Contemporary creations animate the Benaki Museum collections
July 17th – December 31st, 2017
For the second consecutive year, the three dynamic entities with significant activity in their respective sectors in the country, the Benaki Museum, Costa Navarino, and the Athens International Airport, have joined forces for culture, and present an ambitious cultural exhibition titled:
“Under the spell of Greek costume: Contemporary creations animate the Benaki Museum collections”.
It consists a group exhibition that brings together 15 world-renowned fashion designers and talented artists who love Greece and embrace the Greek element in their work. Drawing inspiration from the collection of printed sources of Greek costume from the 16th to the 20th century, donation of J.D. Koilalous at the Benaki Museum, the prominent creators, present works inspired by the traditional Greek costume and promote the infinitude of Greek elements in fashion and aesthetics.
The airport exhibition
At the Athens International Airport, this group exhibition includes the presentation of the costume "Connecting the Memories" by the fashion creator Dimitris Dassios and the video "Costumes" by the artist Margarita Myrogianni. The two artworks are incorporated into a specially designed scenery, where enlarged details from Greek landscapes from the works of Koilalous' Collection and female figures "from the past” are dressed in the creations of the fashion designers, in the same way as presented in the parallel exhibition at the Costa Navarino. Curator of the exhibition is the scenographer Paul Thanopoulos. The exhibition takes place at the "Art & Environment” exhibition area, Departures Level (Entrance 3 / All Users Area - accessible on a 24hour basis).
The artworks of Dimitris Dassios and Margarita Myrogianni are accompanied by pictures from creations of: Jean-Paul Gaultier, Zeus + Dione, Mary Katrantzou, Sophia Kokosalaki, as well as exhibits from the MENTIS Centre for the Preservation of Traditional Textile Techniques of the Benaki Museum and the Lyceum of Greek Women of Kalamata.
The authentic works are presented in the parallel exhibition at the Costa Navarino, where the following artists also participate: Antonakis, Blind Adam, Chrysa Voudouroglou, Vassilis Zografos, Konstantin Kakanias, Apostolos Karastergiou and Sofia Stevi.
At the same time and for the same period, Jean -Paul Gaultier chose to exhibit at the Benaki Museum (Koumbari 1 Str., Athens), a creation from his collection titled "Tribute to Greece", connecting thus the parallel events.
The Greek costume
…has been a timeless source of inspiration and a starting point for new creations. The imagination in the composition of all its various pieces, the daring color combinations, the rare morphological variety, the intense symbolism, the luxury of the ornated jewels, fascinated the western aesthetics with their exotic glamor and magnificence, and attracted the foreign artists – travelers who visited Greece since the 16th century.
Today, the printed iconographic sources on the subject constitute a pictorial corpus that is fascinating and revelatory of the European aesthetic orientations of the period, the personal style of their makers as well as the way that they have approached one of the most functional and yet inspired expressions of Greek life and cultural heritage.
Once again, a new, contemporary reading of the wealth of Greek costume is presented in the exhibition through the work of renowned Greek and international fashion designers and artists, all of whom have worked, at one point or another, under the spell of Greek costume.
The J.D. Koilalous collection at the Benaki Museum
The J.D. Koilalous collection consisting of printed representations depicting the Greek costume in all its manifestations has been displayed at the Benaki Museum (September 20th – November 12th 2006), during the exhibition “Greek Costume: Printed sources 16th-20th centuries from the J.D. Koilalous Collection“. Most of them, engravings and watercolours, are the creations of foreign travellers that had visited Greece during the years of Frankish and Ottoman domination; they were fascinated and bequeathed a rich record of visual testimonies for one of the most functional and equally imaginative expressions of Greek life and cultural tradition. Most of them are not mere recordings, but depictions inspired by narratives "staged" in their environment, or sartorial contrivances of foreign painters. Many of the artworks form a romantic narrative of Greek history through the eyes of visitors fascinated by a foreign and mysterious place.