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Nikos Dimou, the lonely polypragmon

29 September 2015 / 18:09:40  GRReporter
2228 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Polypragmon in Greek means multitasker. Greek writer, publicist, photographer, advertising agent, radio and television journalist, blogger - lately - and eternal lover of cats Nikos Dimou completely fits this definition.

This is the title of the exhibition dedicated to his life and work, which was opened at the Benaki Museum in Athens last night and which will continue until 8 November this year.


"I had never really thought that I could become the subject of an exhibition. It is not a custom to display writers in a similar way, even if they have parallel activities such as photography in my case," said the writer at the opening of the exhibition.


He revealed that the idea of ​​the exhibition belonged entirely to former director of the Benaki Museum Angelos Delivorias. "What happened was that I donated to the museum part of my archive for the simple reason that there was no room for us both at home. Delivorias examined it and said that the public should see these things. Then I replied, ‘Well, we might do this when I turn 80.’ Here I am turning them in two days and the exhibition is a fact."

Thus the second floor of the modern second building of the museum displays Nikos Dimou’s poems from his early childhood, his diplomas from Athens College and the University of Munich, the first translations of foreign authors, letters from his private correspondence, editions of books written by him, photos, posters of the advertising company established by him and even computers where visitors can read some of his articles on the online edition protagon.gr.


As usual, all eyes are fixed on Dimou’s most popular book "On the Unhappiness of Being Greek." It has been translated into eight languages, including Bulgarian and it sells almost worldwide. "It has become a bestseller in Germany. In the first year of its appearance in the German literary market, it sold 55,000 copies. It was named "Book of the Year" in Colombia and Chile. It was awarded in Spain. Therefore, it can safely be described as a world bestseller," said Nikos Dimou for GRReporter.


To our question as to why so many different people with such different views of life are so interested in it, he replied, "I think this is because it depicts and explains the nature of modern Greeks and describes the difficulty of being Greek, of moving between past and present, modern and ancient, North and South, East and West, of the aspiration of Greeks to find their own image."


Besides continuously writing for various Greek editions after 1979, Nikos Dimou is a photographer. His interest in photography dates back to 1950. He is the author of two photographic albums, he has organized three separate photographic exhibitions and has had his own photographic section in many magazines.

The exhibition presents photographs of an amusement park, of famous Greek poet and Nobel laureate Odysseas Elytis, actor Dimitris Horn and of a lot of cats. It is no coincidence that one of his most famous books of poetry is entitled "The Book of Cats".

 

The exhibition presents the writer’s autobiography too, which, as he himself points out, can still be completed. "In 2004 I finished my autobiography and it was published. Then I thought my life was largely over. But so many things have happened since then that I could write another book." Dimou did not clarify whether he is actually working on the next part of his autobiography, but the exhibition presents its first three volumes, "From Michail Voda Street to Syros Street", "From Rhine Street to Hess Strasse" and "Calm Street". They were published in 2004 along with a fourth previously unreleased volume entitled "Paraschou Street." In 2015, they were all united and supplemented in the general edition entitled "My Streets."

A little known fact of Nikos Dimou’s career is the advertising agency "Delta - Delta" that he established in 1965. The elderly Greeks still remember many of the successful messages of large companies, which were the work of the agency. The popular slogan of the divided island of Cyprus reading, "Do not forget" was one of the most famous works of the agency with a social focus. In 1983, Dimou retired from business and devoted himself to writing.


In addition to being engaged in many activities, he is a pioneer in various fields. He was the first Greek writer, author and host of TV shows and the first among his colleagues with his own website. www.ndimou.gr appeared in 1997 and it has been constantly updated ever since.

On the wall, where his biography is displayed, you can read Nikos Dimou’s phrase, "I invented and followed the "law of the prostitute in love (to indulge in pleasure and to be paid for it)." The rich exhibition proves that he has actually done so as he has been able to indulge in all things of interest to him.

Tags: Literature Nikos DimouBiographical exhibitionBenaki MuseumOn the Unhappiness of Being GreekLonely polypragmon
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