Culture lovers, a trip to Athens wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the newly opened Alekos Fassianos Museum & Estate- bringing to light the work and legacy of this famous Greek artist.
A neighbourhood full of treasures….
The area of Metaxourgio is described by many as one of the most vibrant and colourful neighbourhoods in Athens. While many walk around the streets and admire the beautiful modern designed buildings of the area, few know that in the past this place was a lively cultural centre, with fine neoclassical and 1950s residences. Nearby is the Fino’s studio, which was one of the biggest filmmaking companies in Greece back in the 60s, a catalyst in the region’s cultural flourishing. Then, in the corner a building makes you look up, so different from its neighbours- it’s beautiful and measured…
This tall, minimal architectural estate of urban aesthetics is the museum dedicated to the memorable Greek painter Alekos Fassianos- the beginning of his life and artistic activity.
The starting point…
At the foundations of what is today the Alekos Fassianos Museum, from the 1930s until the 1970s, was the paternal home of the artist. A small neoclassical property with an inner courtyard and a tiled roof. Growing up there, Fassianos’ memories of the vibrant neighbourhood – filled with theatres and cinemas – came to stamp his later artistic subject matter. Through his wanderings, Fassianos explored the city and came into direct contact with micro-trades of this Athenian neighbourhood- the itinerant craftsman and street sellers, professions represented in his works throughout his life.
The idea of creating a museum is born…
In the 1970s, the neoclassical building was demolished to become, at the request of his mother Eleni, an apartment building for her children. Fassianos, with his widely known artistic activity, was living in Paris at the time and was dissatisfied with his mother’s decision to destroy his childhood memories. And in fact, the above episode was the springboard for Fassianos to collaborate with his friend and architect Kyriakos Krokos at the end of 1980, to remodel this building. During the renovation, they created on the ground floor a small exhibition space that would host his future works. The common aesthetic and philosophical principles, with which the painter and his architect friend created are evident in every corner of every floor.
The museum is under construction…
The architectural style that both Fassianos and Krokos wanted to develop was clean and minimal. The entire space is carefully enriched and shaped using a variety of materials and finishes (concrete, stone, mosaic, brick, plaster) with a colour palette of earthy greys, reds and ochres.
The architect wanted the structure of the building to be highlighted and the materials to be visible, while the main concern of the artist was to create a space that would create a harmonious dialogue with his works. Their artistic sensibility is evident in the structure of the space – with the different finishes and techniques including stonemasonry, the marble border that frames the mosaic floor, and the details such as the ornate spiral staircase, the mosaic floor, the painted figures on the walls using a fresco technique, the brass door handles – as well as the metal dragon hanging from the basement ceiling to hide cables in a creative way.
The curation aims to introduce the scope of the work of Fassianos from 1956 until the last years of the artist’s life. In the exhibition, we find early works with an abstract mood of the 60s as well as his early years in Paris. Works influenced by Byzantine art, collages, mixed techniques, and invisible but also widely recognisable paintings with the most characteristic writing of the talented artist.
The character of the neighbourhood unfolds through works that are represented through images and experiences that the artist acquired in the area where he grew up, and while wandering the streets of Athens.
Following the path of the human soul, in the depths and underground space of the museum are works based on myths and heroes- that spoke from an early age to the heart and mind of the artist. Οn the ground floor are his works related to urban life. While the first floor is fully dedicated to the spirit and includes items from his relationship with intellectuals.
The purpose of the museum…
Beyond the paintings, the exhibition aims to highlight the multifaceted personality of the artist – presenting handmade objects, furniture and lighting – as well as texts he wrote, books he illustrated, and a rich archive of his involvement in set design and design costumes for comedies by Aristophanes and plays by Eugène Ionesco and Jean-Paul Sartre. The exhibition unfolds in a handmade tapestry where every detail is curated by Fassianos – from the knobs on the doors and the handles on the cabinets to the nails on the mirrors and the frescoes and mosaic floors.
The Alekos Fassianos Museum is an important cultural space in Athens, in terms of both contemporary visual art and architecture. It is also one of the few museums in the world where the synergy between artist and architect supports the dialogue between the works and the space that houses them.
The official opening of the museum…
Saturday the 21st of October 2023 will be the official day when the doors of this stunning museum open- and it will include all-day activities to introduce Fassianos to the public and share the artist’s story and his multifaceted work. It will be open all day with free entry to all.
Official Opening Date: 21 October 2023 | Museum Entry: Free
Τime:11-12 pm 12:30-13:45 pm
Βοοk: more.com (viva)
Τime: 11:30-12:15 pm & 16:30-17:15 pm
Book: more.com (viva)
Time: 11:30-13:00 & 13:00-15:00
Βοok: more.com (viva)
Time: 18:00-20:30 pm
Μuseum Alekos Fassianos
Οpening hours: Wednesday-Friday 11 am-4 pm
Address: Neofytou Metaxa 15, Athens 104 39
Special thanks to Mrs. Katerina Mela, Communications & Development Coordinator at the Alekos Fassianos Museum for the visit and guided tour.
All Images Courtesy of Alekos Fassianos Estate | Paris Tavitian ©