Kosmas Xenakis (1925–1984) was one of the most innovative but also one of the most hermetic Greek artists of the first post-war generation; an artist who moved across a broad range of expressive areas with impressive consistency and unrivalled quality, experimenting with forms, materials and the very concept of the artwork. He was a painter, sculptor, printmaker, stage designer, creator of mixed events / happenings and, of course, architect who did not hesitate to measure himself against the monumental scale and the creation of works with an impact on the landscape.
Kosmas Xenakis began to work on the theme of young butchers around the mid-1940s as a student of Yannis Tsarouchis at the short-lived private school of painting the latter ran at the time. Initially, Xenakis was not exclusively interested in the butcher theme; influenced by Tsarouchis and Diamantis Diamantopoulos, he liked to depict scenes of everyday urban life: football players, greengrocers, bathers and, of course, butchers.
Over time, however, the figure of the butcher becomes a key motif in the art of Xenakis, both in an everyday setting (in his shop, cutting meat, or slaughtering animals outside it) and in an idealized depiction that references the moschophoroi [calf bearers] of Greek antiquity.
The Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece (MIET) presents an exhibition exclusively on the butcher theme as it was processed by the painter throughout the period from 1945 to about 1960. The aim of the exhibition is to demonstrate the artist's course from representation to abstraction, from 'Greekness' to his connection with the European avant-garde through the almost obsessively recurring forms of the butcher and the animals.
The exhibition features over sixty paintings and some eighty drawings on the butcher theme, from the artist's earliest attempts to the almost abstract works of his Paris period.
The curator of the exhibition is Dionysis Kapsalis, director of MIET.
Opening: Wednesday, 4 December 2019 at 8.00
Duration: Wednesday 4 December 2019 – Saturday 28 March 2020
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 11.00 – 18.00 & Saturday 11.00 – 17.00