Philip Tsiaras: The Supereal 1971-2009. Selected Works From The TMP Collection

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30.04 - 15.05.2013 Stella Art Foundation, Moscow

Co-organization: Museum of Photogrsaphy, Thessaloniki (TMP) and Stella Art Foundation, Moscow With the support of: Hellenic Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs, Culture and Sports – General Secretariat of Culture Production: Museum of Photogrsaphy, Thessaloniki Curator: Vangelis Ioakimidis In co-operation with: Greek-Russian Friendship Association, Russian Centre of Thessaloniki, Gallery Donopoulos International Fine Arts Under the auspices of: Ministry of Macedonia and Thrace

The exhibition is also presented as part of the “Fashion and Style in Photography” Festival, organized by the Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow

This is a solo exhibition of Philip Tsiaras, a Greek American artist, based in New York. Even though Philip Tsiaras is a multi-facet artist whose interests also cover painting and sculpture, this exhibition is solely photographic and is a selection from a grand retrospective of his photographic work which took place in Thessaloniki at the Museum of Photography in Thessaloniki in 2009.

The works cover a time span of over thirty years from 1971 to 2009 and follow his artistic development. The exhibition was then divided into five thematic series, while the present selection includes works from three of them: Faces, Motion and the Family Album which is considered to be his most comprehensive project.

The works illustrate Philip Tsiaras’ complex artistic nature; the visitor makes a journey from the exploration of formal photography using innovative, narrative sequences alluding to cinematographic fantasy to a more personal feeling by investigating his own cultural Greek – American duality with humor, irony and theatricality.

In Faces, Philip Tsiaras explores his subject’s portraits through mirrors and glasses and through his own eyes we are introduced to some of the protagonists in his life.

In Motion, the artist experiments with the medium of photography and its potentials in relation to his interests, the plasticity of form and the studying of cinematic sequences. In the Family Album, Philip Tsiaras satirizes the life of the Greek-American family he came from and the stereotypes which accompanied the Greek immigrants of the 70s. While the artist takes a center stage in most of the pictures with the imagery of the child/lover, every member of his family appearing plays an important role which is made clear by the composition of the picture.

There is also a short film (10’ min) on the artist’s work included in the exhibition production. A bilingual catalogue of the exhibition is also available.

Extracts from the catalogue’s curatorial texts “By the middle 1980s the photographic form that I identified as “the autobiographical mode” had blossomed. In an essay exploring this mode I suggested that the works it encompassed had three main branches, not necessarily mutually exclusive: the self-portrait, the family album, and the diary. Tsiaras’s Family Album project melds all of these approaches to provide a quirky set of insights into growing up eccentric and creative within a relatively conventional immigrant Greek cultural environment in the northeast U.S. Unlike so many of his contemporaries in the art world, Tsiaras does not consider mastery of photographic craft an embarrassment: his images are intelligently framed, carefully lit, and though fully printed (by himself). As a result they sustain repeated viewing, revealing their nuances over time, thus enriching the whole”. – Allan D. Coleman, Photograph critic “The entirety of Tsiaras’ work covers all three basic trends in contemporary photography through an idiosyncratic, entirely personal amalgam of techniques: the photography of the real, the photography of cinematic narration and the photography of a plastic, malleable dimension. For Tsiaras, it has always been important to choose challenging subjects, and equally so to challenge conventions defining what is beautiful and what is high art. It is within this wide range of creative activity that the predominance of a pattern of repetition becomes apparent. Repetition functions as means of comprehending the object, the active subject and the movement inherent in time. This leitmotif becomes the dominant trend of Tsiaras’ work and it is through different themes, some more complete than others, that Tsiaras constructs his personal narrative.” – Vangelis Ioakimidis, TMP Director “The undefinableness, the openness, with which Tsiaras confront us is carefully calculated and decidedly perfidious in its effect. Everyone who looks at the pictures must confront themselves at some point. At the very least, when you begin to interpret and associate.” – Andreas Bee, art historian Philip Tsiaras is an international artist of Greek origin who lives and works in New York City. He was born in New Hampshire, USA, in 1952. He studied music and comparative literature. He was also an assistant of Loukas Samaras. His art work includes photography, painting, poetry, sculpture, ceramics and glass. Since 1974 he made more than 75 one-person exhibitions including: Seattle Museum of Art, Thessaloniki Center of Contemporary Art, Mannheimer Kunstverien, Mannheim, Bernier Gallery, Athens, Studio Palazzoli, Milan, Shea & Beker Gallery, New York, Margulies/Taplin Gallery, Miami, Tegnerforbundet Gallery, Oslo, Museum Santa Apollonia, Venice, Gallerie Dominion, Montreal, Newport Art Museum, R.I., Villa Reale, Monza, The Currier Museum, N.H., Spazio Cavallieri di Malta, Syracusa, Pinakotech of the Cyclades, Syros, International Contemporary Art Fair, Istanbul, New Fortress, Corfu. In the recent years he realised the exhibitions Philip Tsiaras, New Work in Istanbul, Glassy Sultans in Bodrum, Turkey, Mediterrania in Idaho, USA (2008), while he participated also in Art-Athina 09. He has exhibited in the Venice Bienalle three times and produced a ten foot bronze sculpture on the Grand Canal entitled Social Climber. Philip Tsiaras has been the recipient of many important prizes: The American Academy Award for Poetry, The Thomas Watson Fellowship, New York State C.A.P.S grant, two N.E.A. National Endowment Grants for Arts, nomination for the Blickle Stiftung International Photography Prize, Germany and The Generali Assicurazioni Gold Metal Award for “Civilita” Venice. Philip Tsiaras’ works are widely collected in corporate, private and important museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Twenty books and catalogues are attributed to his work; most notably monographs published by Electa, Mondadori and Contrasto books.
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