Michalis Manousakis narrates stories using forms, colors and materials, stories that always leave us with a question mark and a doubt. In his stories there is always an ever-present but latent tension and through the narration he wants to challenge the threats. With the
image of an autobiographical memory as his starting point, his father’s butcher block becomes an archetypal and diachronic element that narrates a story, in order to express existential and metaphysical questions in a poetical, suggestive and dramatic atmosphere. It analyzes each person’s relationship with his actual and psychological space, one’s relationship to each other,one’s relationship to the other gender, and to time that flies and leaves us with memories.
The latest artworks by Michalis Manoussakis are a dialogue and a reflection, based on a series of dialectical relationships: the tree’s trunk (as a material) is transformed into a human torso (as flesh and substance) and reflects the tragic nature and the elevation of materials and substances. The tree’s trunk is the material that is used to create the butcher’s block, but it also holds the trees it came from (cypresses). It contains life and death, tenderness and roughness, joy and sorrow at the same time.
The butcher’s block is a symbol of the dramatic nature of mankind. The abattoir is the place where joy and drama coexist. The dramatic nature is softened, it challenges the threat and asks another question. The chopper cuts, in the same way memories are sliced, and Michalis Manousakis tries to weave them. From the object (butcher’s block) we are moving towards the action (division, dissection) and then towards the symbol of the altar-sacrifice, to a contemporary table that holds the leftovers of an everyday ritual (cups of coffee). The green butcher’s table is washed with the synthetic resin and leads to relief. The symbols of Michalis Manoussakis are not deep-rooted in space or time, but are rather diachronic and universal.
Michalis Manoussakis sculpts the human body on wooden surfaces, using colors and charcoal. His artworks become deeper in the material with time. The wounded bodies express the struggle and the unification of the genders and the wounds that are created in the process. The couple meets each other, but with their backs turned to each other, the man is represented as being in the clouds, joy and sorrow coexist, presence announces absence.
The naked man with the umbrella on the tile is trying to offer protection to his home and its contents. The tile is a metonym of the home, of protection, as the primary need of someone to protect one’s home. The upside down house (piggy bank or candleholder) does not accept help, does not accept mercy: it is a lie, a falsehood, and leaves us with another question mark.
University of Minnesota
CATALOGUE: Hard cover 48 pages full color, size each sheet 30 x 24 cm. edition of 1500, Published by Costopoulos, Athens 08
Text: Anna Tahintzi <ekfrasi-yianna grammatopoulou> <fizz> Athens 11/2008
Michalis Manoussakis. 1953 Born in Chania, Crete.
1979-84 He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Athens.
2004 Elected as Assistance Professor in the School of Fine Arts in Athens.
ONE MAN EXHIBITIONS
2008 Ekfrasi-Yianna Grammatopoulou & Fizz Gallery, Athens. 2008 Citrone Gallery, Poros 2007 Perfect Tense, Falatados’ School in Tinos 2006 Artforum Gallery, Thessaloniki 2006 C.K. Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus. 2005 Nees Morphes Gallery, Athens. 2002 Artforum Gallery, Thessaloniki. 2001 Rossi and Rossi Gallery, London. 2001 Zoumpboulakis Gallery, Athens. 2000 Opus Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus. 1998 Zoumpboulakis Gallery, Athens 1996 Artforum Gallery, Thessaloniki 1995 Titanium Gallery, Athens 1993 Europe Art, Geneva 1992 Titanium Gallery, Athens 1989 Titanium Gallery, Athens. 1986 Ora Gallery, Athens. 1979 Diagonios Gallery, Thessaloniki.
MAIN GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2008 •«Antiquity and Modernism», Kunsthistor Isches Museum, Vienna •«The big sleep, Municipal Gallery of Kalamata, (Th. Moutsopoulos). • Art Athina, Gallery Artforum 2007 •«Classical memories in modern Greek art, Capital Museum of China, Beijing • Art Athina, Gallery Artforum 2005 •«Mickey Mouse meets Art», Hellenic American Union, Athens. •”Love Will Tear Us Apart", Babel Magazine, Gazi, Athens. 2004 •«Omeotita Peripou». Homage to Antonis Benakis, Benakis Museum, Pireus str., Athens, (Th. Moutsopoulos). •”God Becomes a Man». Homage to Athen’s Olympic Games. Silver metal (public award). Μuseum of New Art, Εsthonia, (Mark Soousaar) •«Αnthropographia». The Ch. Christofis Collection. Αcademy of Thracian Art and Tradition, Xanthi. 2003 •«Classical Memories in Modern Greek Art». Ataturc Cultural Center. Hellenic Presidency of the European Union, Instanbul, (Μ. Lambraki - Plaka). •«Οlympic Spirit and Modern Greek Art». Municipality of Chania Gallery (P. Kounenakis). •«Sketching Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday». Μakedonian Museum of Modern Art, Thessaloniki, (Lina Tsikouta). •«322+1 Artists Granteers». Μakedonian Museum of Modern Art, Thessaloniki. •«Voyage» Flowers East Gallery, London. 2002 •«Sketching Today, Tomorrow and Yesterday». Averof Gallery, Metsovo, (Lina Tsikouta). 2000 •«L. Beltsios Collection», Trikala, (Μ. Stefanidis). •«Collectios of Contemporary Art Creations of Rethimno, Selections, Pieridis Gellery, (T. Mavrotas). •« Museum of Contemporary European Painting Vl. Frissiras», (Μ. Stefanidis, M. Karras) 1999 •«Karaghiozis, the Theater of Shadows and Fine Arts», Municipal Gallery of Patras, (B. Papadopoulos). •«Approaching the Greek Identity, Generations of ’80s & ’90s». Municipal Gallery of Athens, Dalarna-Falum Μuseum, Sweden, Grekiska Kulturhuset, Sweden, Vianden Castle, Luxemburg, (Ν. Κyriazis). •«Reference to Town» Μuseum of Bysantine Art, Castle of Ioannina, (V. Rokos). 1998 · Contemporary Greek Art - Three Generations of Greek Artists», Museum of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, (M. Lambraki - Plaka). •«Greek Landscape Painting», National Gallery of Athens, (A. Tamvakis) •«With the lyre and the fiddlebow», Center of Contemporary Art, Rethimno, Crete, (M. Maragou). •«Contemporary Greek Art - Three Generations of Greek Artists», Museum of Contemporary Art, (M. Lambraki - Plaka). 1996 •«Homage to P. Pantazis», Averof Gallery, Metsovo, (O. Metzafos). 1995 •«Precious metals» Giannis Kontos, Nees Morphes Gallery. •«International Meeting at the European Center of Delphi»,(A. Sxhina). •«ICHTHIS», Gallery of Metsovo, (J. Kolokotronis). •«Honoring El Greco», National Gallery of Athens, (M. Lambraki – Plaka). 1994 •«The loss of form within space», Nees Morphes Gallery, Athens, (E. Vakalo). •«The Tree», Municipal Gallery of Nicosia, Cyprus, Pieridis Gallery, Athens, (J. Kolokotronis). •Biennale of Alexandria, «5 Greek Artists», awarded for the best pavillion. 1993 ·«Ten Greek Painters», Palermo, Katagne, Italy, (M. Stefanidis). 1992 •«Vl. Fryssiras Collection», Byzantine Museum, Zakinthos, (T. Mavrotas). •«Homage to ORA Gallery», the last exhibition of the Gallery, Athens. 1987 •«National painting exhibition» O.L.P., Piraeus. •«Painting for a table», Municipal Gallery, Athens, (M. Stefanidis). 1982 •Students of Athens School of Fine Arts, Cracow.