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"Olympic Cities: Gods Becoming Men" at the Frissiras museum in Athens

By Genia Chef


Genia Chef and Vlassis Frissiras in front of Chef`s work "The Original Sin" at the Frissiras Museum in Athens.


Traditionally, the Olympic Games have always been a union of sport and of culture as well.

Therefore, for the Greeks an extensive cultural program is a must during the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The art exhibition "Olympic Cities: Gods Becoming Men" at the Frissiras Museum in Athens is one of the high points of this program.

The Frissiras Museum is the only museum of contemporary European art in Athens. Vlassis Frissiras, the owner of the museum, is a well-known lawyer in Athens, who spends almost all his money on his great passion, which is figurative painting. He started to collect art at the age of 18, when he still was a student. Now he owes more than 3,500 pieces of art, most of them by Greek artists, but also by some famous international artists. Last year this exceptional personality was awarded an Order by the Greek President for his merits for the cultural life of Greece.

Four years ago, he opened his museum in the center of the Plaka, the beautiful old part of the city just below the Acropolis. There he bought two neo-classical buildings, which he carefully restored, financing it all by himself.


One of the two neo-classical buildings of the Frissiras Museum in Athens, Greece.


The exhibition "Olympic Cities: Gods Becoming Men" is being shown in one of the two buildings, and a retrospective of Greek art in his collection is in the other.

The prominent English curator and honorary director of the museum, Edward Lucie-Smith has this reply to the question about the idea of the exhibition:

"The Olympics, surely, are about athletes who attain semi-divine status through physical prowess. Yet the Games are also about other things--they are about those who compete and fall short of their objectives--the athlete who arrives as a demi-god may depart as a mere mortal. And they are about the descent of the god into mere mortal flesh--that is, about both transcendence and self-transcendence."

"So, the Olympics besides showing humanity at its most perfect, also show how people fail in their aspirations. That in order to achieve, we have to be ready to fail and that is part of the theme of the exhibition. For example, you have a photograph of a very beautiful boy, but he has no legs; nevertheless, he is able to walk on his hands. So, the exhibition is about the compromises we make in terms of a body."


Edward Lucie-Smith, curator of the exhibition and honorary director of the museum (in yellow shirt) and Genia Chef.


Among the 25 artists in the exhibition, there are representatives from every continent.

The opening ceremony was very well attended. As always, the opening ceremony at the Frissiras Museum was a big cultural event in the Greek capital. The exhibit continues to September 12, 2004. The web site of the exhibition is www.godsbecomingmen.com



Copyright 2004 West Art, Prometheus 93


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Copyright 2004 West-Art

PROMETHEUS, Internet Bulletin for Art, News, Politics and Science.

Nr. 93, Autumn 2004