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Romantic Greece in black and white

27 April 2015 / 15:04:32  GRReporter
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Visitors to Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery will have the pleasure to make a journey to Greece of the 1960s through the lens of renowned British photographer and cinematographer Wolf Suschitzky. The exhibition is on display in a specially arranged space on the ground floor of the Gallery and will run until 27 June.

Wolf Suschitzky was born in Vienna in 1912 and lived in a time when fascism was gaining power. In the early 1930s he migrated to Britain where he presented London’s social reality through his masterpieces.

When talking about his art, he admits, "I do not invent the subject. I keep my eyes wide open, observe, find the best angle to get an attractive picture or a picture that shows the conditions under which some people are forced to live."

Suschitzky was in Greece in 1960 and captured through his lens the Greek country, the activities and traditions that surrounded it, shortly before their impending change.

The exhibition includes 48 original black and white photographs, all the work of the British photographer. The photographs of the islands of Skiathos and Hydra, and Athens reveal a nostalgic Greece. Scenes of agricultural life, holidays and traditions, as well as portraits of ordinary people come back to life from the photographs and make up an exhibition-document of the beauty and innocence of a lost world.

With the exception of three photographs that belong to the photographic archive of the Ghika Gallery, a present from Suschitzky to Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, the remaining photographs are part of the photographer’s personal collection and on display in Greece for the first time.

The exhibition is divided into thematic sections, following Suschitzky’s journey:

Skiathos
 
Photographs of Skiathos prevail in the exhibition as the making of a film on the island was actually the reason for Suschitzky to visit Greece. It was the short film "Michalis from Skiathos" directed by John Ingram the music for which was composed by Mikis Theodorakis.

Suschitzky saw on Skiathos the Greek landscape and the people of the island for the first time and they became the main characters of his photographs. In addition to people, the photographer has made immortal scenes from everyday life and religious and national holidays. Every photograph tells a story that invokes the visitor to enrich his or her imagination.

Hydra

On Skiathos Suschitzky met with artist John Craxton, who then took him to the island of Hydra and the home of great Greek artist Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika. The portraits of the two artists are arranged in the centre of the exhibition, as they are the reason for Suschitzky's return to Greece 55 years later, even if only through his photos.

Athens - the Acropolis

The photographs that reveal the Greek reality cannot but include photographs of the Acropolis and Athens that are separated in a thematic section, reflecting the photographer’s genuine sense of admiration. The bright shades of the marbles form breathtaking views that enhance the timeless beauty of the monuments whereas the streets of Athens take the viewer to the turbulent life of the city, in contrast with the peaceful landscape in the small towns and in the countryside.

The film that was the occasion for Suschitzky to visit Skiathos, namely the short film "Michalis from Skiathos", a production of BP oil company, will be screened during the exhibition too.

Curators of the exhibition are Ian Collins, a writer and biographer of John Craxton and Joanna Moraiti, head of the archive of Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery at the Benaki Museum. The exhibition design is the work of Eleftheria Goufa, a conservator at the Benaki Museum.

A small bilingual catalogue, including 25 photographs and texts by the curators, issued with the exclusive financial support of the Association "Friends of the Benaki Museum" will be released simultaneously with the exhibition too.

The last photo album by Wolf Suschitzky entitled "Wolf Suschitzky: Seven Decades of Photography" has been released by the publishing house SYNEMA.

Tags: ExhibitionPhotographsWolf SuschitzkyGalleryNikos Hadjikyriakos-GhikaBenaki Museum
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