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Constantin Xenakis
NO WAY OUT - Visual Records: Maps and Codes
August 2, 2014 - September 15, 2014

Virvili Square
18020 Poros Island

(+30) 697 9989 684

Opening Hours
11.00-13.00 &19.00-23.00

About the artist

1931 - 2020. Born in 1931 in Cairo (Egypt). He went to Paris (1956-61) to study architecture and interior design at the École Supérieure des Arts Modernes and painting at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. His first solo exhibition was held in Sweden (Södertälje Konsthall, 1969). In 1970, he went to Berlin on a DAAD grant, where he taught at the Schiller College and at the Hochschule für bildende Künste. Approximately at the same time, he presented his first solo exhibition in Athens (Goethe Institute, 1971), which functioned as a daring intervention, both artistically and politically, during the years of the Greek military junta. In 1973, he settled permanently in France, taught at the École Normale Supérieure de l'Enseignement Technique (Cachan), participated in educational committees and presented his work in many solo and group exhibitions worldwide. In 1996, he was awarded the ‘Pierre Delmas’ prize by the Institut de France. After 1995 he lives between Paris and Athens. In 1996, he presented the retrospective exhibition “The Return of the Artist: 1958-1996” in Alexandria and Cairo. He exhibited his autobiographical series “The Book of My Life” in three parts (1995, 1997, 2003) in Greece, while in 2003 he organized a retrospective exhibition, including works of the last 20 years (State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki). Two monographs have been published on his work so far in the greek language (1995 and 2009).

About the exhibition

Constantin Xenakis is a nonconforming artist, intensely engaged in questioning and exploring the role of art and the artist’s responsibility towards the social whole. His work arises out of the contemporary socio-political reality he has experienced firsthand. Xenakis is a citizen of the world: he was born in Cairo and has lived in Athens and Paris. As such, he has a Greek identity and a triple cultural background: Greek, Egyptian and French.

This composite personality allows him artistically to approach the Greek situation from inside and outside. He has developed an abstract, yet at the same time, deeply meaningful visual idiom. He maps things out by constructing and deconstructing schemes, words, and concepts. He has invented a personal representational and visual alphabet. His figurative language makes varied allusions across time. He begins with ancient Greek and Egyptian civilization and progresses to contemporary everyday elements, such as international driving signs. He deconstructs all these references by transmuting them, recomposing them and creating new codes and images which reflect current reality- historical, social, and political.

Among the dead ends (NO WAY OUT) are paintings, collages, maps, and books-as-objects. These works are organised along an axis of Repetition / Juxtaposition / Superposition As such, they offer a codified image of contemporary civilization: “The symbols-codes interlock and meet in a chaotic manner and, by dialoguing with form and colour and concepts, attempt to coexist in the painting’s framework.” The work of art becomes, in the end, a means for ideological criticism of the existing socio- political system.