"Sylvia" photographic Exhibition
The exhibition was held at the Museum incooperation with the Greek Centre for Photography. "Sylvia” the title of a series of photographs shot by Victor Cohen in the spring of 2004 in Poland at the Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek concentration-camp sites.Sylvia is also the name of the artist's maternal grandmother, member of a Jewish family from Thessaloniki and survivor from Auschwitz. The exhibition is part of the annual seminar that the Jewish Museum of Greece organizes for teachers entitled "Teaching about the Holocaust in Greece."
"Images of Greek Jews" photogrphic exhibition
The Jewish Museum of Greece presents the digital exhibition entitled Images of Greek Jews, thereby giving access to its Photographic Archive that contains a large number of photographs covering every aspect of Jewish culture in Greece. The material in the Museum archive consists of original black and white photographs and printed copies, as well as colour prints and slides. All this material has been sorted into approximately one hundred subject areas to facilitate access and filing. The subject matter of the photographs in very rich and covers most aspects of the life of Jews in Greece from the late 19th century to the present day. The common denominator of the photographs chosen for this new JMG exhibition is their aesthetic value. The wealth of historical information caught on camera is delegated to a secondary role, since the primary aim of the exhibition is to please the eye and convey the atmosphere and style of an era.
"Open Window" An art exhibition of the Jewish Museum of Greece, dedicated to the Etz - Haim Synagogue in Hania
Continuing its tradition of exploring the output of contemporary Greek Jewish artists, the Jewish Museum of Greece presents the exhibition ‘Open Window’ by artist Lydia Abastado. The exhibition, comprising 25 paintings, is currently on show in the Museum’s Contemporary Art Gallery, and is the twelfth art exhibit organised since its inauguration.
Ms. Abastado’s work includes a series of drawings in ink as well as acrylic-on-canvas paintings, whose subject is the Etz Hayyim Synagogue of Chania. The artist’s palette is quite distinctive: black and white are paired with a single basic colour in each painting. Her technique focuses on form and volume, incorporating experiential elements as well as symbolic references.
“Starting from my own personal and emotional involvement with the subject, I created a series of clear, narrative images,” says the artist. “My aim is to set off concepts and symbolisms, beyond their usual existence in a frame of reference, which is most often dictated by the accuracy of the image.”
Seeing the synagogue from intensely personal angles, Lydia Abastado captures peeks of the building, whose shapes and angles she records using a mixed technique. She matches a variety of elements and materials from diverse sources, much like the synagogue itself.
This is a significant space, a space unforgettable for the young bride. It is a place of gathering, praying, and learning, a place of meeting and of female rituals. It is a space full of spirituality and echoing with meaning, which the artist approaches from many aspects. Sensitively and tenderly, she lets herself be carried into tracing her own personal relation to the Synagogue of Chania and celebrates the building’s unique role in her life.
The J.M.G. celebrates with her a very special monument of the Greek Jewish tradition, which recently became the target of a premeditated attack, but also the recipient of solidarity and support.
The Jewish Museum of Greece from January to April 2008, hosted the exhibition of the world renowned photographer Franka Hörnschemeyer entitled "Peenemünde", curated by Mr. Achille Tzonis. This exhibition marks a new beginning for the Museum, as it plays host to a foreign artist with an international presence and career, for the first time, a fact that satisfied the guests during the inauguration ceremony, held on January 21st 2008. Furthermore, this exhibition expressed also the wish and decision of the JMG to touch on other sides of this huge, universal matter, to “converse” with artists from other countries as well, to locate further views and opinions and to constitute a place for their presentation and fruitful exploration.
In April, in the Contemporary Art Gallery of the JMG was inaugurated Maurice Ganis’s art proposal 'dissociations'. The exhibition included ten paintings and one maquette, depicting personal belongings , paintings from earlier times, elements of his personal surroundings and also forms that refer directly to the past. The artist through his works comments the function of the memory, as well as its multiple significations in the everyday life. He brings forward universal questions such as the bipolar relationship a person has with the past or the interweaving of individual memory to the collective memory-History…
In July, after an invitation of the Jewish Community of Rhodes, the JMG took part in a series of events to commemorate the Jews of Rhodes and Kos who were deported in July 1944 and murdered by the Nazis at the extermination camps. The JMG presented there two exhibitions, "Hidden Children in Occupied Greece" and "The Holocaust of Greek Jews, 1941-1944 held in a hall of the Castle of Knights for periodic exhibitions in the old city of Rhodes.
Synagogues of Greece: Light and Shadows
The opening of Samuel Negrin and Ioannis Panagakos’ exhibition of artistic photography entitled ‘Synagogues of Greece: Light and Shadows’ took place in the Contemporary Art Gallery of the Jewish Museum of Greece on 9th May 2005. The exhibition remained open until the spring of 2006.
About four years ago these two photographers told the JMG about their plan to capture images and details of all the synagogues in Greece they could have access to, functioning or not, on black and white film.
With the great synagogue in Athens as their starting point and inspiration, the two friends spent months touring the whole country before coming back with hundreds of photographs from which the Museum’s ninth art exhibition was born.
These photographs are not an attempt to make an architectural or historical record. The two photographers make no attempt to describe or relate anything. On the contrary, their aim was to use the camera to capture the atmosphere of the places they stopped at. With their different religious backgrounds, the two artists observe, sense and immortalise the singular feel that exudes from the places they are in – places of faith and worship that, even when deserted, retain a mystic radiance that permeates the visitor and is captured with unique sensitivity by the lens. The intuitive eyes of the two photographers guide the visitor on a private tour round the places of worship of the Jews of Greece.
The camera unveils secret places, explores corners overlooked by the unsuspecting eye, caresses vessels laden with memories and symbolism, stands silently before sacred objects, discovers simple forgotten details, fingers the traces of time on the well-worn pews and age-old stones. It follows the light that travels through the buildings, along the walls, over the sacred vessels and watches the game light plays with the shapes it touches.
The artists’ decision to use black and white film was a spontaneous one. They both agree that only black and white images can convey the mystic sense that these places exude. The absence of human forms from every image, every frame, enhances the effect. The photographers’ decision to capture the synagogues with no hint of human presence means that the objects become all important and the place is free to converse with the light. And it is precisely this dialogue between light and textures that makes the images vibrant, gives them a peculiar, ethereal feel of peace and warmth, and conveys the sanctity of the places with exceptional felicity and delicacy. Alone and free, the objects speak about the touch and the presence of the people who are not there, and who – in some cases – never will be again.
“Dialogue with a Museum” group exhibition
The modern art exhibition “Dialogue with a Museum” ran at the same time as the very successful historical exhibition “Hidden Children in Occupied Greece”. Eight contemporary Greek artists (A. Alkalay, L. Bebi, V. Cohen, C. Grammenos, A. Liti, K. Mertzani, M. Santorinaios, and A. Skourtis) were invited to express their thoughts and feelings after visiting the Hidden Children Exhibition. The result was a series of radically different, moving, and highly original - in both concept and execution - works.
Photographs and sculptures, digitally processed images, sound interventions, constructions of fabric or various materials, some expressionistic, others symbolic, all with a multitude of semantic references, were exhibited, under the curatorship of Art Historian, A. Kouria, in and around the Museum?s permanent display cases. Hidden, much like the persecuted children of the war, the artists? creations converse with the artefacts around them, turning the entire Museum into a dynamic whole, where new and old objects converse, side by side.
Giulio Caïmi, retrospective
Twenty-one years after the death of Guilio Caïmi (1897-1982), the Jewish Museum of Greece hosted a retrospective of this unconventional painter, art critic and ethnographer, whose name is still unknown to many. The occasion for the exhibition was the donation to the J.M.G. of 14 of the artist’s works by the Sam Benrubi family, in memory of his wife, Rika Benrubi. Besides the donated works, the exhibition also included several of the artist’s drawings, paintings, books, and manuscripts testifying to Caïmi’s life and intellectual activity, from both the Museum’s own collection and the private collection of the artist’s researcher, Michel Fais. The album / exhibition catalogue “Giulio Caïmi”, curated by Fais, was presented during the opening ceremony; it sheds light on the life of a man who, in the words or his contemporary Greek painter, Giannis Tsarouhis, “lived beyond praise or blame”.
On the same day, another ceremony also took place; the Museum’s Contemporary Art Gallery was renamed “Benrubi Art Gallery” in tribute to the family’s invaluable contribution to the Museum and its work. The Benrubi family sponsored both the opening ceremony and the publication of the album “Giulio Caïmi”, in memory of Rika Benrubi.
"The Creators of Tlön", by Viktor Koen
The exhibition “The Creators of Tlön” is based on the short story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” by Jorge Luis Borges and lasted from March until September 2002. The works presented had originally been created for the exhibition “A Vindication of Tlön” which took place during the 2001 photography week organised by the Thessalonica Museum of Photography. The works are a series of portraits of the infamous “bureaucrats” of the writer’s imaginary world. The artist, Koen, used the complex and arduous technique of carbon printing on glass, in his effort to give substance to these personifications of evil. According to him, these fictional archetypal evil-doers are suggestive of those, who, with disturbingly calculated efficiency, tried to exterminate his own people. To him a dark, invisible thread runs through time connecting all those who, when given the opportunity to do harm, take it.
"Kaleidoscope of Memory", by Samis Taboh
The opening ceremony of Samis Taboh’s painting exhibition “Kaleidoscope of Memory” took place on December 4th, 2002, at the Museum’s Contemporary Art Gallery. A child of Auschwitz survivors, Taboh could not help being affected by the heavy shadow of the Holocaust. The 17 works of the exhibition refer to it, prompted by the infamous motto on the death camp’s gate “Arbeit Macht Frei”, which means “Work Liberates” and whose tragic irony marked the end of so many lives. The three words are painfully spelled, letter-by-letter, from painting to painting, ghostly traces on plain, white surfaces. Rarely does colour invade the canvas, in the form of a collage of torn and crumpled scraps of paper, thickly covered in black or gray paint, which shape a landscape fragmented like “the memories of relatives I never knew, since they never came back from the camps,” says the artist.
"Search for a Face", group exhibition
The group art exhibition opened to the public on June 25, 2001 and lasted until January 2001. The exhibition represents an attempt to answer the question of how the various stimuli of a Museum are perceived and transformed through an artist’s eyes. Four young artists, each with an established reputation, were invited to visit the Museum and produce their own answers. Artemis Alcalay used homespun cloth and taleth to explore the inner life of the person at prayer. Elias Harissis focused on people and their desperate attempt to satisfy their existential thirst. Dimirtis Sevastakis used the tree a powerful symbol of knowledge and faith. Last, but not least, Marilena Zamboura, presented an inter-religious bond between the divine and the human, through her intense handling of vibrant colours.
Falis Leon, “Shoah”
In April 1999, the artist Falis Leon donated 11 of his paintings to the Jewish Museum of Greece. The works comprise a series under the title “Shoah” and were exhibited in the Museum’s Contemporary Art Gallery. On November 3rd, 1999, they were presented to a select group of Friends of the Museum. A cocktail party followed, courtesy of the Association of American Friends.
"Remembrance", by Artemis Alcalay
The temporary art exhibition “Remembrance” by Artemis Alcalay, took place in the Museum’s Contemporary Art Gallery, thanks to the kind sponsorship of the Association of American Friends and lasted from November 1999 until January 2000. The artist used mixed media in an attempt to represent the fleeting and fragmented nature of memory. The combination of materials and objects used by Alcalay, testify to a personal approach to the Holocaust, the human aspect in life and the pain of loss, as seen through the objects. Using personal, family and historical memories, she explores themes such as destruction, separation, and absence, in a world that is at the same time both strangely tender and frightening.
Giulio Caimi,, paintings
The Museum's first modern art exhibition in its new premises was an exhibit of 14 paintings by the artist Giulio Caïmi. Born in Corfu, Greece, a student of folklore and aesthetics, contemporary and friend of many great men of Greek art and literature, Caïmi is recognised today as the intellectual painter who looked for the heritage of the Byzantine Empire in Greek Folk Art. The works were lent to the Museum by the Benrubi family.