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Topoi > artistic spaces around town October 12, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Arts Museums.
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nikos_engonopoulos_work.jpg  Nikos Engonopoulos’ painting “Piraeus Landscape with Statue”

At the end of the 1970s, and while the National Gallery in Athens had the local arts scene high on its agenda, Thessaloniki’s then newly founded Macedonian Centre for Contemporary Art was laying the foundations for an international Museological policy.

The course of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art over the last three decades is documented through “Topoi, An Exhibition, an Approach, a Museum, a History”. The exhibition, which opened on September 27, takes place at different venues around Athens, the two Benaki Museums, the Athens School of Fine Arts, the Zappeion Mansions and Gardens, and the Alex Mylona Museum.

Founded in 1979, the centre originally occupied a wing of the Filkeram-Johnson factory in Thessaloniki until 1992, when Helexpo allocated one of the international fair’s pavilions towards housing the centre. The centre was turned into a Museum in 1994, and a new wing was acquired in 1997 with funding from Thessaloniki 97, The Organisation for the Cultural Capital of Europe. The Museum underwent several expansions and now covers a surface area of 4,500 square metres, which includes new exhibition spaces, a library, a multi-purpose room, art workshops and a cafe.

The Museum’s success over the years is highlighted in figures by its President, Architecture Professor Xanthipi Skarpia-Hoipel. “Our collection currently numbers over 1,600 works,” Skarpia-Hoipel said at a press meet on September 25. “… 28 years into the Museum’s existence, we have organised 189 exhibitions, that is 6 to 7 shows annually, 15 of which were retrospective and were also presented in Athens. Shows were accompanied by 162 parallel events, while educational programmes attracted over 20,000 children.”

The core of the Museum’s collection was formed in 1984 when arts patron Alexandre Iolas donated works that focused on the relationship of the 1960s generation with the art scene of France and Italy. Other important donations over the years include those of art historian Franz Geierhaas, art critic Alexandros Xydis and the most recent addition of sculptor Alex Mylona, who donated her newly-launched Museum.

The Topoi exhibition is the Museum’s third grand venture in Athens. The first one was in 1992 when the Zappeion Mansion hosted the Museum’s new acquisitions. Sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Topoi features over 400 works, paintings, sculptures, photos, prints, video art and installations, by 186 artists, approximately one quarter of the Museum’s holdings. Modern Greek artists, as well as internationally known artists such as Pavlos, Chryssa, Takis, Stephen Antonakos and Yiannis Gaitis, are represented. Saint Phalle, Dennis Oppenheimer, Jean Pierre Raynaud and Andy Warhol are among the 32 foreign artists represented.

By proposing the rather abstract title of Topoi, which translates to “places”, art historian and the Museum’s artistic director, Denis Zaharopoulos, refers to “conceptual places which every one of us can be part of, or imagine what artistic creation and works of art mean, what meaning and times signify… and what is meant by the free movement of ideas and the dynamic abrogation of prejudice and dogmatism”. By creating modules and spaces, the exhibition proposes a revision of the Museological approach, which aims at the best possible presentation of permanent collections.

Topoi, as well as two exhibitions of photographs and prints currently exhibited at the Museum, are dedicated to all those artists and collectors who have enriched the Museum’s collection with their donations.

Topoi is on through to November 25 at both the Benaki Museum buildings, 1 Koumbari Street, Kolonaki, Athens, and 138 Pireos Street, Athens, the Athens School of Fine Arts, 256 Pireos Street, Athens, The Zappeion Mansion and Gardens, close to Syntagma Square in Athens, and the Alex Mylona Museum, 5 Agion Asomaton Square, Athens.

Related Links > http://www.mmca.org.gr

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