Sail­ing the seas of painter Costas Tso­clis at his Ti­nos mu­seum

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY EMILIOS HARBIS

The Costas Tso­clis Mu­seum in Kam­bos on the Aegean is­land of Ti­nos is cap­ti­vat­ing from the get-go thanks to an im­pos­ing sculp­ture of Saint Ge­orge slay­ing the dragon in the court­yard, a work of art that con­nects the clas­si­cal and the mod­ern, a hy­brid style that ex­em­pli­fies the artist’s work.

Costas Tso­clis, now 87, has made Ti­nos his sec­ond home and has en­dowed the is­land with his artis­tic legacy in the mu­seum, of­fi­cially launched in early June with Greek Pres­i­dent Prokopis Pavlopou­los in at­ten­dance.

The mu­seum has has al­ready been around for a decade or so, lo­cated in the build­ing that was once home to Kam­bos’s old pri­mary school. Ev­ery sum­mer, the school’s old class­rooms host var­i­ous art ex­hi­bi­tions, while con­cur­rent ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams are also of­fered.

This year’s ex­hi­bi­tion, “The Sea as I Re­mem­ber It,” is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant as it fea­tures “Seas­cape” and “Rain­bow,” two works with which Tso­clis rep­re­sented Greece at the 1986 Venice Bi­en­nale. The paint­ings dom­i­nate the mu­seum’s spa­cious first hall, ac­quaint­ing vis­i­tors with the re­al­is­tic, tac­tile qual­ity of the artist’s work.

A “bi­o­graph­i­cal” cor­ri­dor fol­lows, of­fer­ing mu­seum vis­i­tors in­for­ma­tion on the artist’s life and work. It leads to the fi­nal and most fas­ci­nat­ing part of the build­ing. Large sky­lights al­low in nat­u­ral light, which is fil­tered through blue fab­ric to cre­ate an il­lu­sory un­der­wa­ter ef­fect. As a re­sult, the art work hang­ing on the walls gives the im­pres­sion of pre­cious ar­ti­facts wait­ing to be re­trieved from the bot­tom of the sea. At the same time, a mir­ror with a boat trans­forms this sup­posed “seabed” into a “sea sur­face,” which ap­pears to be end­lessly crossed by some trav­eler.

“This year is sig­nif­i­cant for our mu­seum, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. Be­sides the ex­hi­bi­tion, the mu­seum’s es­tab­lish­ment as a mu­nic­i­pal in­sti­tu­tion will al­low us to ap­ply for EU sub­si­dies, in order to im­prove and ex­pand the build­ing,” said Chrysan­thi Kout­souraki, the mu­seum’s di­rec­tor.

“With this in mind, the artist has al­ready bought an ad­ja­cent plot of land in­tended to host the mu­seum’s new wing,” she added.

Most re­cently, Kout­souraki started work­ing on a Tso­clis cat­a­logue raisonne, com­pil­ing a com­pre­hen­sive and an­no­tated list of the artist’s body of work as pre­cisely as pos­si­ble.

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