Art History [Istoria tis Technis] journal


Places-In-No-Place: From Rhodakis to Team 10. The Architectural Rationalization of the Primitive as Modern and as Criticism of the Modern

Panayotis Tournikiotis

George Candilis, Aldo van Eyck and the Smithsons started from different places, with different education and met in a ‘family’ of affinity, the Team 10, in which they have developed the criticism of the modern and initiated the architectural rationalization of the primary and the primitive. The places to which they refer, the house of Rhodakis in Aegina, the villages of Dogons in Africa and the working-class neighborhoods in London, are in essence places-in-no-place, an ideal heterotopia, if not a utopia, that used to be real and perhaps still is, even potentially. The projection of this utopia in the contemporary era was an attempt to overcome the modern city from a social, political and architectural perspective. The Smithsons, Candilis and Aldo van Eyck did not see architecture as a means of solving problems, but as a body of meaning and thus as a language. Their greatest contribution has been the effort to define from the beginning the built sense of architecture in order to build it. And in this sense they have tried to build theories of architecture.

Panayotis Tournikiotis is a Professor of Architectural Theory at the National Technical University of Athens. He has published critical essays and books on architecture and town planning, with an emphasis on modern times and modernity. Le Corbusier and metropolitan Athens are two major, unfinished chapters in his recent activities. [ptournikiotis@arch.ntua.gr]


The Crisis of Intellectual Labor and the Early Twentieth-Century German Applied Arts Movement

Nikos Pegioudis

The present article proposes a radical reconfiguration of the early twentieth-century German applied arts movement. Attempting to abolish the distinction between the fine and the applied arts, this movement significantly contributed to the acknowledgement of the artistic value of everyday-use objects, questioning art’s autonomy and thus constituting a pivotal precursor of the interwar avant-garde movements. Paradoxically though, while the movement’s accomplishments have been examined in great detail in art historiography, often in a context of heroic portraits of its leading figures, the reasons for this unprecedented in scale intervention in the field of applied arts remain largely unexplored. By shifting attention towards this direction, this article seeks to provide a historically and socially more precise framework of the movement, taking into account the ways crucial – yet undeservedly neglected in scholarship – issues such as the crisis of intellectual and artistic labor, professional and corporate interests determined the interventions and ultimately shaped the identity of the movement.

Nikos Pegioudis holds a PhD from University College London. His doctoral thesis was titled “Artists and Radicalism in Germany, 1890-1933: Reform, Politics and the Paradoxes of the Avant-Garde”. His research interests focus on issues of social art history in 19th- and 20th-century Central and Western Europe such as artistic labor and education as well as the relationship between the applied arts reform and the interwar avant-garde movements. He is currently revising his doctoral thesis for publication. [nikos.peior@gmail.com]


Theophilos Hadjimichael in Europe: The Story of Two Exhibitions and a Missed Opportunity

Eleonora Vratskidou

This paper examines the solo exhibitions of Greek naïve painter Theophilos Hadjimichael (c.1870-1934), which were organized at the Kunsthalle Bern in 1960 and at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1961 respectively, on the initiative of the famous art editor Tériade, the painter’s main collector. Through archival research, I seek to draw attention to the role of the curators Franz Meyer in Bern and François Mathey in Paris, and to point out the wider connections that allowed Tériade to present the work of the little-known folk artist of his home island in two leading contemporary art venues. Theophilos only met with international acclaim long after the unsuccessful efforts to display his work in Paris in the mid-thirties, when his recent ‘discovery’ was most crucial for Greek modernist circles. The paper tackles issues related to the transnational reception of naïve art, while addressing aspects of curatorial collaboration and of the circulation of exhibitions in the internationalized post-war art scene.

Eleonora Vratskidou is a postdoctoral research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at the Institut für Kunstwissenschaft und Historische Urbanistik, Technische Universität Berlin. She holds a PhD from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris. Her current research focuses on art history lectures offered in 19th-century art academies and explores the role of art practice in the shaping of art history as a discipline. [evratskidou@gmail.com]


“Vanity Was Smothered So That Art Could Be Extolled”: The Self-Portraits of Thalia Flora Caravia

Despoina Tsourgianni

Over the past few years, Greek historiographical production has been shaped, for the most part, by autobiographical discourse, either in the form of auto-biographical writings or self-portraits, whereas the scientific field of art history was much less influenced by it. The present analysis draws on the numerous self-portraits done by one of the most important and prolific Greek woman painters, Thalia Flora Caravia. At the same time, it exposes for the first time valuable documents from the artist’s personal archive (Autobiography and Epistolaria), which shed new light in the creation of the paintings. All of the above illustrate how far the extremely effective methodological option of gender helps to clarify the assemblage of different roles and identities which constitute the complex subjectivity of the female artist.

Despoina Tsourgianni holds a PhD from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Her doctoral thesis on the painter Thalia Flora Caravia was published in book form in 2005. Her research interests and publications mostly focus on modern Greek art, with an emphasis on women’s artistic production and activity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. [despts@gmail.com]