The first-ever U.S. exhibition devoted to Yannis Tsarouchis, one of the most prominent Greek painters of the 20th century, is set to open in Chicago, Illinois, on Friday, May 7.
“Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life” will open at the city’s Wrightwood 659 exhibition space and remain available for viewing on Fridays and Saturdays from May 7-July 31.
The exhibition will feature almost 200 works including paintings and works on paper from public and private collections in Greece and internationally.
These works span the entire arc of Tsarouchis’ career, showing how he absorbed and transformed influences including ancient Greek and early Christian art; Byzantine mosaics, frescoes, and icon painting; Greek vernacular traditions: costume, ornament and shadow theater Karaghiozis; and also the new languages of modern art: Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism.
During the military junta rule in Greece between 1967 and 1974, Tsarouchis worked in self-exile in Paris, France. In 1981 he established the Athens-based Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation which remains dedicated to the preservation and advancement of his work.
The upcoming exhibition is organized around several recurring subjects and structural devices present in Tsarouchis’s art: the exploration and staging of the Other Self in portraiture; the invention of new allegories; theater as a machine of image production; dance as an embodiment of realness; landscape as introspection; and difference and repetition.
“Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life”is curated by Androniki Gripari, Chair of the Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation in Athens, and Adam Szymczyk, former Artistic Director of Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel (2013–2017). The exhibition is made possible by the Alphawood Foundation Chicago.
About Yannis Tsarouchis
Tsarouchis remains relatively unknown outside of Greece, but he is unanimously recognized in his native country as its most important painter of the 20th century.
Born in 1910 in the Greek port city of Piraeus and educated at the School of Fine Arts in Athens, he began painting at an early age and earned his living as a set and costume designer for the theater.
In 1935 Tsarouchis went to Paris for the first time, where he encountered the work of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and other artists of the Avant-garde.
In 1938, at the age of 28, he had his first solo exhibition in Athens. After serving in the Greek army on the Albanian front in World War II, Tsarouchis returned to painting and working in the theater, gaining an international reputation.
During the rule of Greece’s military junta, Tsarouchis went into exile in Paris and later returned to Athens, where he lived until his death in 1989.
Hours of Operation
Fridays and Saturdays, May 7–July 31, 2021
Tickets for the exhibition are $15 and available online only, beginning April 19. Click here for tickets. Please note: Admission is by advance ticket only and walk-ups are not permitted.
For the presentation of “Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life,” Wrightwood 659 will require visitors to wear face masks and observe social distancing. Among other precautions, the institution has installed a state-of-the-art air filtration system and will continue to regularly sanitize public spaces. Admissions will be limited to ensure visitor and staff safety.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated, 400-page publication that will be available for purchase at Wrightwood 659.
About Wrightwood 659
Established in 2018, Wrightwood 659 is a private, non-collecting institution devoted to socially engaged art and architecture. Located at 659 W. Wrightwood Avenue in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, the intimate space officially opened in late 2018 and presents two public exhibitions annually. Wrightwood 659 was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, who transformed a 1920s building with his signature concrete forms and poetic treatment of natural light. For more information, visit the institution’s website.
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