Panayiotis Tetsis Exhibition @Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center

The SNFCC and the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum co-organize the exhibition “Greek Light and Colour in Panayiotis Tetsis’s Painting”, as part of the free 4-day cultural event “Metamorphosis: The SNFCC to the World”.


The exhibition presents 35 representative works of the recently deceased painter from Hydra. The works are in their majority part of the artist’s generous donation to the National Gallery. The paintings include the monumental work “Street Market”, as well as some of the last imposing works of the late artist depicting windswept Greek shores.

The co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos, explains the idea behind the selection of Panayiotis Tetsis in the booklet that accompanies the exhibition, which will be available to visitors free of charge:

“At a first glance, the choice of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) as an exhibition space for the display of 35 paintings by the late Panayotis Tetsis may seem rather unusual. After all, the SNFCC’s three major constituents are the National Library of Greece, the Greek National Opera and the Stavros Niarchos Park. From the very first moment of its conception, however, the SNFCC was imagined to be so much more than the sum of its three major parts. Its vision is that of a global institution that continually seeks innovative ways to fuse today’s transnational revolutions in knowledge, art, information retrieval and processing, and entertainment and leisure in order to attract scholars, artists, students and audiences from all around the world to its events and projects.


Viewed from this perspective, the exhibition of Tetsis’s works accurately fits the SNFCC’s programmatic aspirations and visions. Moreover, this is not simply just an exhibition that happens to fit within the parameters of the SNFCC’s artistic mission. The decision to collaborate with the National Gallery of Greece in organizing this exhibit was also motivated by an understanding of the profound similarities that exist between Tetsis’s and Renzo Piano’s creative visions and their manifestation in their paintings and buildings respectively. Hanging Tetsis’s paintings on the walls of the SNFCC aims to instigate a conversation between the canvasses and the building’s walls on the penetrating ways that physical landscape impacts and influences both of them.

Tetsis’s paintings are directly affected by and respond to the artist’s surrounding environment. His compositions constitute an unceasing effort to express through color the force but also, at times, the subtlety with which Greek light permeates continuously images of the landscape and the quotidian. He is consumed and defined by his sense of Greekness. Light’s continuous interplay with water, earth and air dominates every touch of his brush on the canvas.

Renzo Piano’s buildings are similarly defined, among other things, by his desire and ability to engage with the surrounding environment. His architecture reflects a deep understanding and, consequently, engagement with the physical landscape that surrounds and interacts with his projects. Like Tetsis’s canvasses, the SNFCC reflects Piano’s attempts to capture the powerful way in which light, air and the sea dominate the Attica landscape. Light’s continuous interplay with water, earth and air leaves an indelible mark on the SNFCC’s design. The architect’s unceasing occupation with the elements is hard to miss. The canal, the canopy, the lighthouse, the park, the hill are obvious manifestations of this indelible mark.

The careful observer of Tetsis’s paintings and Piano’s buildings detects in both of them an intense sense of craftsmanship, manifested in their deep understanding and the significance they assign to the primary materials that shape and give life to their art. Tetsis’s and Piano’s work is defined by their masterful ways of handling such primary material. Paint, glass, metal, stone, cement are used in an expressive manner, not only to give rise to concrete shapes and forms but also in an effort to capture and reflect mood and emotion.


Panayotis Tetsis was one of Modern Greece’s greatest, most creative, authentic, and perhaps, most importantly, modest artists. His paintings find at the SNFCC a perfect home, albeit temporary, created by an artist, Renzo Piano, whose work and character are defined by strikingly similar qualities: decency, civility, character and an unceasing commitment and drive towards an enlightened society.”

Exhibition Location: Agora Lobby

Exhibition Duration: 23.06-31.07.2016

DONOR: Stavros Niarchos Foundation

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