMA, Brooklyn Museum and Queens Museum in New York and Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht. In 2017, the Musée des beaux arts de Dole in France, held a large retrospective exhibition of his oeuvres.

About the exhibition

Steve Gianakos, one of the most important American artists of today, presents at CITRONNE his latest work, large-scale works of 2022. This section is also accompanied by six earlier works, references to his previous work.

Gianakos' work is provocative work that refuses to fit into categories - pop art, surrealism, minimalism. Characteristic of his work are powerful images and narratives that evoke surprise, disbelief, bewilderment and even threat to the viewer. The artist builds his narratives with seemingly disparate elements. He renegotiates, in a personal subterranean way, the boundaries between the personal and the social, the innocent and the perverse; contradictions which, however, converse and confuse. This is a multi-layered work where the titles the artist gives to his works often function as a complement to the image. The viewer is invited to decode an endless game of slang references, anagrams, deliberate misspellings. Steve Gianakos has distinct references, but an indistinct reading. He transforms reality with caustic humor. Sexual innuendo dominates, the demystification of every social norm. The artist forces the viewer to decide the limits himself.

The central figure in Steve Gianakos' exhibition I...Loop de Loop... at CITRONNE Gallery is a non-binary figure, a male face with a tweezed moustache placed on different female bodies. As noted by Professor of Art History Thanasis Moutsopoulos, in his essay in the exhibition catalogue, "for the first time in Gianakos' colourful universe, gender-bender appears so strongly. In a way it is a natural continuation of his earlier work, where the dissolution and deconstruction of forms were prominent. Equally (the gender-bender) is projected as a natural continuation because of the sexual liberation that has always characterized his work. After all, perhaps the most characteristic element of the artist's work has always been the questioning and dissolution of stereotypes. Steve Gianakos' work, in 2023, appears in its most dense and complex form. Gianakos has expanded and diversified his critique of the American Dream, while seeming to listen to the sweeping social and anthropological changes that have been taking place for some years now. I think it will be a phase in his historical trajectory that we will be returning to regularly in the future..."

Steve Gianakos' exhibition is part of CITRONNE Gallery commitment to present in its space important artists of the Greek diaspora. It represents the spirit of the glocal, i.e. the relationship between locality and global networks. Solo exhibitions of artists of Greek origin (Konstantinos Xenakis, Chris Gianakos and Steven Antonakos) have been presented in the past. These artists offer a perspective that is not 'Greek'. But in their works there are elaborated expressions of patrilineal, with obvious or unobvious references to the cultural norms of distant origin, the "homeland" - an ideal reality that permeates the generations. The dual cultural identity reproduces, reconstitutes and sometimes demolishes the usual stereotypes, social or historical.