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About the artist

Jannis Psychopedis was born in 1945 in Athens. He studied printmaking at the Athens School of Fine Arts with K. Grammatopoulos (1963-1968). He continued his studies in Academie der Bilden- den Kunste, in Munich (1970-1976) on a DAAD scholarship. Then, he was invited by the Public Artistic Programme of West Berlin, and settled there until 1986. During his stay in Germany he developed considerable artistic activity, by participating in collective schemes as well. Meanwhile, in Greece, he co-founded the art group ‘Young Greek Realists’ (1971-1973. Additionally, he participated in the creation of the Centre for Visual Arts (KET, 1974-1976). In 1986, he moved to Brussels and in 1993 he returned to Greece. In 1994, he was elected professor of painting at ASFA, where he taught until 2012. He has organized dozens of solo exhibitions worldwide, in private and public galleries as well as museums. He has also taken part in many group exhibitions and international exhibitions. Several retrospective exhibitions of his work have been held in Greece (1987-88, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2009). In 2004, he created the large installation for the Eirini Station of the Athens metro. Many albums on his work have been published, as well as monographs and books with his writings and essays on art.

About the exhibition

"Lemon Grove – Diaries of a summer" is a series of 67 new works, still lifes, at Citronne Gallery. The title alludes directly to the eponymous grove of Galatas on the Peloponnesian coast, although it is considered to be part of the island of Poros and was immortalized in the Kosmas Politis novel of the same title.

In this series of works Jannis Psychopedis revisits "Still Life", which is by definition about things cut off from the flow of life and turned into symbols as parts of natural life. The contradiction between the two words, still and life, or life and death, give a first taste of the artist's dialectic reading of history.

All the works unfold before a black backdrop. A key, shared element of the visual staging is lemons. A fruit associated with Mediterranean abundance, natural and cultural, the lemon forms part of people's daily lives — as an edible good, as medicinal aid, as symbol of Orthodox sacraments, and even as a female name.

As a "still life", lemons here coexist with seemingly disparate objects: fragments of statues, postcards, measuring tools and implements of manual labour. Through this staging process the artist conveys traces of memories, images, mental pictures. These are layers of time which mix up different periods, at the same time cultivating the idea of a "written monument", a testimony. The realistic rendering and the visual technique of a pseudo-collage intensify this impression.

Jannis Psychopedis develops an entire system of symbols. The works in this series form part of a modular work; they are works-pages from a visual diary. The gold-colored fruits are accompanied by elements of daily life: bread, "our daily bread", the fundamental symbol of sustenance, historically elevated into a social demand; utilitarian objects, symbols of toil; flowers and fruit, a classic allusion to youth and fertility. Next to these testimonies of living, Psychopedis draws the viewer's attention to a resounding memento mori through traces of the past and of intrinsic history: shattered ancient statues; worn wood from shipwrecks; old photos with frozen faces; postcards with immobilized images of the sea.

Starting from a place which forms part of the identity of Poros, the Lemon Grove, Jannis Psychopedis opens up to Mediterranean civilization, to the natural environment, to the sea. Starting from the imprint of personal recollections, he expands into the broader and inevitable collective memory.