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Fassianos: Everyday Myths – Le Quotidien Mythique

The Song of the Night, Chant Nocturne, Oil on canvas, 90 x 107cm, 35 ½ x 42 in.

Exhibition preview

AN EXHIBITION entitled Fassianos: Everyday Myths – Le Quotidien Mythique is on display at the Grosvenor Gallery from December 7 to December 20, 2012.

Fassianos is regarded as one of the greatest masters of postwar Greek art and this is his first solo exhibition at the Gallery.

Alekos Fassianos (b. 1935) studied violin at the Athens Conservatory and painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts from 1956 – 1960, where he was taught from Yannis Moralis. He then went to Paris on a French State scholarship (1962–1964) where he attended lessons on lithography along with Clairin and Caroline Chariot-Dayez.

He lived and worked solely in Paris from 1966 and divided his time between Paris and Athens from 1974. His first real recognition came during a New York exhibition at the Facchetti Gallery in 1966. Since then Fassianos has had many exhibitions worldwide including ones in Athens, Hamburg, Tokyo, Milan, Munich, Paris, London, Stockholm and the United States.

Fassianos draws inspiration from Greek myths, Fayum portraits, Byzantine icons and the shadow theatre. His paintings are also characterized by motion which is emphasized by the hair or cloth waving in the breeze. In his artistic maturity his figures are known for their voluptuousness and the luminosity of the colour he uses to highlight the sensuality and the immense pleasure of everyday life.

This is probably less true of his early works. His works from the 1960s were made in the expressionist style and his figures are more grotesque.

The Watermelon Man - L'homme des Pastèques, Oil on canvas, 88 x 59.5 cm, 34 ½ x 23 ½ in.

“As in ancient pottery, Fassianos’s modern figures are captured in an eternal contre-jour which renders them both precise and timeless. These figures inhabit a land which might well be Greece, a totally luminous and airy land, an Aeolian land. The wind which tosses the hair of Fassianos’s figures is the same wind which pervades Homer’s epics and fills Odysseus’s sails on his way to meet the Sirens.” (top image)

Jean-Marie Drot, former director of the French Academy in Rome, notes that “for Fassianos, the artist’s ultimate goal is to transform the most elemental aspects of everyday life, the most familiar figures into divinities, retracing, in reverse, the ancient tradition that allowed the great Olympian gods to assume the guise of mortals and mingle with them, talk to them and even seduce them without scaring them.” (second image)

Apart from painting he has worked on scribing, poster creation, illustration of books and various publications in Greece and abroad. He has also collaborated in many theatrical projects with the National Theatre of Greece and has also written many poems and essays. Fassianos had also been invited to produce stamps and posters for the Athens 2004 Olympics.

Times: Monday to Friday 9:30am – 5:30pm, Saturday 12 – 4pm, Sunday closed.

Grosvenor Gallery, 21 Ryder Street, London, SW1Y 6PX

Tel: +44 (0)20 7484 7979