National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens


01/11/2001 - 03/02/2002


Costas Tsoclis

A Retrospective

Former Fix Brewery Factory

01/11/2001 – 03/02/2002

Curated By: Katerina Koskina

It is the first major retrospective of one of the most remarkable representatives of modernism in Greece, in the second half of the 20th century.
Costas Tsoclis was born in Athens, in 1930. In 1957, after the completion of his studies he settled in Rome and after three years in Paris, where he remained until 1985 when he returned to Greece.
Thematic entities were presented ( First Years, Objects, Drawings Objects, Nature, Live Painting), 86 paintings, constructions, space and video installations covering a wide time range of the journey of the pioneering artist, whose creative mark has been since the ’50s and until present day, incessant questioning doubt and experimentation.


The First Years entity, presents works (carbon and cement on burlap) from the first years of his stay in Italy and France. The first works date from 1959, a landmark accepted by Costas Tsoclis as the initiation of his career, in which we observe gradually the abolishment of the subject and the endeavours targeted at conquering the third dimension.
The Objects entity aims at providing a most indicative image of the most important period, which starts in 1966 and lasts until the mid ’70s, when Tsoclis becomes established and exhibits widely in Europe and the USA. The exhibited works picture the relation of the artist with the wall-pieces which disturb the rules of vision, by employing numerous inventive techniques, such as perspective and trompe-l’-oeil.
In Drawings Objects the theme remains the same, the representation of truth, the materials however are more fragile and ephemeral (newspapers, rice paper,), while drawing plays an important role.
In Nature the exhibited works re-examine the data of topography and the relation between Nature and Art. They treat poetically themes related to the sea and its particular importance to history and the collective subconscious of the Greek people. Trees are another favourite subject for the artist; it often returns with powerful ecological extensions, as in the ephemeral installation Colossal Nature Morte, created especially for the exhibition and installed outside the Museum.
In the Live Painting entity, the second major important and innovative moment of the artist after Objects, are shown: Harpooned Fish and Portraits, two nodal works which were originally presented in the Venice Biennale, in 1986. The sense of paintings in motion, achieved by video projection on a painted surface deprives none of the pictoriality of the works, while the viewer is driven by the power of both message and image.

Katerina Koskina


Editor: Katerina Koskina
Texts by: Katerina Koskina, Pierre Restany, Bruno Cora, Manos Perrakis and text selection by: Alekos Kontopoulos, Heinz Ohff, Jose Pierre, Nikos Karouzos, Jean Pierre van Tiefhem, Maria Kotzamani, Eurydice Trichon – Milsani, Sania Papa, Costas Tsoclis, Maria Marangou, Demosthenis Davvetas, Giuliano Serafini.
320 p., 30X24cm., repr., EMST, Athens 2001
Bilingual (greek-english), includes reproductions of the works
ΙSBN 960- 86713- 4-5
Out of print