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Light and color in the service of modern art March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece.
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The work of Nikos Lytras at the National Gallery > the exhibition will be inagurated by the President of the Hellenic Republic, H.E. Karolos Papoulias  

18-03-08_lytras.jpg  “The Straw Hat” painted 1923-1926 (86 x 66 cm). From the National Gallery collection.

One of the most important advocates of modern art in Greece, Nikolaos Lytras (1883-1927) is one of only a handful of artists who radically distanced themselves from academic art and helped establish modernism for future painters. “Nikos Lytras: Building with Color and Light”, a large exhibition which opens Wednesday evening at the National Gallery running through June 2 and is curated by Aphrodite Kouria, unfolds the innovative vision of this distinctive artist through a broad selection of his portraits, landscapes and still lifes.

His father, Nikiforos Lytras, was one of the most renowned painters of the late 19th century “School of Munich” generation of painters who had studied at the Academy of Munich and were trained in academic art. Nikos Lytras studied at the Academy of Munich as well but, like other artists of his generation, quickly tuned into the modern movements of the time. As the curator argues in her essay, by the time Lytras had concluded his studies in 1911, early 20th-century German expressionism, as represented by the Die Brucke group, was well under way and the Blue Rider movement was just being founded by Vassili Kandinsky. Although there is no direct link between those developments and the work of Lytras, it seems that the artist did use certain elements of expressionism, as seen for example in the broad brushstrokes of his landscapes and the use of heavy impasto, in his work, combining them with other influences ranging from post-impressionism to fauvism. The use of color in his work is also quite modern. As the curator notes, Lytras usually places cool colors in the foreground and warm colors in the background, an effect that diminishes depth and accentuates flatness, a key element of modern art.

Lytras also modernized portraiture. His contemporary Yiannis Bouzianis was probably the greatest master in the genre. Throughout his short life, Lytras was assailed by the conservative critics of his time but was also recognized as an innovative artist. In 1923, he became a professor at the School of Fine Arts, being preferred to the eminent and slightly older Constantinos Parthenis, also a candidate for the post.

Lytras was also a founding member, in 1917, of the Omada Technis, a group which brought together some of the most innovative artists of the time, including Parthenis, Pericles Vyzantios and Constantinos Maleas. The exhibition shows the full range of Lytras’s work and underlines his contribution to the development of modern art in this country.

National Gallery, 44 Vasileos Constantinou Avenue, Ilisia, Athens, tel 210 7235937 and 210 7235937 – 8.

Related Links > http://www.nationalgallery.gr

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A common view for visual arts at the theater March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Arts Events Greece, Arts Exhibitions Greece, Stage & Theater.
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The second part of “Common View” a project that aims to bring the visual arts into dialogue with theater, opened yesterday at the New Stage of the National Theater.

Curated by Ghislaine Dantan and Eleni Koukou and initiated by Yiannis Houvardas, director of the National Theater, the project invites visual artists to make works that address issues related to performance. The works have been placed in the foyer of the theater, the first part took place in the vestibule of the Rex Theater, part of the project’s challenge is to make contemporary art relevant to both a visual arts public and adherents of theater.

18-03-08_dimitra_vamiali.jpg  Installation view by artist Dimitra Vamiali

The newly inaugurated second part includes an installation by Dimitra Vamiali and a performance by Giorgos Sapountzis. Vamiali, who will also participate in the upcoming third and final part of Common View at the end of the month, has taken excerpts from the scripts of the plays performed this season by the National Theater and presented them in the form of panels that resemble old-fashioned commercial signage.

Giorgos Sapountzis, who has made several public performances aimed at sensitizing us to urban sites, will be showing a three-hour, audience-interactive performance scheduled for Friday night at the Pedion tou Areos. His performance makes reference to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” which opens at the Kappa Theater on the same day. For participation, the general public should contact > commonview@n-t.gr.

Dimitra Vamiali’s installation is being shown at the National Theater’s New Stage, 41 Evmolpidon Street, Gazi, Athens. The installation is open during the theater’s hours of operation. Videos documenting four different performances by Giorgos Sapountzis are also presented alongside.

Related Links > www.n-t.gr

Greece’s phone regulator appeals reversal of fine for Vodafone March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Telecoms.
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Greece’s telecommunications regulator appealed against a court decision that reverses a 1-million-euro fine imposed by the watchdog on Vodafone’s Greek unit.

The regulator also plans to appeal against court decisions reversing fines imposed on cellular operators Cosmote and TIM Hellas, which is now called Wind Hellas, according to a statement from the National Telecommunications and Post Commission. The regulator fined the companies, the country’s three biggest mobile-phone operators, 1 million euros each in March 2006 for breaching competition rules linked to text messages. The three breached regulations when they simultaneously raised prices for short text messages in 2005, the watchdog said.

On a different subject, Ericsson won a Wind order. Ericsson, the world’s largest maker of wireless networks, won an order from Greek telecom operator Wind Hellas. Ericsson will provide network design and system integration, and supply equipment to Wind Hellas, the Stockholm-based company said yesterday in a statement.

Greece’s swimming team eyes medals March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Aquatics.
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Romanos Alyfantis and Aristidis Grigoriadis among hopefuls at European Championships

Romanos Alyfantis goes into the men’s 100-meter breaststroke with the year’s second-best time, 1.00.39, among 56 entries.

The European Swimming Championships begin today in Eindhoven, the Netherlands with the Greek team hoping for big performances from two team members on opening day.

18-03-08_romanos_alyfantis.jpg  Romanos Alyfantis goes into the men’s 100-meter breaststroke holding the second-best time this year, 1.00.39, among the event’s 56 swimmers registered to compete. Norwegian swimmer Alexander Dale Oen has clocked the best time this year, a 1.00.34 performance.

The Greek team will also be looking at a solid performance from Aristidis Grigoriadis in the backstroke. Grigoriadis, who finished third in the men’s backstroke at the previous Europeans two years ago, is ranked fifth among 44 entries with a time of 54.75 seconds. Also today, Irini Kavarnou goes into the women’s 50-meter butterfly event ranked 16th among 43 contestants with a time of 27.30.

Competing in the men’s 50-meter butterfly, Sotiris Pastras is ranked 26th among 51 entries with a time of 24.80. Vassilis Demetis, who has registered for the men’s 400-meter freestyle, enters the event ranked 21st among 31 swimmers with a time of 3.53.50.

One of the Greek team’s youngest members, Aspasia Petradaki, aged 15, will compete in the women’s 200 meters with a time of 2.19.17, the 15th best performance this year among 23 entries.

Greece, a country without a winning tradition in international swimming competition, tallied a respectable five medals – two silver and three bronze – at the previous European Championships in 2006. There were also a further five finalists. Though this summer’s Beijing Olympics ranks as the premier event on the international swimming calendar this year, these Europeans stand as the year’s prime objective for most Greek swimmers, because they have more realistic chances of raking in medals here. Times have been severely slashed at international-level swimming, the main undercutters being American and Australian swimmers.

Sidelined overweight basketball star makes a comeback March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Basketball.
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Sidelined basketball star Sofoklis Schortsanitis, a pivotal member of both Olympiakos and the Greek National Team until he fell out of favor because of severe weight problems, has returned to Greece following an undercover two-month spell in Switzerland, where the 2.06-meter center has reportedly shed about 22 kilograms.

The news of the player’s return was made public by Olympiakos’s recently appointed coach Panayiotis Yiannakis, who has worked with Schortsanitis on the National Team, during a news conference following a league game on Sunday.

Schortsanitis, who still needs to regain fitness to compete, will continue his recovery here. Yiannakis requested that the player be left in peace, which he stressed was crucial for the completion of Schortsanitis’s comeback plan. Club officials hope he will be ready to play again late next month, which would be in time for the league playoffs.

Greek Church against cohabitation March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle, Living, Politics, Religion & Faith.
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In the most emphatic fashion, the Church of Greece’s Holy Synod yesterday declared its opposition to the government’s bid to give unmarried couples greater rights by stating that any form of relationship other than a couple married in an Orthodox Church is tantamount to “prostitution.”

The Synod’s reaction signals an about-turn for Archbishop Ieronymos, who last week appeared to accept that changing the bill was beyond the Church’s sphere of influence.

However, this was completely overturned yesterday when the Synod issued a statement saying that it did not approve of the government trying to make its proposals part of the country’s legal framework.

The new law is set to allow unmarried couples to make their relationship official and legally binding by signing a simple notarial contract. This would give each partner the same rights as if the couple were married.

The Synod said that the draft law constituted a “catastrophic bomb” being placed under the foundations of Greek society. “The Church accepts and blesses the established wedding, according to Orthodox traditions, and considers any other type of similar relationship to be prostitution” the Synod said in a statement.

Sources said that Ieronymos had wanted the Synod to adopt a more moderate approach in line with his comments last week but most of the other 12 members of the Synod seemed to favor a more outspoken stance.

“That was the opinion of one person, this is the opinion of 13,” said Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki, a member of the Synod, explaining the difference between Ieronymos’s position last week and this week.

UPDATE >>> 19 March 2008 >>> Ieronymos ire > Archbishop angry with wording of Synod response to cohabitation law

Archbishop Ieronymos, the Head of the Church of Greece, is upset the Holy Synod issued a statement on Monday saying that any form of partnership that is not a marriage sanctioned by the Orthodox Church is “prostitution,” sources said yesterday.

The statement was apparently composed by Bishop Anthimos of Thessaloniki, who insists that the wording was approved by the entire Synod. Sources said that Ieronymos was disturbed with the strong language used in the statement, although he did not object to the Church expressing opposition to the government’s plans to introduce a cohabitation law.

Greek push for return of Parthenon Marbles March 18, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Archaeology Greece, Shows & Conferences, Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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Changes in museum policies and an increase in instances of cooperation between different countries for the repatriation of looted artifacts could pave the way for the return of the Parthenon Marbles, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis told an international conference in Athens yesterday.

“More and more museums are adopting tighter ethics codes and governments are promoting cooperation, so the ideal momentum is being created for clear solutions,” Liapis told the UNESCO event at the New Acropolis Museum.

Museum officials and archaeologists gave several examples of repatriated artifacts, such as the Obelisk of Axum, returned to Ethiopia from Rome in 2005. Experts also remarked upon the increase of works being smuggled out of war zones.

Christiane Tytgat, former curator at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels and director of the Netherlands Institute in Athens, said the Parthenon Marbles, currently in the British Museum, should be sent back too.“I support their return unreservedly… this is where they belong,” Tytgat said.