A Moral Odyssey retold by Homer, Joyce and Duchamp
A new book by Megakles Rogakos, MA MA PhD
In 2023, one century after Marcel Duchamp completed his work on the Large Glass, a books comes to suggest that it is not self-referential but has specific protagonists, locations and details that convey a timeless moral lesson about archetypal issues that human nature is perpetually tormented with – Sex (lust) & Drugs (intoxication) & Rock’n’Roll (violence).
By choice, Duchamp never directly referred to Homer regarding the Glass, and this work has been analysed by many scholars in different ways. When Dr Megakles Rogakos came across the work in 2000, the detail of the Oculist Witnesses on it prompted him to sense their possible connection with the Trial of the Bow in Homer’s Odyssey, and he spoke about it in a related talk at London’s Tate Gallery on 10 August of the same year. He made this theory the subject of his PhD thesis (2012-2016) at the University of Essex entitled “A Joycean Exegesis of The Large Glass: Homeric Traces in the Postmodernism of Marcel Duchamp”. The Homeric exegesis of Duchamp’s Glass through Joyce’s Ulysses aims to confirm the atavistic theory that the ancient is present in the contemporary. The Glass, like the Homeric Odyssey, as revisited in Ulysses, may be thought to be some kind of moralising treatise on the temptations of man to fall prey to the three deadliest sins throughout human history – lust of flesh; indulgence in drugs; fall to violence, as discussed separately in chapters of the book (see III.9; III.8; III.12) and gave its title – “Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll”, after Ian Dury’s censored song of 1977. If its Joycean exegesis is proven, then the Glass may enigmatically emerge as a Homeric paradigm of man’s initiation to inner freedom, which Duchamp called the “beauty of indifference”. Dr Eleftherios Anevlavis, translator of Joyce’s Ulysses and Wake, writes: “Dr Rogakos’ exegesis is an impressive intellectual creation, enriched with the practices of decipherment and the art of writing, but at the same time created by the experiences and exhaustive study of culture from Homer to Yoko Ono and of the cosmos from the cave paintings of Lascaux to the constellation of the Pleiades.” Remarkably, with his theory of the appropriation of Homer’s Odyssey in Duchamp’s Glass, Dr Rogakos offers a refreshingly tongue-in-cheek explanation of postmodernism’s relationship to antiquity.
Dr Rogakos is an art historian and curator of exhibitions, working as communication officer at the Corfu Heritage Foundation. His book titled Sex & Drugs & Rock’n’Roll: A Moral Odyssey retold by Homer, Joyce and Duchamp, in A4 format masterfully designed by DesignBond with 300 colour images on 220 pages, is published in 2022-2023 by the Corfu Heritage Foundation (www.corfuheritagefoundation.org) in the Greek (ISBN 978-618-83770-3-5) and the original English (ISBN 978-618-83770-4-2) language.
I. The Premise
1. The Greek Dimension of Marcel Duchamp’s raison d’être
2. The Allure of the Odyssey for the Avant-Garde
3. The ’Pataphysical connection of Alfred Jarry’s Faustroll to Homer’s Odyssey
4. Homer’s Odyssey as paradigm of Raymond Roussel’s Impressions of Africa
5. The Homer-Infested Modern Culture that influenced Marcel Duchamp
6. Duchamp’s Postmodernism
7. A Joycean Exegesis of The Large Glass
II. Homeric Traces in the Postmodern Works of Duchamp
1. Homer’s relation to The Blind Man
3. Duchamp as Odysseus
3. Duchamp’s Odyssean Strategy of Dissimulation
4. Transvestism’s Allure for Duchamp
5. Duchamp as Penelope: Loving, Mournful and Cold-Hearted
6. Duchamp’s His Twine as Penelope’s Weaving Ruse
7. Duchamp’s Belle Haleine as the Beautiful Helen of Troy
8. The Multifarious Origins of Tiré à quatre épingles
9. Duchamp’s Hat Rack as Emblem of Cuckoldry
10. Duchamp’s Knight as the Wooden Horse
11. Duchamp’s Fountain as the Bag of Winds
12. Duchamp’s Bilboquet as Nausicaä throwing the Ball
13. The Ominous Power of Duchamp’s Why Not Sneeze Rose Sélavy?
14. Odysseus and the Marchand du sel: In Advance of the Broken Arm as the Winnowing Fan
15. The Enigma of Duchamp’s Door for Gradiva
16. The Cassandra Connection – The Myth and the Foundation
17. Souvenirs from the Classical World
III. A Homeric Exegesis of Duchamp’s Glass via Joyce’s Ulysses
1. Duchamp’s Glass and its Relation to Homer’s Odyssey
2. The Components of the Glass as a matter of fact and by extension
3. The Journey of the Illuminating Gas as an Odyssey
4. This is a Man’s World But it would be Nothing without a Woman
5. The Bride as Penelope
6. Duchamp’s Cemetery of Uniforms and Liveries as Penelope’s Suitors
7. Duchamp’s Waterfall as the Melanhydros Spring, Ithaca
8. Duchmap’s Liqueur Bénédictine as the Sirens
9. Duchamp’s Chocolate Grinder as the Lust of Flesh
10. Duchamp’s Oculist Witnesses as the Trial of the Bow
11. Duchamp’s Mandala as Tiresias
12. Duchamp’s the Boxing Match as the Odysseus vs Irus Fight
13. Duchamp’s Wilson-Lincoln Effect as the Athena vs Poseidon Contest
14. The Odyssey’s Anagnorismos as Duchamp’s Affirmative Nature – Yes, but to what?
15. The Glass’ Cracking as the Odyssey’s Unhappy Premonition
Text and photographs by Megakles Rogakos, MA MA PhD
The British Cemetery in Corfu is located on the hill of San Salvatore, in the proximity of the San Rocco square. Founded in 1814, when Corfu became a British Protectorate (1814-1864), it was used as a place where the British officials, soldiers and residents were interred. After the departure of the British from the island, the cemetery served as the graveyard for the foreign families who stayed on. The earliest legible grave dates back to 1817. There are nearly 500 graves in the cemetery. It is still being used as a cemetery for the Anglican residents of Corfu. Among the most notable graves are John Connors’ grave, died in 1857, a private in the 3rd Regiment of Foot, who was awarded the Victoria Cross during the Crimean War, and the monument to the seamen of the Royal Navy destroyers HMS Saumarez and HMS Volage, which ships were mined by the Albanians in 1946 (The Corfu Channel Incident).
The whole place looks more like a garden than a cemetery. It is gracely blossomed all year long with a great variety of flowers, bushes and trees. There is also a small basin with goldfish and water lillies. The cemetery is crossed by a slight ascending road, on which one can spot many types of flora, like the anemones, marguerites and the famous orchids.
Sadly, this historic cemetery is in dire need of restoration. If there are any donors sensitive to this matter, they should get in touch with the following person in charge: Ms Alison Turney, Vice Consul, British Vice Consulate, 18 Mantzarou Street, 49100, Corfu, Greece, +30 26610 30055, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Miracle of Saint Spyridon concerns the salvation of Corfu from the Ottomans, when they threatened the island with a powerful and destructive siege that took place on 8 July – 21 August 1716.
Saint Spyridon (270-348), Bishop of Trimythous, is one of the most beloved saints of the Orthodox Church. He was born in Askeia, Cyprus, where he worked as a shepherd and was known for his great piety. Taking part in the First Ecumenical Council of Nicaea in 325, he defended the doctrine of the Holy Trinity as concerning three entities, but only one God. When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, Saint Spyridon’s relics were removed to Corfu, where they remain in the Saint Spyridon Church to this day still incorrupt.
After the end of the Russo-Turkish war (1710-1711), the emboldened Ottoman leadership turned its focus on Venice, declaring war on 9 December 1714. The Venetians were well aware of Ottoman ambitions to capture the Ionian Islands and that Corfu was a supreme target. Preparing for the inevitable confrontation, the Venetian Senate appointed Andrea Pisani, already in Corfu, as Superintendent General of the Sea in 1715. In February 1716, the Saxon field marshal, Count Johann Matthias von der Schulenburg arrived on the island as commander-in-chief of the Venetian forces set about strengthening the fortifications with palisades, trenches and field works. On 5 July the Ottoman fleet of 62 ships anchored in the Corfu Channel, between the northeastern promontory of the island and the mainland, and began preparing for the siege. An Ottoman army of 30,000 infantry and 3,000 cavalry had gathered on the mainland shore at Butrint, ready to be ferried across the Corfu Channel by the fleet. At a critical moment of the siege, on 11 August, a fierce storm broke out that wrought havoc with the Ottoman fleet, with winds unmooring the ships and throwing them towards the shore. Undeterred, the Ottomans reorganised their forces on 20 August to resume their assault on the fortification, but on the next day, a Spanish squadron of six ships and news of the imminent arrival of a Portuguese squadron of nine ships was decisive. The serasker Kara Mustafa Pasha received urgent orders to wrap up operations so that his men could replenish the Ottoman forces in the northern Balkans. The Ottomans lost some 15,000 dead in Corfu, along with 56 cannons and eight mortars and large quantities of material, which they abandoned.
The Corfiots attribute the Ottoman withdrawal to the intervention of their patron Saint Spyridon and his miraculous storm. Every year, on 11 August, Corfu celebrates, with pomp and circumstance, the victory of the Venetian alliance against the Ottomans, on their last attack. To commemorate such a triumphant victory of the West, Count Spiro Flamburiari, Chairman of the Corfu Heritage Foundation, commissioned an 8-metre tall stone Obelisk to adorn the new junction of the Corfu Port Authority Company at Mantouki.
Corfu, 11 August 2022
[Translation of the Governor’s message above by Megakles Rogakos]
Dear and esteemed Spiro,
Happy returns and with the blessing of Saint Spyridon!
Today’s anniversary with its historical and religious content is particularly related to you. Celebrations and litanies take place every year, but the significance of this historic day for Corfu and Hellenism is highlighted and honoured by you, of course, more than any other Corfiot! You try and struggle with existing but also unexpected obstacles, to give it the added value it deserves.
I hope the outcome may be positive and your offer may be honoured.
Corfu has reason to commemorate the benefit it received from the British Protection of the period 1814-1864, during which pivotal projects were completed, such as the road network (1814), the Ionian Academy (1824), the Palace of St Michael and St George (1824), the Aqueduct (1827), the covered Agora/Markas (1829), the Mon Repos (1831), the Penitentiary (1832), the Corfu Reading Society (1836), the Psychiatric Hospital (1838), the Ionian Bank (1839), the Ionian High School (1839), the Anglican Church of St George (1840), the Stock Exchange/Borsa (1841), the Ionian Parliament (1855) and the construction of cemeteries – the British (1814) and the Catholic (1836).
The main goal of the Corfu Heritage Foundation, founded in 2000 by Count Spiro Flamburiari, is to present and promote Anglo-Hellenic friendship. On his initiative, the President invited Her Majesty’s Ambassador, Mr Matthew Lodge, to visit Corfu to attend such an important function.
Recently Lord Jacob Rothschild and Count Spiro Flamburiari jointly donated to the Ionian University the portrait (1830/2022) and the degree (1819) of Guilford, the ardent philhellene, visionary and founder of the Ionian Academy in 1824. These gifts were accepted by the Senate of the University with gratitude and they organised a relevant unveiling on 7 May 2022 at the Rectorate. The event took place in all its glory. It was preceded by period music presented by the Ionian Camerata, after which the Rector, Professor Andreas Floros, the Ambassador, Mr Lodge, and the President, Count Flamburiari, addressed greetings. In his short speech, the President pointed out the love of both the donors for Corfu and the need to find imitators to support its heritage. Afterwards, speeches were made about the personality of Guilford on behalf of the University by Professor Emeritus Helen Angelomatis-Tsougarakis and about the valuable donation that secured two historical artefacts for the future on behalf of the Foundation by the Art Historian Dr Megakles Rogakos.
HM Ambassador Mr Matthew Lodge was hosted by the President at the Cavalieri Hotel, near the Rectorate, at the Upper Esplanade. At noon on Saturday, the President arranged for the Ambassador to visit the Corfu Reading Society, the oldest literary institution in Greece, of which he happens to be the Honorary President. The Ambassador was honoured by the presence of the Society’s President Mr Thanassis Makris, Director Mr Dimitris Zymaris and members of the Administrative Committee – Mrs Martha Athineou, Mrs Gioia Provata, Mr Dimitris Theotokis and Mr Spyros Ziniatis. Mr Makris referred to the history of the Society as the oldest literary institution in Greece, with uninterrupted operation since 1836, developing a social, educational, political and patriotic character and occupying an important place in the intellectual and social life of the Ionian area. He also mentioned that in the collections of the Society the Guildford Archive, which includes part of the correspondence kept by the English philhellene with many important personalities of Hellenism, holds a special place.
On the morning of Sunday, 8 May, the President accompanied the Ambassador on their visit to the Capodistria Museum in “Koukouritsa”, the family estate in the heart of Corfu. There he was welcomed by the President of the Museum, Mr Makris, and was guided to the exhibits by the Curator of the collection, Mr Zymaris. In his tour, the Curator noted that the Museum is the only one dedicated to the great Corfiot, Greek and European politician of the 19th century. The tour followed the course of Capodistria’s life, in a narrative that began with his childhood in Corfu and culminated with his murder in Nafplio. Inspired by the wonderful experience, the Ambassador noted the following in his guestbook:
“A beautifully presented museum and a memorial to a very inspiring European statesman. I am enormously grateful for this opportunity and offer my warmest congratulations. The story of Ioannis Capodistria holds many lessons and examples for us today. I hope others will continue to learn about this remarkable man and his unique contribution to the foundation of the modern Greek state. Thank you for the privilege. Matthew Lodge, HM Ambassador, 8 May 2022”
The Ambassador left Corfu with the best impressions, making the President the commitment that he will support him in his vision of caring for the cultural bridge between England and Greece, as well as the promise that he will bring the events for the 200th anniversary of the founding of the University in 2024 under the auspices of the British Embassy in Athens.
Πρώτη επίσκεψη του Πρέσβη της Αυτής Μεγαλειότητας στην Κέρκυρα
Η Κέρκυρα έχει λόγο να μνημονεύει την ωφέλεια που εισέπραξε από τη Βρετανική Προστασία της περιόδου 1814-1864, περίοδος κατά την οποία ήλθαν σε πέρας κομβικά έργα, όπως η ρυμοτομία (1814), η Ιόνιος Ακαδημία (1824), το Ανάκτορο Αγίου Μιχαήλ και Γεωργίου (1824), το Υδραγωγείο (1827), η σκεπαστή Αγορά/Μαρκάς (1829), το Μον Ρεπό (1831), το Σωφρονιστήριο (1832), η Αναγνωστική Εταιρία Κερκύρας (1836), το Ψυχιατρείο (1838), η Ιονική Τράπεζα (1839), το Ιόνιο Γυμνάσιο (1839), ο Αγγλικανικός Ναός Αγίου Γεωργίου (1840), το Χρηματιστήριο/Μπόρσα (1841), η Ιόνιος Βουλή (1855) και τα κοιμητήρια – το Βρετανικό (1814) και το Καθολικό (1836).
Βασικός στόχος του του Ιδρύματος Κερκυραϊκής Κληρονομιάς, που ίδρυσε το 2000 ο Κόμης Σπύρος Φλαμπουριάρης, είναι η προβολή και προαγωγή της ελληνοαγλλικής φιλίας. Με πρωτοβουλία του ο Πρόεδρος προσκάλεσε τον Πρέσβη της Αυτής Μεγαλειόητας, κο Μάθιου Λοτζ, να επισκεφθεί την Κέρκυρα για να παρευρεθεί σε μία τέτοια εμβληματική εκδήλωση.
Από κοινού ο Λόρδος Τζέικομπ Ρόθτσαϊλντ και ο Κόμης Σπύρος Φλαμπουριάρης δώρησαν στο Ιόνιο Πανεπιστήμιο την προσωπογραφία (1830/2022) και το πτυχίο (1819) του Γκίλφορντ, ο ένθερμος φιλέλληνας, οραματιστής και ιδρυτής της Ιονίου Ακαδημίας το 1824. Τα δώρα αυτά αποδέχτηκε η Σύγκλητος του πανεπιστημίου με ευγνωμοσύνη και οργάνωσε σχετικά αποκαλυπτήρια στις 7 Μαΐου 2022 στην Πρυτανεία. Η εκδήλωση έλαβε χώρα με κάθε λαμπρότητα. Προηγήθηκε μουσική εποχής που παρουσίασε η Ιόνιος Καμεράτα, μετά απηύθυναν χαιρετισμό ο Πρύτανης, Καθηγητής Ανδρέας Φλώρος, ο Πρέσβης, κος Λότζ, και ο Πρόεδρος, Κόμης Φλαμπουριάρης. Στον σύντομο λόγο του ο Πρόεδρος επεσήμανε την αγάπη και των δύο δωρητών για την Κέρκυρα και την ανάγκη εξεύρεσης μιμητών τους προς υποστήριξη της κληρονομιάς της. Μετά έγιναν ομιλίες για την προσωπικότητα του Γκίλφορντ εκ μέρους του Πανεπιστημίου από την Ομότιμη Καθηγήτρια κα Ελένη Αγγελομάτη-Τσουγκαράκη και για την πολύτιμη δωρεά που εξασφάλισε δύο ιστορικά τεκμήρια για το μέλλον εκ μέρους του Ιδρύματος από τον Ιστορικό Τέχνης Δρα Μεγακλή Ρογκάκο.
Ο Πρέσβης κος Μάθιου Λοτζ φιλοξενήθηκε από τον Πρόεδρο στο Ξενοδοχείο Καβαλιέρι, πλησίον της Πρυτανίας, στην Άνω Σπιανάδα. Το μεσημέρι του Σαββάτου, ο Πρόεδρος φρόντισε ο Πρέσβης να επισκεφθεί την Αναγνωστική Εταιρία Κερκύρας, το αρχαιότερο φιλολογικό ίδρυμα της Ελλάδας, του οποίου τυγχάνει να είναι Επίτιμος Πρόεδρος. Τον Πρέσβη τίμησαν με την παρουσία τους οι Πρόεδρος της Εταιρίας κος Θανάσης Μακρής, Διευθυντής κος Δημήτρης Ζυμάρης και μέλη της Διοικητικής Επιτροπής – κα Μάρθα Αθηναίου, κα Τζόγια Προβατά, Δρ Δημήτρης Θεοτόκης και κος Σπύρος Ζηνιάτης. Ο κος Μακρής αναφέρθηκε στην ιστορία της Εταιρίας ως το παλαιότερο πνευματικό ίδρυμα της Ελλάδας, με αδιάλειπτη λειτουργία από το 1836, αναπτύσσοντας έναν κοινωνικό, μορφωτικό, πολιτικό και πατριωτικό χαρακτήρα και κατέχοντας σημαντική θέση στην πνευματική και κοινωνική ζωή του Ιονίου χώρου. Επίσης ανέφερε ότι στις συλλογές της Εταιρίας το Αρχείο Γκίλφορντ, που περιλαμβάνει μέρος της αλληλογραφίας που διατηρούσε ο Άγγλος φιλέλληνας με πολλές σημαίνουσες προσωπικότητες του ελληνισμού, κατέχει ξεχωριστή θέση.
Το πρωί της Κυριακής, 8 Μαΐου, ο Πρόεδρος συνόδευσε τον Πρέσβη σε επίσκεψή τους στο Μουσείο Καποδίστρια στην «Κουκουρίτσα», το κτήμα της οικογενείας στη μέση Κέρκυρα. Εκεί τον υποδέχθηκε ο Πρόεδρος του Μουσείου, κος Μακρής, και τον ξενάγησε στα εκθέματα ο Επιμελητής της συλλογής, κος Ζυμάρης. Στην ξενάγησή του ο Επιμελητής σημείωσε ότι το Μουσείο είναι το μοναδικό που αφιερώνεται στον μεγάλο Κερκυραίο, Έλληνα και Ευρωπαίο πολιτικό του 19ου αιώνα. Η ξενάγηση ακολούθησε την πορεία της ζωής του Καποδίστρια, σε μία αφήγηση που ξεκίνησε από τα παιδικά του χρόνια στην Κέρκυρα και κορυφώθηκε με τη δολοφονία του στο Ναύπλιο. Εμπνευσμένος από τη θαυμάσια εμπερία, ο Πρέσβης σημείωσε στο βιβλίο επισκεπτών τα εξής:
«Ένα όμορφα παρουσιασμένο μουσείο και ένα μνημείο για έναν πολύ εμπνευσμένο Ευρωπαίο πολιτικό. Είμαι πολύ ευγνώμων για αυτήν την ευκαιρία και προσφέρω τα θερμά μου συγχαρητήρια. Η ιστορία του Ιωάννη Καποδίστρια μας προσφέρει πολλά μαθήματα και παραδείγματα σήμερα. Ελπίζω και άλλοι να συνεχίσουν να μαθαίνουν για αυτόν τον αξιόλογο άνθρωπο και τη μοναδική συνεισφορά του στην ίδρυση του νεώτερου ελληνικού κράτους. Σας ευχαριστώ για το προνόμιο. Μάθιου Λοτζ, Πρέσβης της Αυτής Μεγαλειότητας, 8 Μαΐου 2022»
Ο Πρέσβης αποχώρησε από την Κέρκυρα με τις καλύτερες των εντυπώσεων δίδοντας στον Πρόεδρο τη δέσμευσή του ότι θα τον ενισχύσει στο όραμα του να φροντίζει την πολιτιστική γέφυρα μεταξύ Αγγλίας και Ελλάδας καθώς και την υπόσχεση ότι θα φέρει τις εκδηλώσεις για τη 200ή επέτειο της ίδρυσης του Πανεπιστημίου το 2024 υπό την αιγίδα της Βρετανικής Πρεσβείας στην Αθήνα.
Out of respect for the Corfu Reading Society, the oldest literary institution in Greece, the Corfu Heritage Foundation includes in its founding mission the purpose of supporting it technocratically and financially. The Flamburiari family has always been aiding the Society. In fact, Count Georgios L. Flamburiaris, who served as President of the Society during the periods 1921-1925, 1929-1930 and 1933-1935, took care of the purchase of the property that was to house the Society from 1930. Following the family tradition, Count Spiro Flamburiari, President of the Foundation, sponsored the Society mainly in the following areas: its contribution to the purchase of the manuscript Diary of the Siege of Corfu in 1716 in 2016; the contractual engagement of a Curator to compile a list of the art collection for the period 2017-2020; the financial support of the Director from 2020; refurbishment of the premises with the installation of an air conditioning system in 2016, the design and the construction of an elevator in 2021.
In 2020, at the suggestion of the Society, the Foundation commissioned the Corfiot painter and art conservator Spyros Sourtzinos to paint the portraits of Count and Countess Flamburiari, its great benefactors, in order to add these works to its collection. Count Flamburiari is a businessman of noble Ionian descent with a particular love for culture and the arts especially in Corfu. He published the book “Corfu: The Garden Isle” in 1994 and founded the Corfu Heritage Foundation in 2000. Countess Flamburiari has been a painter from an early age. She studied painting at Saint Martin’s School of Art and dress design at the Chelsea College of Arts. Sourtzinos based the works on photographs of the couple, but also had the opportunity to meet them in order to make relevant refinements. In both portraits, in addition to the naturalistic rendering of the faces, certain colours were highlighted in both the garments and the background – cold for the President of the Foundation and warm for his wife. The two portraits were created in such a way that they are presented together and complement each other.
The unveiling of the portraits took place at the Society during the scientific conference for the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution on 12 November 2021. Announcing the beginning of the conference, the President of the Society, Mr Thanasis Makris, mentioned its significance. He then referred to the valuable legacy of the Society but also to the challenges it faces in the 21st century, as well as to the extensive renovation works carried out in recent years, thanks to the “extremely generous sponsorship of Count Spiro Flamburiari, President of the Corfu Heritage Foundation, and his wife, Countess Milly Flamburiari”. As a first symbolic sign of recognition of benefaction, the Administrative Committee decided that the portraits of the Flamburiari couple should adorn the Society from now on.
1. Messrs Giannis S. Pieris and Thanasis Makris reveal the portraits of the Flamburiari couple at the Corfu Reading Society on 12 November 2021.
2. Spyros Sourtzinos (Corfu, b. 1948). Portrait of Spiro L. Flamburiari, 2020. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the Corfu Reading Society.
3. Spyros Sourtzinos (Corfu, b. 1948). Portrait of Milly Flamburiari, 2020. Oil on canvas, 50 x 40 cm. Courtesy of the Corfu Reading Society.
Αποκαλυπτήρια Προσωπογραφιών του Κυρίου και της Κυρίας Φλαμπουριάρη
Από σεβασμό στην Αναγνωστική Εταιρία Κερκύρας, το αρχαιότερο φιλολογικό ίδρυμα της Ελλάδας, το Ίδρυμα Κερκυραϊκής Κληρονομιάς περιλαμβάνει στην ιδρυτική αποστολή του τον σκοπό να το υποστηρίζει τεχνοκρατικά και οικονομικά. Η οικογένεια Φλαμπουριάρη πάντοτε στάθηκε αρωγός της Εταιρίας. Μάλιστα ο Κόμης Γεώργιος Λ. Φλαμπουριάρης, που διετέλεσε Πρόεδρος της Εταιρίας κατά τις περιόδους 1921-1925, 1929-1930 και 1933-1935, φρόντισε για την αγορά του ακινήτου που έμελε να τη στεγάσει από το 1930. Ακολουθώντας την οικογενειακή παράδοση, ο κύριος Σπύρος Φλαμπουριάρης, Πρόεδρος του Ιδρύματος, χορήγησε την Εταιρία κυρίως στους εξής τομείς: τη συμβολή του στην αγορά του χειρογράφου Ημερολογίου της Πολιορκίας της Κερκύρας του 1716το 2016· τη σύμβαση σε Επιμελητή να συντάξει κατάλογο της συλλογής τέχνης την περίοδο 2017-2020· την οικονομική υποστήριξη του εκάστοτε Διευθυντού από το 2019· την ανακαίνιση χώρων της με εγκατάσταση συστήματος κλιματισμού το 2016 και τον σχεδιασμό και την κατασκευή ανελκυστήρα το 2021.
Το 2020, με πρόταση της Εταιρίας, το Ίδρυμα ανέθεσε στον Κερκυραίο ζωγράφο και συντηρητή έργων τέχνης Σπύρο Σουρτζίνο να φιλοτεχνήσει τις προσωπογραφίες του ζεύγους Σπύρου και Μίλλυς Φλαμπουριάρη, μεγάλους ευεργέτες της, με σκοπό τα εν λόγω έργα να προστεθούν στη συλλογή της. Ο κύριος Φλαμπουριάρης είναι ένας επιχειρηματίας ευγενούς επτανησιακής καταγωγής με ιδιαίτερη αγάπη για τον πολιτισμό και τις τέχνες ιδιαίτερα στην Κέρκυρα. Εξέδωσε το βιβλίο «Κέρκυρα: Η Νήσος Κήπος» το 1994 και ίδρυσε το Ίδρυμα Κερκυραϊκής Κληρονομιάς το 2000. Η κυρία Φλαμπουριάρη είναι ζωγράφος από μικρή. Σπούδασε ζωγραφική στη Σχολή Τέχνης Σαιντ Μάρτινς και ενδυματολογική σχεδίαση στο Κολλέγιο Τεχνών Τσέλσυ. Ο Σουρτζίνος βάσισε τις δύο προσωπογραφίες σε φωτογραφίες των εικονιζομένων, αλλά είχε και την ευκαιρία να τους συναντήσει ώστε να προβεί σε σχετικές εκλεπτύνσεις. Σε αμφότερα τα έργα, πέρα από τη νατουραλιστική απόδοση των προσώπων, τονίστηκαν τόσο στο ένδυμα όσο και στο φόντο τα αγαπημένα χρώματά τους – ψυχρά για τον Πρόεδρο του Ιδρύματος και θερμά για τη ζωγράφο σύζυγό του. Οι δύο προσωπογραφίες φιλοτεχνήθηκαν κατά τέτοιο τρόπο ώστε να παρουσιάζονται μαζί και να συμπληρώνουν η μία την άλλη.
Τα αποκαλυπτήρια των προσωπογραφιών πραγματοποιήθηκαν στην Εταιρία κατά το επιστημονικό συνέδριο για τη 200ή επέτειο της Ελληνικής Επανάστασης στις 12 Νοεμβρίου 2021. Κηρύσσοντας την έναρξη του συνεδρίου ο Πρόεδρος της Εταιρίας, κύριος Θανάσης Μακρής, αναφέρθηκε στη σημασία του. Εν συνεχεία, αναφέρθηκε στην πολύτιμη παρακαταθήκη της Εταιρίας αλλά και στις προκλήσεις που αντιμετωπίζει στον 21ο αιώνα, καθώς και στα εκτεταμένα έργα ανακαίνισης που έγιναν τα τελευταία χρόνια, χάρη στην «εξαιρετικά γενναιόδωρη χορηγία του κυρίου Σπύρου Φλαμπουριάρη, Προέδρου του Ιδρύματος Κερκυραϊκής Κληρονομιάς, και της ζωγράφου συζύγου του, κυρίας Μίλλυς Φλαμπουριάρη». Ως μία πρώτη συμβολική ένδειξη αναγνώρισης της ευεγερσίας τους η Διοικητική Επιτροπή απεφάσισε οι προσωπογραφίες του ζεύγους Φλαμπουριάρη να κοσμούν από εδώ και στο εξής την Εταιρία.
1. Οι κύριοι Γιάννης Σ. Πιέρης και Θανάσης Μακρής αποκαλύπτουν τις προσωπογραφίες του ζεύγους Φλαμπουριάρη, στην Αναγνωστική Εταιρία Κερκύρας, στις 12 Νοεμβρίου 2021.
2. Σπύρος Σουρτζίνος (Κέρκυρα, γ. 1948). Προσωπογραφία Σπύρου Λ. Φλαμπουριάρη, 2020. Λάδι σε καμβά, 50 x 40 εκ. Παραχώρηση της Αναγνωστικής Εταιρίας Κερκύρας.
3. Σπύρος Σουρτζίνος (Κέρκυρα, γ. 1948). Προσωπογραφία Μίλλυς Φλαμπουριάρη, 2020. Λάδι σε καμβά, 50 x 40 εκ. Παραχώρηση της Αναγνωστικής Εταιρίας Κερκύρας.
The French Occupation of Corfu – 1797-1799 & 1807-1814
By Frank Giles
On 8 May 1797, following Napoleon Bonaparte’s brilliant campaign in Northern Italy, the Venetian Senate signified its readiness to accept the conqueror’s terms. La Serenissima had politically ceased to exist and its empire lay open to the first taker. Napoleon was in no doubt who that should be. He always considered, to the point of obsession, that the Ionian Islands, Corfu principal among them, were the key to the Eastern Mediterranean and thus to the route to the Orient. Accordingly he hastened to take possession of Corfu and the other islands, employing the artful ruse of combining a French fleet with a Venetian convoy, the ships sailing under the Venetian flag.
When the fleet arrived at the end of June 1797 French troops, under the command of the Corsican general Gentili, were initially well received. Most of the population welcomed the promise of new liberties and an end to the power of aristocracy. These feelings did not last very long. The newcomers caused much offence by appointing two Jews to the Municipal Council, as well as by their disrespectful attitude towards religion, which included – horror of horrors – the mocking of St Spyridon.
Yet this first French occupation, formalised by the Treaty of Campo Formio’s transfer of sovereignty to France, brought some tangible benefits. In May 1798 the French installed in Corfu the first printing press to be known in Greece. They also abolished the feudal system, burnt the Libro d’Oro, laid down plans for improved education and substituted Greek for Italian as the official language (though this last edict had no particular effect until much later).
But none of this was enough to win the cooperation of the islanders, who soon discovered that these revolutionary French were just as penniless and just as inclined to impose taxes as the Venetians. When therefore Russia and Turkey joined the second coalition against France and dispatched a combined fleet to reconquer the islands, their troops found in some of them a ready welcome. Corfu, with its French garrison, proved a tougher nut to crack. Only after several months’ siege and some fierce engagement did the French commander Chabot admit himself beaten. When Russian troops entered Corfu town in March 1799, they were enthusiastically greeted and the church bells pealed. The tactful Russian commander, Admiral Ushakov, proceeded immediately to St Spyridon’s church, there to give thanks for the victory.
For the next seven years, the seven islands enjoyed the status of an independent federal state – the Septinsular Republic – under the protection of Russia, but paying tribute to Constantinople. It was a curious and unnatural arrangement. […] By 1807 the Franco-Russian Treaty of Tilsit had restored the islands to French rule.
This second French occupation (1807-1814) was marked first by the wise and humane rule of Governor-General Donzelot (one of the main streets in Corfu town, bordering the harbour, is called after him), and second by the conquest of the southern Ionian Islands by the British and by their not very energetic blockade of Corfu. The executive powers were administered by the French Governor-General and the Senate, which in 1807 appointed a government limited to three ministers: Finance – Count Sordinas, Home Affairs – Count Flamburiari, Justice and Public Order – Count Karatzas. Donzelot remained firmly in control of the islands, and by these reforms and efficient administration made France as popular as before she had been unpopular. This time not only was St Spyridon not ridiculed, but his processions were carried out with proper respect and splendour. Newspapers were published, the Ionian Academy for the Encouragement of the Arts and Sciences founded, agriculture improved, and the whole system of government, still based upon mediaeval Venetian laws overhauled. Under the direction of Mathieu de Lesseps (father of the future creator of the Suez Canal), work began on building “Liston” on the north side of the Esplanade, the handsome houses rising above arcades, which recall the Rue de Rivoli in Paris.
Napoleon’s abdication in 1814 was followed by a tightening of the British blockade. Donzelot held out until the receipt of an order from the restored Louis XVIII to give way, and on 21 June 1814 Corfu came under the control of the British troops. […] Finally, in November 1815, a Treaty was signed in Paris under which the seven islands were defined as constituting “a single free and independent state under the exclusive protection of His Britannic Majesty”.
[Frank Giles, “History: The British Protectorate” in Corfu: The Garden Isle. London, UK: John Murray, 1994, pp 45-46]
This presentation is curated by Megakles Rogakos, MA MA PhD
The Corfu Heritage Foundation, under the auspices and with the support of the Region of Ionian Islands and with the collaboration of the Municipality of Corfu, the Ionian University and the Cultural Foundation of Tinos, presents the art exhibition “Hymn to Liberty” curated by Art HistorianDr Megakles Rogakos.
Desiring to promote the role of the national poet Dionysios Solomos (1798-1857) in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, which concerns the liberation of the nation from the Ottoman yoke and the creation of an independent nation state, the Region of Ionian Islands brought under its auspices events bearing the general title “Hymn to Liberty”. Part of these events, which include lectures and concerts, are two art exhibitions curated by Dr Rogakos – “Hymn to Liberty”, a historical exhibition at the Municipal Gallery of Corfu (4 – 31 August 2021) and “Ex-Staseis: Attempts at the Representation of Liberty”, an exhibition of contemporary art at the Cultural Foundation of Tinos (10 July – 10 September 2021).
The historical exhibition “Hymn to Liberty” includes the following sections of portraits: 1) important personalities of the Neohellenic Enlightenment: Rigas Velestinlis, Antonios Martelaos, Andreas Kalvos and Adamantios Korais; 2) of the leaders of the national anthem: Dionysios Solomos and Nikolaos Halikiopoulos-Mantzaros; 3) all the central heroes of the Struggle of Independence: the “Greeks” series by Adam Friedel and the sculptural busts and statues by George Megoulas; 4) Ioannis Kapodistrias by Sir Thomas Lawrence; and 5) central figures of the Philhellenism: Lord Byron and Jean-Gabriel Eynard. In addition, it presents depictions of important moments of the Struggle – the Siege of Nafplio (1821), the Fall of Tripolitsa (1821), the Exodus of Missolonghi (1826); and the Battle of Navarino (1827). Remarkable is the presentation of the monumental “Charta of Greece” by Rigas Velestinlis by François Müller in its full development with twelve parts at 200 x 210 cm, with the kind permission of the Gennadius Library. Finally, it is also worth mentioning the inclusion of the View of the Strada Reale in Corfu (1836) by Samuel Prut, which gives a rare picture of the period, with the kind permission of the Varkarakis Philhellenic Collection, Athens.
The album that accompanies the exhibition is a wide tribute to the national anniversary of 1821. It includes studies on the Greek Revolution by experts (Spyros Nicolaou, Nikolaos Kourkoumelis and Helena Matheopoulos), a presentation of the ancestors, heroes and supporters of the Rebirth (Megakles Rogakos, Georgios Kentroti and Xeni Baloti) and special research, supported by the Region of Ionian Islands, on the role of the Heptanese in the National Liberation Struggle (Giannis Pieris for Corfu, Katerina Demeti for Zakynthos, Theodora Zafeiratou for Kefalonia; Maria Roussou & Maria Tassopoulou for Lefkada, Machi Paizi-Apostolopoulou for Ithaca, Eleni Harou-Koronaiou for Kythira; and Spyros Bogdanos for Paxoi). The second part, which concerns the exhibition of contemporary art entitled “Ex-Staseis”, includes a treatise and a brief commentary on each exhibit by the curator of the exhibition. It is developed in 200 pages and is offered at the symbolic price of 20 € and is available in two languages – Greek and English.
The co-organisers of the events with the general title “Hymn to Liberty” – the Ionian Islands Region, the Municipality of Corfu, the Ionian University, the Corfu Heritage Foundation and the Cultural Foundation of Tinos – express their gratitude to the Piraeus Bank, the Aegeas Non Profit Company and Marina, Lady Marks.
Opening: The opening of the exhibition will take place at the Municipal Gallery of Corfu on Wednesday, 4 August 2021, at 20:00.
Exhibition Hours: The exhibition will be open to the public from 4 to 31 August 2021 – Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00-16:00 (except Mondays and holidays).
CHANIA.- The Contemporary Art Museum of Chania – Olivepress presents the exhibition Britannia – Pallas: The Twilight of the Idols. The particular presentation is a continuation of the exhibition Prossalendi’s “Britannia” that the Corfu Heritage Foundation organised for the Corfu Festival 2018.
The exhibition’s title refers to the romantic tradition of neoclassicism that covers Prossalendi and the pairing of Athena Pallas and Britannia, two goddesses that are rather intertwined. The subtitle “The Twilight of the Idols” is ideally suited since Britannia in the late 20th and early 21st century is likely on its last legs.
The source of inspiration of the works of the exhibition is the sculptural group that was designed by Paolo Prossalendi (1784-1837) and crowned the façade of the Palace of St Michael and St George in Corfu during the period 1823-1864. The concept and coordination of the exhibition is by Dr Megakles Rogakos and its curation was extended to four research associates – Mr Ioannis N. Arhontakis, Ms Georgia Damianou, Ms Georgia Kourkounaki and Dr Constantinos V. Proimos. The Curators commissioned distinguished contemporary artists – Greek and foreign – to recreate their own version of Prossalendi’s Britannia through their personal visual idiom and vocabulary. So, the exhibition features 35 works by an equivalent number of artists, who are the following: Emmanouil Bitsakis, Lamprini Boviatsou, Thodoros Brouskomatis, Ricardo Cinalli, Dimosthenis Gallis, Milly Flamburiari, Nikos Giavropoulos, Ken Howard, Marion Inglessi, Yanna Kali, Stella Kapezanou, Aris Katsilakis, Harris Kondosphyris & Panagiotis Kyratsis, Alexandros Maganiotis, Georgia Matsamaki, Dimitris Merantzas, Alkistis Michaelidou, Ioannis Monogyios, Nicholas Moore, Konstantinos Pardalis, K. N. Patsios, Aglaia Perraki, Artemis Potamianou, Natassa Poulantza, Irene Pouliassi, Vagelis Robolas, Margot Roulleau-Gallais, Dimitris Skourogiannis, Anna-Maria Smyrnaki, Aris Stoidis, Shubha Taparia, Yorgos Taxiarchopoulos, Olga Tobreluts and Amikam Toren.
Britannia – Pallas will be presented at the Contemporary Art Museum of Chania – Olivepress between 25 July and 26 September 2021.
Accompanying Catalogue: A fully-illustrated 130-page catalogue, including an essay by Dr Rogakos on Prossalendi’s Britannia and comments on all the contemporary works by Mr Ioannis N. Arhontakis, Ms Georgia Damianou, Ms Georgia Kourkounaki and Dr Constantinos V. Proimos, is published by the Corfu Heritage Foundation (ISBN: 978-618-83770-0-4).
● Public Information Title: Britannia – Pallas: The Twilight of the Idols Coordination: Dr Megakles Rogakos Curators: Ioannis N. Arhontakis, Georgia Damianou, Georgia Kourkounaki and Dr Constantinos V. Proimos. Opening: Sunday, 25 July 2021, 11:00 – 19:00. Duration: 25 July – 26 September 2021. Venue: Contemporary Art Museum of Chania – Olivepress, Dromonero, 73002 Chania, Greece. Opening Hours: every Sunday, 11:00 – 19:00 & daily upon arrangement. Communication: Mr Ioannis Arhontakis, +30 6937 383 500, email@example.com. Visuals: www.corfuheritagefoundation.org/britannia-pallas
Her Excellency President of the Hellenic Republic, Mrs Katerina Sakellaropoulou, and the Governor of the Ionian Islands, Mrs Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, are being welcomed by Count Spiro Flamburiari at the entrance of the Cavalieri Hotel. The President stayed at the Cavalieri Hotel for two days, the 20th and 21st of May 2021, during her visit to celebrate the Unification of the Ionian Islands with Greece. The Governor offered a dinner in honour of the President on the Roof Garden of the Cavalieri Hotel on the evening of the 20th of May.
Count Flamburiari remarked, “It was a great honour and pleasure to welcome the President of the Hellenic Republic at the Cavalieri Hotel. The personality of Mrs Sakellaropoulou made a great impression on all of us. She has a charming personality, a delightful appearance and a down-to-earth attitude”.
The Cultural Foundation of Tinos in collaboration with the Corfu Heritage Foundation presents the visual art exhibition “Ex-Staseis: Attempts at the Representation of Liberty” curated by Art Historian Dr Megakles Rogakos.
Rationale: On the occasion of celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821, which concerns the liberation of the nation from the Ottoman yoke and the creation of an independent nation state, the issue of liberty stands out. The Region of Ionian Islands aimed to promote the role of the national poet Dionysios Solomos with events that bear the general title “Hymn to Liberty”. Part of these events, which include lectures and concerts, are two visual art exhibitions curated by Dr Rogakos – “Hymn to Liberty”, a historical exhibition at the Municipal Gallery of Corfu (4 – 31 August 2021), and “Ex-Staseis: Attempts at the Representation of Liberty”, an exhibition of contemporary art at the Cultural Foundation of Tinos (10 July – 10 September 2021).
Facts: The Ex-Staseis exhibition is thematic and concerns the evolving conception of liberty, as defined in the past and shaped by the present. The concept of liberty is multifaceted and lends itself to philosophical analysis. In the colonial past, the subject of liberty was morally instructive with the specific aim of eliminating the enslaving yoke, which was a necessary condition for the creation of an independent state with free citizens. At present, in an increasingly materialistic age, the subject is mainly about inner liberty, that is, the independence of thought and action from the gravity of authorities, superstitions, superstitions and prejudices. Looking at the cultural history of the world, only a few facts about liberty stand out. This exhibition explores the origins and evolution of the idea of liberty and examines its current significance, based on these facts.
Explanation: The ttile Ex-Staseis is a witticism, etymologically derived from the composite verb existimi (ek + istimi), which means an intense mystical experience in which the mystic eliminates contact with reality and the world of the senses and is interested in the spirit and direct communication with the divine element. Here, it has the character of a word pun that works the same in Greek and English. It means the transgression, the state of coming out of oneself, which supposedly occurs when one experiences the essence of freedom. The poster of the exhibition presents the ptinopous, the mythological human foot of Hermes that bears feathers and enables him to exceed the possibilities of walking. Here, it is of interest for the paradoxical but interesting combination of the foot as a point of contact with the earth and the wings that lift it from the ground. In this way it refers to the term ex-staseis of the exhibition, as a means of transgression from material reality towards spiritual liberation.
Works:The Ex-Staseis include works by contemporary Greek artists on the subject of the current dimension of the concept of freedom. 40 artists present one work each that will emerge from their research on the ecstasy that leads to intellectual freedom as transcending the boundaries of space and time. The artists are: Manolis Anastasakos, Annita Argyroiliopoulou, Nikos Basias, Thomas Bertolis, Ismini Bonatsou, Lamprini Boviatsou, Thodoros Brouskomatis, Manolis Charos, Kyriakos Chatzimichailidis, Costis, Alexandros Dimitriadis, Milly Flamburiari, Dimosthenis Gallis, Christos Garoufalis, Nikos Giavropoulos, Stella Kapezanou, Vassilis Karakatsanis, Harris Kondosphyris, Aggelika Korovessi, Vassiliki Koskiniotou, Nikos Kryonidis, Kostas Lavdas, Agalis Manessi, Panayiotis Masonidis, George Megoulas, Dimitris Miliotis, Ioannis Monogyios, Konstantinos Patsios, Margarita Petrova, Lena Platonos, Marina Provatidou, Rania Rangou, Dimitris Sevastakis, Vassilis Solidakis, Tita Stavrou, Petros Stravoravdis, Praxitelis Tzanoulinos, Katia Varvaki, Chryssa Vathianaki and Andreas Zymvragos. The works were selected based also on the criterion to be representative of the latest trends in international contemporary artistic production.
Album: The album that accompanies the exhibition is a broad tribute to the national anniversary of 1821. It includes studies on the Greek Revolution, presentation of the forerunners and heroes of the National Rebirth and special research, supported by the Region of Ionian Islands, on the role of the Heptanese in the National Liberation Struggle. The second part, which concerns the Ex-Staseis, includes a treatise and a brief commentary on each exhibit by the curator of the exhibition. It is offered at the symbolic price of 20 € and is available in two languages - Greek and English.
Additional Action: In the context of the exhibition, educational activities will be carried out for children, teenagers and the general public.
Sponsorship: The co-organisers of the events with the general title “Hymn to Liberty” – Region of Ionian Islands, Ionian University, Cultural Foundation of Tinos and Corfu Heritage Foundation – express their gratitude to the Piraeus Bank for the sponsorship.
Opening Day: The opening of the exhibition will take place on Saturday, 10 July 2021 at 20:00 in the Nikolaos Gyzis Exhibition Hall of ITIP.
Opening Time: The exhibition will remain open to the public until 10 September 2021 – Mon, Wed, Thu: 09:00-15:00, Fri-Sun: 10:30-14:00 & 19:00-21:00.
Contact: Cultural Foundation of Tinos, Akti Georgiou Drosou, Tinos, GR 84200, +30 22830 229070, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In his work Liberty, Manolis Anastasakos before 1933 converses with a work of the same title by Constantinos Parthenis (1878-1967) as a visual ancestor. He recognizes the virtues of the old work and updates them. He carries liberty in today’s era in its terms. He refers to a triune shape: nature as floral decoration, society as machine gears, and god as the key. Liberty resides in nature with the abundance of fruit, the changes in the weather and the succession of the seasons. The floral decoration frames the right side of the work. For liberty to thrive the material environment of society must encourage it. That is why, machine gears balance the other side of the composition. Liberty opens doors. At the top hangs a key from a blue ribbon. It is derived from the divine, outside the frame. For Anastasakos liberty is an archangelic figure without gender, a Renaissance force which promises hope in a dark era. Beyond the earthy palette, which symbolises the organic dimension of life, he adds white and black tones, which refer to the harsh contrast of modern technology. Liberty seeks in the sky something superior, unattainable, a utopia. Anastasakos’ work refers to the ascetic condition where the realisation of liberty depends on the harmonious assembly of its three modes of existence.
Inspired by the biological edge of a teenager who comes of age, the Little Before of Annita Argyroiliopoulou presents the figure of a human body ready to fly. The moment still finds it on the earth, in a position similar to that which the birds take when they open their wings. On her back she grows branches, not like in the myth of Daphne, but to become wings that will allow her to fly away. Light, not compact material, the branches are structural elements of nature, which start from the solid earth and grow upwardly. Here the feather-branches become the farewell of the mother, the wish for the adolescent to fly away towards the liberty of adulthood that resides within her. The work condenses a moment, but at the same time contains the before and after. The frame is not a barrier literally or metaphorically, since shortly afterwards the winged adult will find herself beyond that, where she will travel by every respective viewer that converses with the work. Besides the wings-branches are already growing and exceeding the limits of the stretcher. The flight to the unchartered areas of liberty is inevitable and its realisation is only a matter of time.
Cypriot cynic philosopher Demonax (c. 100-170 AD) reported that “the truly happy man is only the free one”. That substantial happiness can well be discerned in the particular Statue of Liberty that Thomas Thomopoulos erected at Profitis Elias, Chania, in 1937. The face of the goddess Athena once shone with a smile of satisfaction and the originally coloured huge blue eyes. Unfortunately, since 1968 it lies scattered in the area where it once proudly stood. The Chaniot photographer Nikos Basias was interested in this important statue. In his work he composed its story through historical and contemporary photographs in the form of a puzzle. In the centre of the composition he placed a photograph of the intact marble model that is kept in the Prefecture Hall of Chania. In various strategic positions, he used three photographs of the archive – one from the workshop at the moment that the sculptor is making the statue; another where the sculptor supervises its erection with scaffolding on the ground; and finally of a colourful postcard that presents it complete in its environment. Additionally, he completed the history with photographs from the shards of the statue as they are laid on the site. He took care especially the parts of the legs, the shield and face to match with corresponding points of the model. Although the pieces of the puzzle are presented as evidence of history with gaps between them, they give a unified image of the situation and beg for the moral restoration of the statue and the mental defence of liberty. The magnifying lens of the photographer focuses on the engraved word “liberty” as the supreme ideal of Demonax.
Pegasus was the full white winged horse of Greek mythology. Legends abound about his supernatural origins and his wild and proud nature. The very ability of flight is always considered a universal symbol of liberty and the free spirit. Despite symbolising the idea of untamed free spirit, Pegasus was domesticated by Bellerophon in order to help him defeat the evil Chimera. However, he remained free in his heart and wise beyond human understanding. Thomas Bertholis was interested in Pegasus as an idol that combines fantasy with liberty. With a spontaneous zest for creation he modelled a winged horse starting from the ancient Greek idea updated with the current standard of automatic expression. Thus, while Pegasus has the characteristics of the being which composes a horse with the wings of the eagle, he is indifferent to the morphological imitation of nature. Guided by a spirit of pure love and style of child naivety, the artist seems to have modelled his own Pegasus with shut eyes and open the third eye of intuition. The result was an organic whole with strong legs that ground it steadily on the earth, banner-like wings that flutter decoratively and a tail like a rudder guiding his orientation. The pyramidal structure terminates with his head turned towards the sky. Made with a good heart and full emotion, this particular Pegasus becomes synonymous with the concept of liberty.
Ismini Bonatsou believes that for the enslaved human the moment of acquiring the much-coveted liberty means ecstasy as divine transgression. This is the condition that Greece experienced when she rebelled against the Ottoman Empire in 1821 after four centuries of slavery. Thus, she wanted in her work to depict the moment of the transition from the event of victory to the state of absolute liberty. She chose to compose two symbols recognisable as Grecian with an ecumenical dimension. The basis of her work became the national flag of the 1st Hellenic Republic since 1822, with a white cross against a blue background. In the centre of the composition she placed the famous female figure from a photograph of Nelly’s, the Russian dancer Lila Nikolska, taken on the Acropolis of Athens, in November 1930. The work of the Asia Minor-born Nelly’s (1899-1998) is characterised by beauty, awareness and liberty. This particular photograph with the naked dancer in the air, well balanced with all the limbs of the body and gossamer veil forming an aura around her, was epoch-making and was admired in the Western world. This moment, for Bonatsou, is the ultimate personification of ecstasy. In her design, her black and white veil acquires blue highlights from the flag of victory. And the wonderful significance of ecstasy in the figure allows a slight upward shift of the flag’s holy cross. Viewed from nearby the flag indicates a wrinkled surface, a hint that liberty is acquired by fight, effort and struggle.
Lamprini Boviatsou is an Athenian who became an artist in Chania. As a child, she saw in her neighbourhood, in a part of the park, the fragments of an oversized statue left to their fate, which challenged her to reconstruct them. Seeking to learn the history of the statue, she noticed that the central axis of all the narratives was its modernist and paradoxical diversity, which provoked reactions and led to its destruction. The monumental sculpture, 17 metres high, was created in 1937 by the Smyrnaean sculptor Thomas Thomopoulos. It was erected on Profitis Elias and was facing towards the west of the city of Chania. It portrayed liberty as the goddess Athena and was dedicated to the liberation of Greece from the Ottoman yoke. With its monumental size it was visible from the ships that approached the port of the city. The sculptor from 1900 painted the marble in keeping with the practice of the ancients. Specifically, the Statue of Liberty had caused a sensation because it had huge blue eyes. The local community did not accept the statue and there were many critical comments that were published in the local press. It is said that it was destroyed by bad weather in 1968, but it more likely fell victim to the bad energy of the enemies of liberty, the junta in Greece. This story with the very symbolism that governs it and in fact at a time when everything in the world has been overturned, victimising above all the concept and the experience of liberty, impelled the artist to a desperate attempt to reconstruct the broken liberty within us. Because, while liberty takes effort and time to establish itself, an unfortunate moment may be enough for its collapse. It is even more difficult to restore it later. Through the strong light of its background, decisively emerges the figure of Liberty. Her rescued fragments are completed, where necessary, by limbs of the artist’s own body. A strange being emerged. The creator’s intention was not beauty, but vigilance about the defence of liberty, which is summed up in the reflections on her shield.
Thodoros Brouskomatis is keen on a pastiche of visual diachronicity and intertextuality. He appropriates a classical canvas to speak about the future via the past. For Artificial Liberty, he uses a characteristic work of Claude Lorrain entitled View of the Seaport of 1633, which is the result of the painter’s visionary landscape painting in a baroque mannerism. The landscape is flanked on the left by the upright remnant of an ancient temple and on the right by the wild nature that knows that the universe in due course will be subject to its power. The seaport hosts scattered galleys, even around a medieval tower that defines the centre of the picture. In the foreground, two sailors are flirting with a local woman. This familiar scene is orientalised by a conceptually incongruous collage. An airplane dominates the sky, peacocks decorate the vegetation, and oversized hibisci and a sterlitzia animate the forestage. Opposite the temple a censored pornstar of the Far East scandalises the viewers. On the top of the tower rises the Statue of Liberty of New York with the light of its torch radiating in the absolute centre of the composition. The mixing of disparate elements distorts the place and time, causing dizziness and chaos around the central reference point. Under the auspices of liberty, the lustful ecstasy anticipates lazily and defiantly its own exoneration.
The poet Michalis Katsaros (1919-1998) was a representative of the first post-war generation of Greek literature. He belonged to the romantic communists and wrote poems under the prims of the left wing politics. Being poor and downtrodden, he chose to live a totally ascetic life. His poem entitled My Covenant (1953) speaks with popular immediacy about the resistance that every man respecting himself must pursue towards everyday life, humility, servitude, solemnity, alienation, even the ascetic proposal of this very poem. Stripped from all the hypocrisy of social conventions, readers may put on Liberty – a dress that is a challenge for its huge size and unbearable weight. The film director Kyriakos Chatzimihailidis transferred the poetic work into a video to the delight of the viewers and the audience. With simple cinematic means – the graphics of the repeated imperative word as a background to the Dorian voice that recites the poem against The Rite of Spring (1913) of Igor Stravinsky – he announces to all the potential heirs of the covenant the ideal of Liberty.
Dionysios Solomos in his work Dialogue, which he wrote in Zakynthos in 1824, says, “It calls for more than instructive words to avail a people, who fight for liberty which they lost for centuries, and create monsters! There are two flames, O teacher, one in the mind, the other in the heart, lit by nature in some people, who in different eras treat them in different ways to enjoy the same results”. This sentence is, for Manolis Charos, the definition of passion for liberty like the poet describes his dialogue with the most erudite one, with an intellectual of his time. In the 19th century the demand for liberty, a furthering of the demand for happiness as the French Revolution put it, runs through the people of Europe. Solomos highlights the relationship of liberty to the language of the people. He degrades the scholars who “fight for a reward to raise the language”, while he gives a major role to the informal and spontaneous language of the heroes who “shed their blood underneath the Cross to liberate us”. Furthermore, with reference to the flame, Solomos argues that the high struggle for liberty is a concern of the man that has an active mind and a healthy heart. This bipole had been indicated initially by Thales of Miletus who ruled that happy is the man “who is healthy by body, and wealthy by soul”. In his composition, Charos presents the two flames in a diagonal arrangement individually but also tangentially.
Believing that liberty is the highest good, for which every sacrifice is worthwhile, Andreas Kalvos wrote the legendary verse “liberty demands both virtue and audacity”. Costis is inspired by this verse in order to conceptually approach the issue of liberty that is acquired through struggles. He composes a work from found materials from the everyday life of a man of the sea and a scientist. A blue tiller, a lever that rotates the steering wheel in a boat, bears the name “Kalvos” and is based upright onto a square base that is oriented to the four cardinal points. On a wooden circular protractor he inscribes the said verse. Suspended diametrically by a loop, the protractor is hovering from the top of the tiller as a compass of some other orientation – internal, mental and divine. The public is invited to put the circle around its axis into motion in order to read the verse. The work defines the universal and timeless value of liberty through this free but also defined spin. With such directness and simplicity Costis familiarises the audience with the philosophy of liberty, which invites people to reflect on its significance and play an active role in its defence.
With The Dream of Liberty Alexandros Dimitriadis presents an imaginary landscape in a theatre setting. Straight tree trunks flank a serene sea. In the background, on both sides, there are mountains reminiscent of the two hemispheres of the human brain. A volcanic mass prevents the view of the horizon. As if just escaping from a fairy tale, in the centre of the picture appears a tiny Lilliputian figure trying to balance upright onto the back of a disproportionately larger bird with wide-open wings. Obviously, with eyelids lowered, the Lilliputian figure is dreaming between sleep and wakefulness. All seem as if time has stopped. He dreams of flying! The tendency of man to liberty is innate and of vital significance. The American “Great Agnostic” Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899) wrote, “What light is to the eyes – what air is to the lungs – what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man”. Throughout the history of man, the search for liberty seems to be an elusive dream. Who is the truly free person? Liberty is an ecstatic experiential knowledge through innumerable paths of life. The Lilliputian figure of childhood innocence and the bird of the primal purity of the soul is that dream. Without this dream, life becomes an event of empty meaning, a hollow vessel thrown into infinity. Every human is potentially a protagonist in the dream of liberty.
Contemplating a contemporary way of depicting the concept of liberty, Milly Flamburiari thought of updating the iconic Statue of Liberty (1875-1886) of Bartholdi, which presides in the namesake islet at the entrance of the port of New York. Since its inauguration it was made a symbol of maternal hospitality and hope for the banished, persecuted and immigrants everywhere, and an emblem of the United States of America, as a country that promotes liberty and human rights. The artist appropriated the contour of the sculpture – the Roman goddess Libertas on a pedestal, wearing a long tunic and crown with seven rays and holding on her raised hand the torch of Enlightenment and clutching on the other the tablet of the Declaration of Independence. In the interior of the internationally recognizable outline she chose to present an image of the opposite of its symbolism, namely non-liberty, as an ironic statement about its timelessly unfulfilled realisation, especially under the adverse contemporary conditions. Thus, she thought instinctively of the Coronavirus, the pandemic that caused a serious respiratory syndrome in humans when it was first detected in the city of Wuhan, China, in December 2019 and until 2021 tyrannised humanity with loss of life, social exclusion and financial disaster. Of course, in order to entertain the macabre theme of the pandemic, she used one of the extremely attractive digital images of the specific virus that stands out with psychedelic nuances against a bloody background.
In his work entitled Liberation, Dimosthenis Gallis presents a metallic twisting staircase of an exterior space obliquely with a clear reference to the DNA helix, the structure of genetic material of chromosomes with unique characteristics that define any living organism. In the opposite upper part of the picture the feet of the man who acquired wings are just discernible, with reference to the Ptenopus (Winged-Foot) Hermes, the agile psychopompos. Although this composition could well comprise a metaphorical depiction of death, it refers rather to the liberation of consciousness, of the true essence of the person from the tyrannical mind. Through constant psychotherapeutic working with oneself, the person may tame the mind as the seat of the passions, of experiences, of obsessions and restrictive thoughts and feelings. Without it he is a prisoner of the weight of his existence. The practice of the psychoanalytic act reveals the invisible side of the analysed individual, which is all the most genuine within him. Psychologists and psychiatrists still use today the ancient Socratic irony and the maieutic method to make man confront the truth that would release him. Liberty is a universal good that is not given away but earned through painstaking and constant struggle. Every small conquest constitutes a step on the spiralling staircase of the person’s evolutionary course.
Christos Garoufalis believes that knowledge, when it contributes to awareness, is the most authoritative passport for the transgression that leads to spiritual liberty. This message is both timely and timeless. So the painter himself is gazing at his own life with poetic disposition and ascetic simplicity. With divine inspiration and excellent technique, he stages the Liberty Road – three reverently selected books are available on the windowsill of a dark room with a window that overlooks the sunny valley and a bird fluttering in the heart of the sky. This life-giving light source, that is the sun, renders the whole world noticeable – the potential users of the road, the shadowy awareness, the transcendental window, the golden desert and the nebulised soul. The feathery friend in the middle of the composition encapsulates and summarises the ability of people to perceive, to claim and to gain liberty. The window is a common threshold for all people – a very valuable element of self-knowledge, but also a means for the passage of each one from the darkness to the light. This passage, however, is a complete odyssey. Clearly it concerns a wishful thinking that is easy to say, but hard to achieve. Besides, “liberty demands both virtue and audacity”. The melancholy that the whole of the work exudes captures the nostalgia of liberty and the bittersweetness for the unattainable dream.
The Liberty of Nikos Giavropoulos clearly refers to the painting Greece expressing Gratitude of 1858 that Theodoros Vryzakis created with a sense of national responsibility and patriotic pride. Appropriating the idea of the reference work, the artist was inspired by the filmic quality of the painting and conceptually transcribed it in a simple manner. He maintained the pyramidal composition of the multitude of heroes that culminates in the allegorical figure of Greece, but removed the whole of the rich composition, preserving only six elements in an equilateral triangular arrangement. At the base he set skulls, three in number to symbolise infinity and alike to indicate the common fate of death. In the middle, two men – one with hands tied behind him and the other liberated and in motion – indicate the transition from bondage to liberty. They are obviously naked according to the ancient Greek ideal of beauty. In the centre, above, rises the allegorical female figure of liberty, dressed in a white tunic and crowned with laurel. According to Vryzakis’ prototype, she raises her hands above the heroes as a sign of blessing. All these elements are distinguished by their brilliance against a totally black background, suggestive of the spaceless and timeless. Thus, the work recalls that the Greek Revolution became an inspiration for every country groaning under empires, occupations and protectorates, and became an example of victory in the struggle of self-determination as required by human rights. The narrative of the composition refers to the struggle for liberty as an idea with reference to the theosophical climaxing of fulfilment from the darkness of the lower world to the source of light at the apex.
Liberty is a lure for the thinking man who respects himself and aspires to excel in life. Here, Liberty is nothing but the name of an everyday girl today who would just like to make friends. She is presented with a naked body that is detached from a a typical apartment setting with sofas and a television. The additional wings of an eagle on her back and the classic Corinthian capital where she is sitting are elements put forward on her by the spectators, out of a need to give her the opportunity to escape from reality as a personification of the concept of liberty. In any case, Liberty seems tired with the endless scenario of the Coronavirus, which tyrannised humanity during the production of the present project. Apparently she looks forward only to the arrival of Greek summer with drinks and a boyfriend on Mykonos. With a wry dose of irony, Stella Kapezanou uses her work to make an allusion to the lockdown of the pandemic, which caused depression to the whole wide world. In any case, the leaves of the orange tree in the background that cross the boundaries of the canvas intensify the sense of the necessary escape! It should be noted that the imposed programme of the Greek national vaccination at the time was called “Operation Liberty”.
In the series of works entitled Distinct District, Vassilis Karakatsanis captures the concept of liberty or redemption on the social level as mush as on the personal. He uses an experiential perspective, which also determines his style. Within an organic framework co-exist the senses of non-liberty at the lower part and of liberty at the upper part of the composition. The suffocating urban landscape as a concept of liberty deprivation owing to social, family, religious and aesthetic conventions, contradicts the buoyancy of insects that, through their joyful colourfulness, symbolically express the varying character and being of every person. In its essence, the composition deals conceptually with the reaction, escape and evasion of the individual from something that oppresses it. The artist finds the opportunity to reveal to the world his personal experience of his liberation from every kind of bond. In the upper perimeter of the work on the left a house in Ronda of southern Spain, on top the monastery of St George on the Castle of Skyros and on the right a house in Mykonos, concern the three places where the artist felt completely free and therefore happy.
“Now thy feet homewards toil / and they overswiftly roll / on the rock or on the soil / which thy glory do recall. / Overlowly it is bowing / triple-wretched thy sad head, / beggar. door to door who’s going / and their life a weight too dead. / Aye, but now they’re counterfiring / all thy seed with urge and mirth, / and they’re seeking firm, untiring / either victory or death.” (verses 13-15 of the Hymn to Liberty)
The Elefthoúrios Tsoliás of Harris Kondosphyris is a confined installation with low-key sound. The first word is an idiosyncratic composite derived from the war exclamation “eleleú” in Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus and the “thoúrios” which means a patriotic hymn. The second word “Tsolias” comes from the Turkish language and means rags because that is the way the Ottomans mockingly called the klephts (brigands) and armatoloi (guerrillas), wearing the fustanella, a kilt with 400 stitched pleats. The Elefthourios Tsolias is a savage beast that runs flabbergasted for his liberty on a stratified rendering of the Greek flag. The Greek hero jumps ecstatically upon layers of the national flag forming the bastion of liberty with trenches the lengths of its white strips. His huge stride, from one foot to the other, wearing the characterisitc tsarouchi (from the Turkish çarık), a shoe with a hard-soled and a large tassel, is evocative of the glory. The defensive flight and aggressive defence occur on a landscape formed from the sacred ennead (group of 9 syllables) of stripes of the Greek flag, of which each represents a sequential letter of the phrase “elefthería í thánatos” (liberty or death) in Greek. It concerns an installation of a thourios. The ravaged hero is thrown in the momentum of victorious liberty and fearlessly drags a dance of death decisively forward with shouts and cheers. Liberty is a brash, outspoken, heated and perpetual Pyrrhic dance around death. The free one is a beast who by defying death beats slavery. The rebellious one dances in the unsecured area of the others’ sovereignty in the secured area of death. At the same time, an audio of excerpts is heard in the form of the wind from the memoirs of the Macedonian fighter Nikolaos Kasomoulis (1795-1872) about the exodus of Missolonghi.
Dionysios Solomos wrote in the Dialogue (1824): “Have I anything else in my mind but liberty and the language?” The language gives words as navigation tools for man who, out of respect for himself and his surroundings, is seeking liberty. Encouraged by the Solomic idea, a prime defender of liberty, Aggelika Korovessi created the Sound-Saws of Liberty that are offered to cut the shackles of mental slavery. She turned into tools the words of the five concepts that language highlights as ammunition for the struggle of liberty – Aspiration, Self-Esteem, Courage, Subversion and Virtue. These concepts, which the language has turned into words, become tools of thought. She recorded their sound-graph and rendered it into a double-edged saw with each edge representing the vibration of each concept, in order to break the invisible shackles of the soul. The Sound-Saws symbolise the power that the tongue gives to man for his spiritual and mental liberty. The opportunity to acquire liberty is at the disposal of every responsible person. But the road to liberty requires “the terrible cutting edge of thy keen sword”. Having available the sharp concepts of the Sound-Saws, their operators can switch from introspection to absolute liberation.
Vassiliki Koskiniotou poetically represents the fertile soil of the fecund land under the precious light of liberty, as evidenced by the title of her work. She drew inspiration from the poem Hymn to Liberty of Dionysios Solomos, “Ah, the bright light that bedecks thee / like the crown around sun’s girth / grandly sheens afar perplexing, / no, it isn’t from this earth / All of thee a blazing splendour / everything lip, forehead, eye / sheens thy leg, thy forearm and more / all around thee is in light” (verses 94 and 95). The work is an attempt to visualise the hot breeze of liberty that may offer sweet fruits after bitterest labours, as well as a reference to the flame that every act of creation contains, every creative joy that springs from the painstaking preoccupation with the work. The bright metalic colours of silver and gold that she uses here refer to the verses, which in their turn refer to the very precious light of the won liberty. In the middle of the painting, the painter engraved her favourite verses from verse 95 with reference to the transformation of the body into light. The creation-matrix clearly revels with arrows in constant flux. This whole picture is a promise of regeneration and an expectation of prosperity, an ecstatic light step towards liberty.
The groundbreaking artist Nikos Kryonidis submits as a contemporary work a memoir from his personal life – a typical snapshot from a school event to commemorate the 25th of March 1972 at the local cinema/theatre, when he was nine. The photograph is black and white and presents a series of ten students in a line each of which holds one consecutive capital letter of the word “liberty”. The artist himself holds the letter “R”. Besides the moment’s spontaneity, the picture is charged with many elements – male students of different classes based on criteria of their conventional appearance have been selected; they are dressed in uniform and conservative manner; and placed along a line by height. Remembering the past, the viewer brings nostalgically to mind the period towards the end of military dictatorship in Greece (1967-1974), where the students throughout the schools in the country were indoctrinated with high ideals and the patriotic slogan, “homeland – religion – family”. Today, in the age of globalisation, all these seem foreign – patriotic manifestations are disappearing and the students have by definition rights regardless of their social, economic, political and personal situation. The artist does not take a critical position in the evolution of things. As a passive observer of radical changes, he notes that the only thing that remains unchanged is the second part of the historical motto, avoided in the title, which every mind identifies with the concept of the dictatorship. From the photograph are hanging transparent pockets with seasonal games of the time against colourful cards. They are seven in number – as many as the letters of the word “death” in Greek.
Kostas Lavdas wants his works to operate as an opportunity for personal and collective self-awareness, which is an arduous but liberating process. With his work She Arrived Heaven-Sent he mocks the eschatological manner in which some portion of the left expects the advent of the Revolution. Tzimis Panousis (1954-2018) had noted with his known caustic humour how the Red Revolution, which people expected to arrive from the heavens, would burst onto the Earth as a meteorite. Here Lavdas presents the divine matrix instead of the hand of God, at the corner of the sky, giving birth to the hope and sending it to the people. Connected to the umbilical cord, she hovers beyond the house of convenience of organised society, on the clouds. She appears as a sex bomb in red over an army of men whose head just about emerges from a can. Unlike the inorganic bodies of men, the woman has a shapely body bearing rich and fancy dress. With an ultimate goal to make the world a better place, she intends to give hands and feet to the puppets who aspire to become humans. As the embodiment of Liberty, such a high and important good, the woman has an angry face with a serious gaze and a severe mouth. Liberty will be owned by any dummy that will surpass himself and dares to acquire her after tremendous struggles and terrifying sacrifices. The work of Lavdas satisfies the feeling of uneasiness, leaving the issue of liberty open.
The national anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821 led Agalis Manessi to be inspired by the philhellenic plates with portraits of heroes who fought for liberty. She chose to illustrate Manto Mavrogenous (1796-1848), an emancipated woman who with her actions and ways gave everything for the struggle of the delivery of Greece from the Ottoman Empire. For her overall contribution she was honoured by the Greek state with the degree of the lieutenant general. She was one of the most important fighters of the Revolution of 1821 and was of a wealthy family. For her work, the ceramist relied on the portrait of Manto of 1826 by the Danish philhellene officer Adam Fridel (1786-1865). The transfer was done with the direct and spontaneous style of the artist. The face of the heroine became the epicentre of an installation, where the gaze of the sitter turns beyond the boundary of the plate towards the broader concept of liberty. At the same time, numerous blue eyes, painted on shards of clay, surround in complete circular order the face of the heroine. On the occasion of the sublime heroine Manto, the ceramist highlights in her work the greatness any individual may achieve regardless of gender. The fact is that by their example, all the heroines of 1821 contributed greatly to the emancipation of women.
Panayiotis Masonidis was born in Cyprus and was active in Greece. As a student of Athanase Apartis, he studied the figurative genre and the monumental depiction of figures, but he followed a personal course towards a symbolic expressionism with abstract tendencies. During the Turkish invasion of the Republic of Cyprus in 1974, Masonidis lived in Athens. On the occasion of the weakening of Cyprus by the Junta of Athens, Turkey found an opportunity not only to invade but also to colonise. This was a form of repression of the liberty of both the Greeks and the Cypriots. The loss of northern Cyprus and the fallen compatriot fighters caused bitterness in his heart, and a trauma in his soul. Feeling a deep need to express himself through art he created a sculpture for the liberty of Cyprus and by extension of every oppressed people and individual. His work was based on numerous studies that are clearly inscribed with the indication “Liberty”. It is a small study for a large monument, which the art-loving mayor of Corfu Spyros Rath (1902-1983) envisioned at the political changeover in the centre of the Town Hall Square. It presents a female figure dressed in a tunic that completely covers her body so that she looks compact. The imagination of the viewer identifies her hidden hands with her wings, which look like endings of her wavy robe. Her face with the deliberately melted features endows the figure with a dimension beyond space and time. Despite its unfinished quality, the sculpture masterfully expresses the sense of liberty with breath and spirit. The reference to the winged goddess Nike of Samothrace, which famously inspired also Umberto Boccioni’s Unique Forms of Continuity in Space of 1913, is obvious.
George Megoulas comes from an aristocratic Corfiot family with respect for roots, the past and tradition. He recognises that now, as in every period, people are called to overthrow the status quo. Today, globalisation is being pitted against capitalism. Inspired by the Venetian influence that persists in Corfu, he created furniture on feet in the Baroque style, with curved edges, inflated sides and spiralling finials. Initially it looked like an ideal monument for an ark of values. Subsequently, driven by the current spirit of liberation from social conventions and the established order, he broke the mould in four quadrants with a cross and shifted the parts so that they balance on the base. In a similar fashion he shredded a classical head in five horizontal sections and shifted them so that they form an open arch as a crown of the composition. Having learned from Western academicism, the current time of change inspires him to surpass rules venturing a transgression towards liberalisation. So his work advances from the construction of the past, via the deconstruction of the present, towards the reconstruction of the future. Surprisingly, the final composition, clearly advanced, masterfully augments in new terms the prior delight in form, light and technique.
The work of Dimitris Miliotis is concerned with metamorphosis, as an endless succession of transient states of the object. Here, where the object is the concept of freedom, he imagines her as an anthropomorphic dragonfly trying to move forward and upward, with the help of her hands, feet but also with her clear and strong wings that give impetus to her every movement. His intention was to record not a specific moment of this effort, but the passage of all the moments in time during the movement. The work presents collectively a selection of all these relevant temporal moments. They are records and traces of movements of liberty on a sunny surface. This figure does not reflect the movement towards liberty. It is liberty herself, her embodiment. And as liberty she moves everywhere and always and in all directions, leaving in her wake only her blue trail. The composition pulsates with a freedom of movement with an erotic pulse. It is reminiscent of a saying of Voltaire: “Liberty of thought is the life of the soul”.
The Secret Garden by Ioannis Monogyios is a conceptual work that is activated through the alchemical relation of text and image. The greater part of the composition has a light green colour, which expresses an illusory state. The scarce fiery hue, which coincides with the awareness, tears the illusory surface and touches the spiritual dimension of the essence of the work. The four corners of the composition present the absinthium, a plant with the bitter taste of life, that has the capacity to sedate. In the intermediate space of the corners scattered verses from the Liberté (1942) poem of Paul Éluard in the original French and Greek translation are presented. The text of the poem was printed with stamps letter by letter, in an admittedly compulsive, but in conclusion liberating process. On the base of the composition, bones symbolise death, which is the common fate of every life. A head at the centre of the composition symbolises the human intellect and also carries the third eye of intuition that gives spiritual guidance and a mantra in Tibetan that psychologically leads to liberation. The head hovers with the wings of a butterfly that symbolises transformation. Directly below two hands support the caduceus of Hermes with the fiery axis of the world as a passage through which one can get to the truth beyond life – that is liberty. This point is located in the cerebral space of the head as the secret garden with the warm hues of the pyre. For the artist, the purpose of existence is the transcendence of reality within which people live with the goal of inner liberty that is cultivated in the secret garden of the mind.
According to the model of the surrealists, in search of unusual ways of inspiration, Konstantinos Patsios created an oversized collage using free association and automatic creation. His pursuit was the liberation of the unconscious, the source of psychic energy and the cradle of stimuli from logical, social and aesthetic rules. This present work is inspired by the poem Liberté of Paul Éluard and its title incorporates the refrain “I write your name”. The composition has a Dionysian dimension of chromatic ecstasy. The ecstasy is rendered through the composition of heterogeneous objects and the counterpoint of the void with the full. A fresh fingerprint in the open space maintains the balance of the composition’s upper completeness. Elements, such as the ancient beauty of classical sculpture and the self-portrait of Theophilos with the Greek flag, demonstrate the intention of the artist to compose various excerpts of the collective past. Balloons and exotic birds defying gravity interact with skulls that have now been rid of the burden of existence, under the relentless gaze of the Roman goddess Libertas. The composition is a palimpsest of snapshots that comprise attempts of the creator to portray liberty. Extensive are the references to classical art and the vanitas (a genre in art referring to mortality), which imply all moments of human history, when the certainty of death and the futility of earthly pleasures is confronted by the indestructible struggle for liberty, that is immortality.
The primary concern of Margarita Petrova was how can one landscape that is charged with historical memory and is a symbol of liberty be displayed. The special case of Zalongo is one of the most shocking incidents in the modern history of Greece. On 18 December 1803, after the occupation of Souli by the troops of Ali Paşa, 63 women who had taken refuge at the western end of Mount Zalongo decided to die free rather than fall into the hands of Muslim Albanians. They preferred instead of dishonour and captivity to throw their children into the cliff and then to follow themselves, even dancing their way, causing great excitement and admiration throughout Europe. So, Zalongo is a deeply emotional place through its history. Its rocks became a memorial for the liberty of Souli. The Souliotes expressed through their swan song in a unique way the concept of liberty. Thus, the artist created through her work a composition that contains the closed shapes of the black and white photographs in order to come into contrast with the pictorial elements that create tension. The shapes are liberated from the borders of the landscape, making free new places, which nevertheless at the same time contain the tragedy of loss and sacrifice. The horizontal stripes of photographed land create the sense of reality and the actual historic site. Amongst them the painted spots take their place in this landscape and are gradually released from below towards the top to indicate that unlike the fall, liberty has an upward trend, the dematerialisation that reaches beyond the painted sky in order to unite with the sanctity of the universe.
Faced with a Roman soldier that eventually took his life, the legendary last words of Archimedes, the greatest mathematician and inventor of antiquity, was “Do not disturb my circles!” Despite probably being a construct, it is included in the Quotations Register as a phrase attributed to him. It reveals the culmination of the absorption of a genius despite his imminent death. In the album entitled by this phrase in Greek, “Mi Mou tous Kyklous Tarate”, of 1991 by Lena Platonos, the voice of the composer is heard inquiring who is the truly free man. And she answers enigmatically at the end, “it is he who crashed the mirrormakers”. Let it be noted that the mirrormakers is the labyrinth of mirrors dealing with the visible idols that tend to disorientate the uninitiated and inexperienced man. By crashing the mirrormakers, the elder hermit may see the true light in the darkness, which is the essence of liberty. For Platonos, liberty is identified with love, as a concept of the union of psyche and eros. This union opposes any disruption, especially of enmity, hatred and malice. The image on the album’s jacket shows the planet Earth in motion in space. The figure of the composer folds her arms nude on its movement. She is interested in the nudity of the truth, not the flesh. Symbols come into orbit around her as subjects she wishes for or against. A heart with a barcode prevails that refers to the clearance sale of emotions, the transformation of man into a product. The album is for love and against capitalism and speaks of humility as opposed to arrogance. At the end of the title song, the composer cites the Socratic paradox, “I know that I know nothing”.
The figure of Liberty today is a Nike without wings. She is a simple woman, but has so much power within her that whenever she wishes she wears her wings and takes off. She is fighting for the survival of the people around her, for the tolerance of diversity, for equality of the rights for all. Marina Provatidou, as if photographing herself, represents the concept of freedom on the acropolis of Thessaloniki – the Heptapyrgion – fortress of the Paleologoi. The Ottomans turned this space into Yedi Kule, one of the toughest prisons where innocent civilians were held, amongst guilty ones, in all the periods of slavery that this land experienced – Ottoman rule, German Occupation and Civil War. There were tortured activists and outcasts, exiles and objectors, intellectuals and illiterates, all people with a mutual desire for freedom. In this space charged with mental anguish, the woman-symbol of liberty appears to be wearing a long blue dress and raises her hands in order to balance on a thin bridge of measure and limits, as she wavers “between divine and human justice” according to the writer Alexandros Papadiamantis. She tries to lead her life by observing the midline of things, the one that bridges differences and witnesses the way to calm the passions of yesterday, today and tomorrow. She walks steadily forward upon the ruler of pure truth and defends the human nature of the prisoners of the place of martyrdom. With the confidence of shut eyes, she is “counting fast the lands restored”, ignoring the threat of death and the fear of emptiness. She walks on the edge against the blue and white sky, delivered from the weights, measures and standards that imprison the contemporary world. She feels proud of what she has achieved as an independent woman, trying to balance situations within the roles she plays in life. She believes that freedom is the highest good for which it is worth fighting at all costs. For this reason, while walking she remembers the myth of Icarus, who lost his life realising albeit momentarily his dream.
The Exodus of Rania Rangou concerns a visual transcription. The painter was inspired by the monumental painting The Execution of Torrijos and his Companions on the Beach at Málaga of 1888 by Antonio Gisbert (1834-1901). With the slogan “Fatherland – Liberty – Independence” and aiming at the end of absolutism, the Spanish liberal revolutionary leader José-María Torrijos (1791-1831) and 60 followers were arrested and executed in Málaga by loyalist authorities without trial, by order of King Fernando VII of Spain. With his martyrdom, Torrijos became the archetype of the struggle against despotism and tyranny. The painter appropriated the figure of Torrijos, with the epic kindness and calm that characterises him as a romantic hero. She pulled it from the traumatic moment of firing squads of the past and placed it therapeutically in the centre of an endless seascape with mere reference to the point that it curves towards a brighter direction. Unlike the heroic past, today’s anonymous protagonist realises the historicity of himself as a passive experience or a Netflix show. As a new “Torrijos” he may be redeemed from his bonds, maintaining his delicate smile. Instead of weapons, he is accompanied on one side by the hand of his comrade and on the other side by the living flame of the struggle for liberty. Today, when death is meaningless, the challenge is the liberation from material passivity towards a spiritual ascension.
For Dimitris Sevastakis, “Second Memory” is the free intake, the quirky understanding of the narrated fact, surrendered and secondarily experienced. It is what establishes the personal memory. It is, therefore, the free and unbiased movement between historical fact and its personalisation. The work consists of an old profile self-portrait in conversation with four new designs of emblematic persons of the Greek liberation struggle. These designs originate in the lithographs of Bavarian officer Karl Krazeisen (1794-1878) of portraits of the most famous heroes of 1821, whom he knew personally and painted from life. Sevastakis drew Kolokotronis, Miaoulis and Karaiskakis, but also included the philhellene engraver himself based on a photograph of his. The painter moved between two factual fields – his own portrait and his mnemonic references. He also experimented with two ways of narrative – self-portraiture with elements of expressionism and a condensed design by graphite with reference to the engravings of the 19th century. The concept of liberty for the painter lies in his expressive fluency between methods and techniques. He developed the composition on a black background as indefinite and permissible, without documentary distractions. Through the reference to the national liberation movement, the various languages and idioms, he compiled a personal project of liberty, that is, an essential autobiography.
Liberty is known as a theoretical concept, but is an extremely difficult challenge as an experiential act. The work Taming the Chimera of Vassilis Solidakis refers to a universal legend. In ancient Greek mythology the Chimera describes a composite creature with three heads, one for each temptation – goat for lust, snake for intoxication and lion for arrogance. The new generation, after the rebellious decade of the ’60s, was celebrating this exact problem with the widespread slogan “sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll”. Obviously it is a huge challenge to overcome one’s temptations. If he manages to tame them, however, he will be able to gain the substantial liberty that will provide the necessary condition for the acquisition of knowledge and self-awareness. With that in mind, the artist presents an enlightened man to have tamed the untameable Chimera – a truly paradoxical spectacle and theme. The art, however, has every right to imagination. The background carries the whole spectrum of the colours of Iris – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. It is no wonder that the rainbow became known as a symbol of liberty and diversity by the gay artist Gilbert Baker in 1978.
Tita Stavrou is concerned for the weak people who are seeking liberty. Starting from bewilderment on the subject, she identified with the current generation and its perceptions, aiming unconscionably for an internal transcendence. By reading again the whole Hymn to Liberty of Dionysios Solomos she realised that it describes not a national fact but an internal human condition, verging on psychoanalysis. On plain blotting paper she wrote anew by pen eight out of the 158 stanzas with genuine emotional charge rather than intellectual clarity, and set them as a pillar on either side of the window on a re-appropriated iconostasis. On the lower level of the composition, the subconscious, she stored five bags representing knowledge loaded with energies of good and evil. From every bag begins a red thread and all of them meet at a ring of the unconscious on the upper level of the composition, the conscious. On that ring is recorded human heredity with chromosomes and genes, and that determines the flight of the human figure with the wing trying to incorporate itself into the emotional landscape of the background. Opposite from the unconscious rises the spinning top of fortune with a crack, something that acts uncontrollably. The iconostasis of being stages its innate tendency towards liberty. The bell on the door will betray whomever attempts to penetrate liberty. The title “Deceitful Liberty” originates in the 21st stanza of the Hymn, which refers to the futility of what one would say to someone who betrays him while worshiping him. Living in the post-revolutionary climate in Greece, Solomos would certainly contemplate the triumph of liberty if the ravage of civil strife was eliminated.
In the course of time, the Corfiots encountered a number of settlers and conquerors –Eretrians, Corinthians, Romans, Byzantines, Genoese, Venetians, French, Russians and English – until the long-awaited union with Greece in 1864. During the longest period of the Venetian rule (1204-1797) the Catholics forced the Orthodox to have on their island a protopapas instead of a bishop. In fact, often the poor people of Corfu were oppressed by the regimes and the conditions, as the pen of Konstantinos Theotokis (1872-1923) reveals. For this reason Petros Stravoravdis expresses a reservation about the issue of liberty in his hometown. In his work he presents, in an abstract manner, a rather pulsating view of the old city, confusing basic non-iconic forms and high-rise apartment buildings. The belfry of the Metropolis and the New Fortress with the Greek flag are characteristically discerned. Above the rooftops rises the Angel of Giuseppe Torretti (1664-1743), which since the end of the Ottoman siege in 1716 announces an expectation of wider liberation. However, the vert amande, which vacillates between the green and blue colours, obliquely penetrates the composition. He underlines an ironic comment that absolute liberty exists never and nowhere. Furthermore, the red colour on the belfry flows downwards as an open wound on religious ideals. However, despite such reasonable doubts, the truth is that Corfu contributed to the liberation of Greece in its Ionian way – the Neohellenic Enlightenment and the national Hymn to Liberty.
In 1983 Praxitelis Tzanoulinos qualified for the National Artistic Sculpture Contest on the theme “Liberty/Peace” for his work that since then adorns the junction of Poseidonos and Thiseos Avenues in Kallithea. He was awarded again for the same work by Menelaos Pallantios on behald of the Academy of Athens in 1987. It concerns an expansive monumental composition that celebrates the concept of liberty and peace intellectually and abstractly. The present sculpture Liberty/Nike is a key part of the whole and is a working model for the said monument. With classical origins, it presents the female allegorical figure of Liberty/Nike putting her chest forward as if it were for a running competition. Combined, the wavy tunic at the feet and the wing that targets the stars, form a relentless stretched bow, armed with invisible cosmic energy. She is moving dynamically forward, ripping the wind as a sword with momentum and a turning in space, like the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Inspired by the Solomic verse “From the sacred bones, of the Hellenes arisen”, she is made from a basic frame of clay with enough flesh as to protect something greater than her body, her heart, which is the core of every hero. She has lost in the battle the one of her two wings, but she raises her head proudly for what is most important – her vital and beating soul.
With The Garment of Liberty Katia Varvaki subconsciously travelled in the historical past of modern Greece and created a work that bridges the various eras and reconciles their oppositions. The composition began with the laurel-crowned head of the protagonist in the work Greece expressing Gratitude of 1858 by Theodoros Vryzakis. This sweet female face, that is herewith baptised Liberty, was calling for a change of style. That is why her body was influenced by a photograph of Aris Velouchiotis (1905-1945), communist leader of the Greek People’s Liberation Army, riding a horse at Epirus around 1943. Thus, she appears delivered from femininity, reinforced with masculinity as a guerilla with a shirt, greatcoat and cross-strung bandolier for bullets, with reference to the mother of the artist, who belonged to the United Panhellenic Organisation of Youth of Thessaly. She is represented with a contemporary rifle and bayonet, just like Marianne in the painting Liberty leading the People (1830) by Delacroix. This point refers to the wild and hard struggle for liberty. In the lower part, however, the fluffy dress restores her lost femininity. Here the fabric in flesh tones suggests the purity of virtue. Associatively, the picture is placed in a field that includes a dissolved white lily, a symbol of violated virginity. Above it flutters the black crow of death that is consistent with liberty. The sky is rendered expressionistically with alternating shades of blue and orange. The picture is full of counterpoints with reference to the transcendental twin poles in the lyrics of Kalvos “liberty demands both virtue and courage”, which is faintly inscribed on the clouds.
Chryssa Vathianaki was inspired by The Crucifixion, a masterpiece of about 1480 by the Cretan icon painter Andreas Pavias (1440-1512). She focused on a detail that is located at the top of the composition, exactly above the cross of martyrdom. There, a nest is depicted on which a stork pierces its chest to spill its blood and nourish with it its three offsprings. The representation states allegorically the sacrifice of Christ in order to save man from the original sin. The artist transcribed the particular pattern with embroidery as a theme in her own work, which appropriates an old family heirloom, the Greek flag. She also completed the scene with the nest as the culmination of the tree of life and two snakes to wind up either side of the trunk threatening to devour the chicks. Adapting the scene to the heart of the cross of the Greek flag, the stork, a bird of exemplary family life, refers to the self-sacrifice of the heroes of the Revolution of 1821, who gave up their lives fighting their powerful enemies. At the same time, the new Flag reminds the future generations of the ancient Greek “Pelasgic law”, the repayment for nourishment received from the loving children to the parents.
The work Of the Living and the Dead by Andreas Zymvragos, aside from being a tribute to the heroes who were sacrificed for liberty, could be seen as an attempt to visually depict the verses from The Axion Esti (1959) of Odysseus Elytis: “A solitary swallow and a costly spring, / For the sun to turn it takes a job of work, / It takes a thousand dead sweating at the wheels, / It takes the living also giving up their blood”. High, as a culmination, a branch of spring for the living and the free like the swallows in the open sky. At the base a candle stand is dedicated to the dead heroes. At the centre, the symbol of their struggles, the Greek flag worn out today, disrespected and discredited in the minds of their descendants, she too a victim of the confusion that characterises the present, as a result of deliberate distortion of the true content of the concepts of the homeland, nation, democracy or liberty. National independence is the cornerstone for the exercise of any other form of free expression – individual, collective, internal or spiritual. And it is all the nations that are threatened today by the destructor of financial globalisation imposed by the international market that with the pseudo-ideological order of multiculturalism threatens peoples with homogenisation and disappearance of every collective memory, and thus identity and existence. Globalisation is the new fascism that threatens nations today with extinction and to beat it they should reflect upon the self, the history and the collective memory. Thus they might be able to face again, freely, the heaven of their own homelands.