DIMOSTHENIS KOKKINIDIS, …AND REGARDING THE REMEMBRANCE OF EVILS …1967-1997
18/04 - 02/06/2013
Dimosthenis Kokkinidis, …and regarding the remembrance of evils …1967-1997
18/04 – 02/06/2013
The National Museum of Contemporary Art presents, in the framework of the series Every Month, twelve works from its collections by Dimosthenis Kokkinidis, from the important entity …and regarding the remembrance of evils…, enriched with fourteen more works from the artist’s collection. The works exhibited here were created during the seven years of dictatorship in Greece and offer the chance to the audience to look back to the country’s recent political memory.
A political and social minded artist, Kokkinidis, already from the beginning of his artistic career, expresses his views through his work so the violent overthrow of the democracy in Greece could not leave him unaffected. Right after the imposing of the dictatorship, the artist spontaneously starts painting, expressing his thoughts and reactions, giving his personal critical, often denunciatory, comment for the events and those responsible for the dictatorship.
A first core of works was created from May of 1967 until the spring of 1968, having as main subject figures in military uniforms depicted distorted, often looking like monsters or caricatures, sometimes in an abstract style, without clear characteristics and details, and other times in an expressionistic style. Those works remained hidden in the artist’s atelier for obvious reasons and some of them were presented thirty years later, in 1997 at the Astra Gallery under the title ……and regarding the remembrance of evils…1967-1997.
The strict almost suffocating drawing space, the selection and use of color and also the eloquent symbolisms of those works, as the American flag – significant of the USA interference, the repetition of the Greek flag in different shapes and colors as well as the Greek landscape photographs reminding of the country that suffers, the stripes which remind of prison bars, the muzzled figures, the radio which is the only connection to the outside word, are elements that show the feeling of the lack of freedom, the diffused discomfort, the anxiety for the future and the repulsion for those responsible for the suffering of the country. In these paintings we can find the beginning of two more entities, the Identities and the Motherhood, which evolved from 1968 until 1974.
Protagonists in the works of the Identities series are known and anonymous victims of the dictatorial violence in all of its forms. Male and female figures which are depicted in intense color contrasts and dominate the drawing space, narrate stories about their sufferings, the imprisonments, the trials and the interrogations and reveal their feelings, the fear, the anxiety, the waiting. Works from this series were exhibited in 1971, at the Zoumboulakis Gallery.
The birth of his daughter in 1967 impels the artist to deal with the subject of motherhood. In the works of the Motherhood series the figures of the mother and child prevail, silently coming out of soft outlines on delicate colored backgrounds. The absence of the mail figure is dominant. The father, maybe imprisoned or exiled, exists in the works of this series only as an absence and remembrance through a photograph.
The court is one more subject that Kokkinidis dealt with regarding dictatorship, mainly from 1970 onwards. He paints grey, faceless figures of judges, unable to talk and stand up to the authority. Apart from the paintings, Dimosthenis Kokkinidis creates a series of wooden constructions shaped as rectangular boxes in which he “constraints” landscapes and human figures, sometimes perpetrators and other times victims.
Photo: May 1967, Dimosthenis Kokkinidis, …and regarding the remembrance of evils …1967-1997
Donated by the artist, 2002