A PLACE TO BE

Fokas Yiannis, untitled, acrylic on canvas-mixed media - Artforum Culture Foundation

Fokas Yiannis, acrylic on canvas-mixed media – Artforum Culture Foundation

Time for a new self-consciousness

Greece is wellknown for its history and culture, a culture which is based on philosophy, art and the value of common communication.  A world without the spiritual influence of its people is inconceivable. But the transfiguration of Hellenism sometimes in a bloodless veneration is primarily a German invention of the Classical and Romantic periods.

It has little in common with the life of contemporaries in Greece. The days of great philosophers and artists may be over, but the tremendous legacy dates back to the 20th century. We can call it a new renaissance, back to the basics and concentrated more on content than on form. This may hardly be noticeable, especially since most Greeks rest on an ancient legacy – but the strength is palpable. Internal and external political conditions had led to culture spreading in exile rather staying in the background. For most of the protagonists, a striking type of modesty got typical. This has enabled them to survive and develop even in the most difficult conditions in the country, but especially in exile. Modern Greek writers and artists have something to tell to the world. On the one hand restraint and and on the other on a high level of critical empathy – this perspective is typical of such diverse writers as Andreas Embirikos, Konstantinos Kavafis, Giorgios Seferis, Odysseas Elytis, Giannis Ritsos or Nikos Kazantzakis.

Without personalities such as Teriade and Christos Zervos, classic modernity would certainly not have been able to begin its triumphal march in the same way. Artists such as Andy Warhol, Victor Brauner, Alexander Calder and René Magritte have also achieved international fame thanks to the expertise and support of Alexander Iolas. Jannis Kounellis even chose modesty as the style element of an entire art movement, arte povera. It also takes a lot of perseverance and a great inner fire to keep focusing on art and culture and, for example, to create in times of economic crisis an international platform with the Art Thessaloniki.

But we have to imagine: All of these efforts need support.

Business, politics, society and everyone benefit from the work of creative artists and mediators. Especially in times of Corona, better framework conditions and help are needed to hold creativity in the country. The undoubtedly great Greek talent of being curious and communicating (in this form only to be compared with the Jewish one) must not be suffocated in their own country or constantly stand on their feet. The aim should not be to flee but to exchange with other countries in order to use this potential.

Of course, what is said here applies not only to the entire field of culture, but also to to science and business. Cultural exchange and the promotion of independent in-house developments need political and economic support. Just creativity, innovation and good vibrations ensure the basis of a sustainable society.