Conversation with the Director of the Basil and Marina Theocharakis Foundation for Visual Arts and Music, Takis Mavrotas, about the exhibition, his long-standing collaboration with Basil Theocharakis and his career as an art historian and exhibition curator.

The Historical Archive-Museum of Hydra, presents the exhibition Basil Theocharakis, Glaucus Sea, which was inaugurated by the Minister of Tourism, Mrs Olga Kefalogianni on Saturday, 16 September 2023, at 20:00 in Hydra.

For the first time the international art-loving public of Greece and Hydra will have the opportunity to get to know the personal approach of the tradition of marine painting through the painting dimension of the artist Basil Theocharakis.

As the curator of the exhibition, Takis Mavrotas, points out in an exclusive interview for Days of Art in Greece, “the title emerges from the works themselves, from images of the sea, images of Greece that the painter himself loves, they are an integral part of his creative spirit.”

“The exhibition”, he continues, “is summarized through about thirty works, oil paintings and watercolours, works that evoke the ‘breath’ of Greece. Basil Theocharakis is practiced in approaching with his own sensitivity and of course with his own morphoplastic idiom the endless beauty of the Greek beaches. The previous exhibition held at the Theocharakis Foundation was entitled “On the Edge” and this title is the result of his approach to the “edge”, to the observation of the world. In the exhibition “Glaucous Sea” he captures with his “watercolours” the forms of the coast and with light and the endless wealth of colours he brings out the unique beauty and the eternal from the Greek landscapes. Basil Theocharakis has travelled almost all over the world, but for sixty years his gaze has been persistently focused on the Greek islands, Hydra, Meganissi, Kefalonia, Corfu, Ithaca and he has been visiting the same places uninterruptedly over the years, seeking each time to create images of a different aesthetic style.”

Regarding the exhibition venue, the Historical Archive-Museum of Hydra, Mr.Mavrotas describes it as “one of the most emblematic cultural spaces of our country, it is a museum which is operated exemplarily by the head of the museum, Mrs.Dina Adamopoulou and gives the opportunity to contemporary artists to present their work. The exhibition will last in Hydra for two months, giving the opportunity to friends of fine arts, Greeks and foreigners, to get to know the landscape painting of Basil Theocharakis”.

On the occasion of the important exhibition that is being inaugurated in Hydra, Mr.Mavrotas refers to his capacity as a curator and its development based on his personal, long, multidimensional career, emphasizing that “It is always a challenge to create a new exhibition. I have curated the exhibitions of Basil Theocharakis at the Benaki Museum, the Palazzo Venezia in Rome, the Sismanogleion Mansion in Istanbul, the Town Hall of the 6th Arrondissement in Paris and the B&M Theocharakis Foundation. I have been studying his work for the last two decades and it was another challenge to realize this exhibition and have the pleasure of curating it. The proposal was made by the Museum of Hydra and I was delighted to curate it. I started my career by presenting the exhibition ”Views of a Magna Grecia” by Enzo Crea at the National Bank of Greece Educational Foundation. Immediately afterwards, I curated the exhibition “A Review of a Collection” at the National Gallery of Greece with works from the collection of the National Bank of Greece Educational Foundation. I then worked as a curator at the Pierides Museum of Contemproary Art and for the last seventeen consecutive years as Director of the visual arts programme of the Basil and Marina Theocharakis Foundation for Visual Arts and Music. Throughout these years, my goal and purpose has been to present the great masters of art, who shape our aesthetics and the way we perceive the world and its complexity.

I had the pleasure of curating exhibitions of leading artists such as Takis, Chryssa, Alekos Fassianos, Dimitris Mytaras, but also Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau and exhibitions such as Yannis Gaitis and Nikos Engonopoulos and great exponents of the Munich School, Nikolaos Gyzis and Konstantinos Volanakis, but I would also like to mention the thematic exhibitions “When the Light Dances” by George Seferis, a major thematic exhibition that took place at the B & M Theocharakis Foundation and then at the Aristotle University, at the Teloglion Foundation for the Arts. As well as the exhibition of another Nobel laureate poet, Odysseus Elytis “Poetry and Painting” which was presented at the Theocharakis Foundation in Athens and at the Teloglion Foundation in Thessaloniki. I would also like to mention the exhibition of Giorgio de Chirico at the Onassis Foundation in New York where we presented the great artist through one hundred representative works of his evolutionary path”.

Speaking about his international career, he singles out “the collaborations with major museums abroad such as the Boston Museum of Fine Arts with the title “Still Life, from the 16th to the 21st century” and the exhibition “Faces of Modernism” organized at the National Gallery of Bucharest and the National Gallery of Sofia with the B & M Theocharakis Foundation, in which we aimed to explore, through 120 works, the existence of modernism in the period 1910-1940 in the Balkan countries. ”

The “art” of curation yields, according to him, creative, spiritual functions and life experiences. “I have had the good fortune to showcase the artists I admire,” he says. “It is a great honor for a curator to be trusted by artists to present their work. I consider my great teachers, through our collaboration, Panagiotis Tetsis, Dimitris Mytaras, Alekos Fassianos, Yannis Parmakelis and I am not forgetting Takis, Chryssa, the artists with whom I have collaborated and curated many exhibitions, as well as Kostas Varotsos and so many other artists I have had the pleasure of working with as a curator.”

The seascape, the light, the shades of the waves, the abstract imposing volumes of the rocks that coexist with the ripples, the magic of the mystery of the seabed, the new horizon of the eyes, compose an authentic Greek seascape through the personal art and aesthetics of the painter Basil Theocharakis.

In an overall picture of sea routes as it is captured through the curation of the exhibition “Glaucous Sea” by Takis Mavrotas.

Glaucus sea
Basil Theocharakis Exhibition
in Hydra
Historical Archive-Museum of Hydra
Exhibition curator.

Basil Theocharakis was born and raised in Piraeus. Whilst studying at the Law School of Athens University, from which he graduated in 1957, he also attended painting classes taught by the great painter Spyros Papaloukas, Professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Theocharakis first exhibited his work in 1957 at the World Youth Festival in Moscow and the 5th Panhellenic Painting Exhibition at the Zappeion Megaron. He has mounted many solo exhibitions in Greece as well as abroad and has participated in many group shows in Greece, other European countries and in the USA. Works of his can be found in public and private collections in Greece (National Gallery-Alexandros Soutsos Museum, Vorres Museum, Pierides Museum, Island of Rhodes Art Gallery, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Greek Ministry of Culture, Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Bank of Greece, Commercial Bank of Greece and Alpha Bank) and abroad. His work has repeatedly earned highly favourable reviews from art critics and historians. He lives and paints in Athens and is a member of the Chamber of Visual Arts of Greece. The French Government decorated him as Knight of the French Legion of Honour (Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur), the Ecumenical Patriarchate conferred on him the Office of Grand Archivist and he received the award of the Order of the Rising Sun with Neck Ribbon from the Emperor of Japan. In 2022 he was awarded the rank of Grand Commander of the Order of the Phoenix by the President of the Hellenic Republic. In 2007, he founded the non-profit Basil and Marina Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music. The foundation is housed in a heritage multi-storey building, at 9 Vasilissis Sofias Avenue, in Athens.

The exhibition will run until 16 November 2023 and will be accompanied by a multi-page catalogue of the same title published by Melissa Publications, with all the exhibited works, as well as texts by Christopher Hudson (former Director of Publications of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, New York), Takis Mavrotas, Claudio Strinati (former Curator of the Museums of Rome), Panagiotis Tetsis, Marina Lambraki-Plaka and Angelos Delivorrias.

Takis Mavrotas was born in Athens in 1959. He graduated from Panteion University, Department of Social Sciences, where he wrote his doctoral thesis on “The Body of Love and Death in Modern Greek Painting”. He worked in the office of Professor G. P. Savvidis and after the 1988 at the Pierides Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as at the Lambrakis Journalistic Organization as a visual arts editor. He is Director of the Visual Arts Programme of the B & M. Theocharakis Foundation. He has served as Director of the Pierides Museum and as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Gallery, the He has been Director of the National Gallery of Greece, the Hellenic Festival, the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, the National Sponsorship Committee of the Ministry of Culture, the Society of Greek Technocritics (A.I.CA.). He has curated many solo and group exhibitions: “Views of a Magna Grecia” by Enzo Crea at the National Bank of Greece Educational Foundation, 1987; “Review of a Collection of the National Bank of Greece Educational Foundation” at the National Gallery, 1988; “Dimitris Mytaras Retrospective” at the Pierides Museum, 1989, “Cypriot Medieval Ceramic Arts from the 13th to the 16th century” at the House of Cyprus, Athens, 1990, and subsequently at the Old Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and the Megaron Tokos-12th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities, “Dimitris Mytaras – Christos Karas” at Metropolis Art Galleries, New York, 1991, “Treasures of Ancient Cypriot Art” at the House of Cyprus, 1991, “The V. Frissiras Collection” at the Pierides Museum and the Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Athens, 1991, “Young Greek Artists” at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, 1992, “The V. Frissiras Collection” at the Arsenal Municipal Gallery of Chania, 1993,  “Clay and plasticity in Art” at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, 1993, and subsequently at the Pierides Museum, the Municipal Arts Centre of Nicosia and the Basilica of St. Francis of Rethymnon, 1994,  “Contemporary Greek Painting Collection V. “Contemporary Cypriot Art – Bank of Cyprus”, HELEXPO Thessaloniki, 1994, “Cyprus – 9000 years of culture” at the EEC Summit in Corfu, 1994, “Cyprus – 9000 years of culture” at the Greek Parliament, 1996, “Cyprus – 9000 years of culture” at the Greek Parliament, 1996, “Post-war avant-garde in Greece” at the Municipal Gallery of Rhodes, 1996, “Sail of Cypriots” at the Mamidakis Foundation, Agios Nikolaos, Crete, 1996, “Dimitris Sakellion” at the Pierides Gallery, 1998, “The anthropocentric character in the painting of Alekos Fassianos”, at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, 1998, “Panagiotis Tanimanidis” at the Pierides Gallery, 1999, “Cypriot Antiquities from the Pierides Foundation Museum”, at the Pierides Gallery, 1999, “The Yannis Kynigopoulos Collection”, at the Pierides Museum, 1999, “The Yannis Kynigopoulos Collection”, in Syros, 1999, “Takis – Chryssa” at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, 2000, “Yannis Adamakos” at Pierides Museum, 2000, “The Rethymnon Contemporary Visual Creation Center Collection”, at Pierides Museum, 2000, “Yiorgos Xenos” at Pierides Museum, 2001, “Ancient Art of Cyprus”, at Pierides Museum, Athinaida, 2001, “Olympic Ideal and Art – Collection of the Olympic Museum of Lausanne”, Athinais, 2002, “Space in Painting and Architecture” at Athinais, 2003, “Apollo’s Legacy” at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, 2003, “Steps of Life” by Christina Sarantopoulou at the Pierides Gallery, 2003, “Our Neighbours” at Athinais, 2004, “Pillars and Columns” at the European Cultural Centre of Delphi, 2005, “The Cyclades through of 20 Contemporary Artists”” at the Museum of Cycladic Art, 2005, etc.

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