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Jannis Psychopedis
The Alphabet – Archaic Palimpsest
June 8, 2019 - September 30, 2019

Archaeological Museum of Poros
Korizi Square
18020 Poros Island

(+30) 697 9989 684

Opening Hours
Mon, Wed-Sun:

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

In the Archaeological Museum of Poros, Jannis Psychopedis depicts time and the traces of history in twenty-four artworks-books of equal size, each corresponding to a letter of the Greek alphabet. This numbering alludes readily to the divisions of Homer's epic poems into 24 rhapsodies. Indeed, Homer is the starting point for the key concepts and timeless dilemmas of humanity: death-life, memory-oblivion, identity-alienation, love-aversion, transcendence-hubris. This dialectic has the primary conceptual role in the overall work of Psychopedis, who creates a 'palimpsest' of testimonies.

The project traces a tradition of millennia, the Greek language and its symbols, its characters. The alphabet books recall the illustrated texts of Byzantine times but also children's speller books. They are open-closed, showing or hinting at fragments and excerpts of History; images of a language under pressure, wondering and seeking its lost unity with the past and its relation to the future.

To this series Psychopedis adds two recent works-copies from the Museum which force upon the viewer an almost violent awareness of contemporary reality. The foot and the female statuette, both exhibits in the Museum, are superimposed and introduce landscapes of a refugee existence: the escape over sea, the confinement behind barbed wire fences. This is an ideological social reading of the present which, in turn, recalls the darkest past and warns of a sinister future.

The task of a synthesis of all these falls upon the viewer.