Fine Art Tribute to Aristotle Vasilikiotis with two exhibitions, “Aristotle Vasilikiotis: “Aristotle Vasilikiotis: 1902-1972” co-organized by the Municipality of Mykonos, KDEPPAM and the Teloglio Foundation of Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The retrospective exhibition “Aristotle Vasilikiotis: unexpected changes of course” was first presented at the Teloglion Foundation, in Thessaloniki (14.10.2022- 04.12. 2022) on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of the birth and 50th anniversary of the death of the painter Telis Vasilikiotis (1902-1972), and then moved to his beloved Mykonos, the island with which he linked his life and art after meeting and marrying the Mykonian Froso Axiotis, sister of Melpo Axiotis.

Tourists at the Mykonos cove, oil on canvas, 64 x 78,5 cm.

Born in Evpatoria, Crimea, which he left due to the October Revolution, Vasilikiotis carved his path in painting with his main stops in Greece, France, Ethiopia, and Egypt. Through 60 works (oil paintings, gouache, watercolors, etc.) by the artist and archival material, his love for the exotic – the different, which he cultivated during his years of residence in Ethiopia – and his inspiration from the Greek landscape (Aegina, Pelion, Attica), with emphasis on that of Mykonos, are highlighted. The personal ties he developed with the Cycladic island prompted him to project another side of its idyllic beauty, which escapes the confines of the mannerism of white houses.

“He loved Mykonos and painted it a lot. But at the same time, he was afraid of its ‘picturesqueness’ which could push him into ease. He was not interested in either ‘tourist’ or ‘photographic’ painting. This was the message he tried to pass on to his students, whom he trained for years in his studio,” says Mrs. Amaryllis Vasilikioti-Weiler, the artist’s daughter.

The later chronological works of the exhibition are those that mark the return of Aristotle Vasilikiotis to the literary tradition of his hometown. Free from any compulsion, he turned to the memories of his childhood, when he read from the original works of the Ukrainian-born writers Nikolai Gogol (“The Life”, “The Nose”) and Vladimir Korolenko (“The Dream of Makar”). In these works, the strong contrasts of mainly complementary colors, forming wide bands, dominate. The artist became bolder in comparison with the two previous decades of his artistic career and turned more towards abstraction, or rather a simplicity and the highlighting of the key, the essential, without ending up in abstraction. His turn to his roots, to Russian literature, is his last, unknown contribution to Greek painting and his most modern work, which – had he lived longer – might have led him to another unexpected change of course.

At the same time, a permanent exhibition “Aristotle Vasilikiotis: 1902-1972” is inaugurated. The exhibition presents almost all of the 38 paintings generously donated by the artist’s daughter, Amaryllis (Maria) Vasilikiotis-Weiler, to the KDEPPAM, enabling the island’s residents to become more familiar with her father’s multifaceted work.

In the works of the donation, beyond his love for Mykonos and its beauties, lies his artistic commentary on the development of tourism. The “Tourists at the Mykonos Yarrow”, in the “Souvenir Shops” are depicted apart from the locals and their activities, apart from the idyllic landscapes of the island. They constitute the new reality of the 1960s and 1970s, which Vasilikiotis rendered with an insightful eye in his paintings, just as he did in his youth when he lived in Ethiopia. This is a picture of Mykonos in transformation, with the mastery of a gifted artist who loved Mykonos with the same fervor that it embraced him.

The tribute is accompanied by a publication and a brochure (bilingual, Greek-English)

Exhibition duration: 12 June – 30 July 2023

Opening hours of the Municipal Gallery “Maria Inglesi”: Monday 19:00-24:00, Tuesday-Saturday 11:00-14:00 & 19:00-24:00, Sunday 11:00-14:00

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