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Remembering Nikos Engonopoulos March 23, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece.

nikos_engonopoulos.jpg  Nikos Engonopoulos’ painting “Sleep” 

A major representative of the surrealist movement in Greece, poet and painter Nikos Engonopoulos, who died in 1987, is being commemorated on the centenary of his birth (1907) with a series of events throughout the year.

Arguably one of the most significant poets of the so-called 1930s generation, Engonopoulos’ early poetry collections stirred even more controversy than his contemporary Andreas Embirikos’ work. According to translator and poet Kimon Friar, Engonopoulos revealed an “explosive, daring and revolutionary” take on surrealism, as opposed to Embeirikos’ “clinical, liberating and didactic” approach. Also an accomplished painter, Engonopoulos studied under Konstantinos Parthenis and Fotis Kontoglou.

A series of exhibitions showcasing Engonopoulos’ work as both poet and painter, as well as a conference and theatre performance are the main anniversary events organised by the National Book Centre in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, the Athens Fine Arts School, the Athens Concert Hall and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art. Events kicked off on February 20 and come to a close on 6 January 2008.

An anthology of Engonopoulos’ poetic work, as well as photos documenting his manuscripts, sketches and paintings, make up the around-the-clock exhibition running through April 20 at the Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”.

Also planned are two more exhibitions: one at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, May 20-June 20, will deal with the subject of time and space in Engonopoulos’ paintings and the other, at the New Benaki Museum on Pireos Street Annex, November 13-January 6, will span five decades of his paintings, sketches, and book illustrations, as well as costume and set designs.

On March 16, the Athens Concert Hall’s Alexandra Triandi Hall will host a multimedia theatre production staged by the artistic director of the Kalamata Municipal Theatre Yannis Kakleas, who is also the founder of the avant-garde theatre venue Tehnochoros. Straying from a strict academic approach, Kakleas’ play, which is based on poetry excerpts selected by Nassos Vagenas, tries to convey both the humour and the sensitivity of Engonopoulos’ writings.

A two-day conference on Engonopoulos will be held at the New Benaki Museum, November 23-24. In addition, excerpts from his poems will be on display in public transportation areas throughout the city between March 19 and April 21 as part of the National Book Centre’s celebrations for National Poetry Day on March 21.

The poet’s website www.engonopoulos.gr will be updated during the year.

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