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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 6 June 2015
18 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 6 JUNE 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Greece’s last film poster During the 1960s when cinema was at its peak in Greece, Vassilis Dimitriou would be commissioned to paint up to 10 posters a week. Now he’s lucky to get one every couple of months SOPHIE MAKRIS Far from the limelight of Cannes, Greece's last painter of film posters toils away in a little garden studio to deliver his latest commission. Vassilis Dimitriou is 80 years old, works alone and knows his days on the job are numbered - his left hand trembles from the onset of Parkinson's disease. But Dimitriou, a survivor of Greece's wartime occupation by the Nazis, remains determined to fight his lonely battle against digital printing for as long as he can. For him, it's an art that truly comes from the heart. For more than 65 years, the diminutive, beret-sporting artist has depicted all the big names, but some he pays extra attention to. "For instance I have drawn Clint Eastwood 50 times. If I close my eyes now I can start drawing Clint Eastwood," he adds. During the 1960s, when cinema was at its peak in Greece, Dimitriou would be commissioned to paint up to 10 posters a week. Nowadays, only one cinema in Athens, the Athinaion near the centre, has held onto the tradition. "Painting is a medium that makes it more intimate when everything is becoming more plastic," says the hall's co-owner Virginia Axioti. "The laminated billboards are something you use one day and throw away the next. We are not of this mentality, we like tradition, we like keeping this connection between the arts," she adds. "Music, painting, dance, cinema for me are one," Axioti says. Born in the working-class district of Kypseli in 1935, Dimitriou apprenticed beside a Czech poster-painter and later developed his own style. In his heydey he had two assistants as well as his wife to lend a hand, and could turn out a poster a day for a dozen cinemas in Athens. Today, a commission takes three days. His most recent work includes Cymbeline, starring Ethan Hawke and Milla Chris Ofili’s Virgin Mary to be auctioned The price is expected to reach $2.8 million Renowned Australian collector and gaming entrepreneur David Walsh is selling Chris Ofili's famous 1996 painting The Holy Virgin Mary. The work is an eight-foothigh depiction of a black Virgin Mary, encrusted with a lump of elephant dung and collaged bottoms from pornographic magazines. Back in 1999, religious leaders and Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who described Mr Ofili's painting and other works in the show as "sick stuff", causing a furore at the Brooklyn Museum where it was exhibited as part of Charles Saatchi's touring ‘Sensation’ exhibition, featuring works by Young British Artists (YBAs). Giuliani attempted to close the exhibition by withholding public funds but his lawsuit was rejected by a federal judge. Walsh acquired the painting, which found a home in his subterranean Museum of Jovovich, followed by the remake of Fantastic Four that will hit cinemas in the summer. On the busy highway in front of the cinema, thousands of commuters pass every day with only a cursory glance at the Athinaion's marquee. But it was not the case a few decades ago, when film posters could inflame passions. "Early in the ‘60s, I had produced a rather risqué poster for the times that had the main actress wearing a bikini," Dimitriou recalls. "The owner had to call me in because a group of angry harpies had gathered in front of the cinema. I had to bring out my brushes to cover the lady up a little," he says. A few years later, the opposite happened - Dimitriou was summoned to ‘undress’ Sophia Loren, whose chest was deemed to have been excessively covered. "When I descended from my ladder, several men had gathered to applaud," he says. A child of Athens' traumatic occupation by Nazi German forces during World War II, during which thousands died of starvation, Dimitriou still remembers going hungry most of the time. "My mother kept on saying 'our children are going to die'," he says. Like most children his age, he would climb a tree adjoining his neighbourhood's open-air cinema to steal looks at the films being shown. One night, cinema employees dragged him down and he fell inside the cinema courtyard, a story that would play out similarly to the plot of Italian classic Cinema Paradiso. "It was my opportunity. The projectionist offered Vassilis Dimitriou painting his latest movie poster. PHOTO: GETTY. to let me watch the films for free if I helped him with the booth," he says. "Later on, the manager saw some of my sketches and told me to seek an apprenticeship." Circus Oz returns to Melbourne Featuring exuberant live circus performances and multicultural acts Melbourne's very own circus is returning to its hometown of Collingwood after an international tour to the US and Canada. Credited with revitalising a traditional art form in a uniquely Australian way, Circus Oz is a rock'n'roll, animal- free circus that has influenced the development of circus arts around the world since its foundation in 1978. Circus Oz undertook its first, Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary (1996). PHOTO COURTESY OF REMI CHAUVIN/MONA MUSEUM OF OLD AND NEW ART. Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania, alongside equally provocative artworks by Hans Bellmer and Wim Delvoye. Ofili's Holy Virgin Mary will be included in Christie's June 30 auction of postwar and contemporary art in London, estimated at about $2.3 million. "The proceeds of this auction will help to fund an expansion of MONA for a wing to house a number of James Turrell works," said David Walsh. "They will be light and airy, and engaging, and hopefully, provocative. And dark and mournful, and perhaps enthralling." The Greek artist's painting is certain to be sold, as according to a Christie's spokesman a third party has already submitted an offer. critically praised international tour in 1980 and has continued touring to more than 100 cities and regions in 26 countries - playing to over 3.6 million people. An ensemble of 12 jugglers, lyrical and virtuosic unicyclers, brazen hula hoopers, hilarious flying trapeze artists, hip- hoppers, acrobats and musicians coming from Australia's multicultural backgrounds will have your entertainment needs covered. The satirical band But Wait But wait … There’s More performers: (L-R) Kyle Raftery, Ben Hendry (back), Ania Reynolds (front), Matt Wilson. PHOTO: ROB BLACKBURN. ... There's More, will also be performing at Birrarung Marr this winter, under the heated Circus Oz Big Top from 17 June until 12 July 2015. But Wait ... There's More was created from scratch last year with the addition of lots of newly-recruited ensemble members under the direction of Circus Oz artistic director Mike Finch and Circus Oz touring show director Debra Batton. The two-hour show, will be hosted in Melbourne's Birrarung Marr, located between Federation Square and Batman Avenue. Tickets cost $22 - $95 including booking fees. For bookings and further information visit circusoz. com, ticketmaster.com. au or call 136 100.
30 May 2015
13 June 2015