Some of the bodies are realistic, others contorted, others still stylized and abstract: in 'Plural Hellenic', contemporary Greek figurative art takes the human form as its guide, representing it in a manner both brutal and poetic.
Opening tomorrow through January 11 at the Vittoriano Museum, the exhibit of 88 works by 25 artists, dating from the 80s to the present, is on loan from Greek lawyer, patron and collector Sotiris Felios, who is also the show's sole sponsor.
A not inconsiderable choice at a time of crisis that is ''not only economic but also human,'' as Greek ambassador to Italy, Michalis Cambanis, defined it at the exhibit's press launch on Tuesday. ''Culture and tourism are the arrows in Greece's quiver'' in the fight against the economic recession, the ambassador said.
Organized under the patronage of Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, whose cultural heritage conservation adviser, Louis Godart, attended the press launch, 'Plural Hellenic' shifts the Italian public eye from the daily narrative of the Greek crisis to the realm of artistic creativity, which has remained vital in spite of everything.
Curated by Giuliano Serafini, the show is divided into sections, such as 'Between Memory and Reality' (with artists from Kostas Argyris to Kalliopi Assagiortaki), 'Perverting Representation' (work by Michalis Manoussakis, Tassos Missouras, Nikos Siskos and more), 'Nature Found?', and 'The Savage Work', among others. Visitors roam through a series faces, bold colors, glances that are sometimes tender, sometimes fierce, in settings that are urban, others that are domestic: in Felios' collection, contemporary Greek artists are highly concentrated on the human being in all its emotional and existential nuances. A humanity that needs forever, somehow, to be narrated, even amid the chronicles of the Hellenic crisis, which is almost always the stuff of figures, statistics, economic analyses.
''The collection... is one of the ways in which I choose to spend my free time,'' said a greatly satisfied Felios, who also presides over the Other Arcadia Foundation and is a lover of Rome, which he has been frequenting for the past 40 years. ''It is a vision of my creativity through emotions that painting alone can give me.''