John Christoforou 3 2011 Alpha Gallery
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Alpha GalleryMAKARIOS AVE. & PAPANIKOLI 3, 1077 NICOSIA, CYPRUS +357 22751325 www.art.com.cy
March 2011 Nicosia
John Christoforou was born in 1921 in London to Greek parents fromSmyrna. At age nine he returned with his father to live in Athens. In 1935 he entered the Athens Academy of Fine Arts. Several years later he returned to London and after World War II devoted his time to painting, eventually earning his first solo exhibition in 1949 at the Twenty Brooke Street Gallery in London. Over the course of the next sixty-two years he presented his work in over fifty solo exhibitions and participated in more than one-hundred group exhibitions throughout the world. John Christoforou is recognized as an important pioneer of the Nouvelle Figuration (New Figuration), an international movement that emerged in the early 1960s from the abstract art movements of the previous decade and included leading artists such as Francis Bacon and Willem de Kooning. His works are found in many important public collections, including: Museum des 20 Jahrhundrets,Vienna Bibliotheca National de Colombia, Bogota Museum of Danish Art, Randers Museum Jorn, Silkebrog Biblioteque Municipale, Brest Musee dArt Contemporaine de Dunkerque, Dunkirk Centre dArt Contemporain, Montpellier Cabinet des Estampes de la Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris Fonds National dArt Contemporain, Paris Centre Culturel de Toulouse, Toulouse Musee des Beaux Arts, Toulouse Tate Gallery, London Contemporary Art Society, London Museum of Contemporary Art, Elise and Basil Goulandris Foundation, Athens Frissiras Museum, Athens National Art Gallery, Athens Museum of Art, Seoul Musee Olympique, Lausanne Museum of Modern Art, Taiching Vorres Museum, Athens Museum of Contemporary Art, Cuauhtmoc Musee Galliera, Paris Emfietzoglou Foundation, Athens Centre des Arts Plastiques Albert Chanot, Paris
Portrait with Red Hat, oil on canvas, 54x45 cm.
My thanks and thoughts go out to all those involved in organizing my first one-man exhibition in Cyprus.
I much regret, however, that my age prevents me from being present at the opening - however, I still continue to paint and to exhibit!
Please accept again my warmest wishes and thanks to you all.
Oriental Dancer, 1951, oil on board, 73x46 cm.
The tragic character of our times constitutes a reality that we cannot ignore. No matter what we do, we are always face to face with human drama.
Portrait on Blue Background, 1980, oil on canvas, 73x60 cm.
The plight of the contemporary artist - one who refuses to submit to the dictates of trends and homogenizing effects of the system - is a feeling of abandonment and rejection, which have the power to overwhelm. As long as he finds himself outside of society he is fated to act on his own, a situation, however, which can also give him the power to dig deeper beneath the surface and to express his passions and pain.
Man with Hat, 1981, oil on canvas, 65x54 cm.
It is true that man, without becoming frantic, needs myths, religion, prayer and art. These are as necessary as bread - without them life loses all meaning.
New Prophet, 1974, oil on canvas, 73x60 cm.
The drama of life is so immense that it cannot leave us indifferent.
Yellow Animal, 1975, oil on canvas, 73x60 cm.
Deep inside, art was for me an expression that refers to man with all his shortcomings - and they are so many!
Shell Man, 1980, oil on canvas, 55x46 cm.
I am passionate about the human being: its acts, its dark motives, its psychological impulses, its frenzied endeavours to make dreams come true, its desires and passions. This is our Fate.
Portrait of a Friend, 1962, oil on canvas, 65x55 cm.
I view life as a chance and fleeting experience. The only thing that seems important to me is to identify those temporary feelings.
Man with Many Eyes, 1974, oil on canvas, 73x60 cm.
Over the course of the centuries, we have been our own image. Sometimes as gods and devils, other times as simple men and women. At times we paint with love for our own selves and sometimes we show follys gross, beastly and tragic face.
Petite Danseuse , 1987, oil on canvas, 56x46 cm.
The crucial moment is my first reaction when I find myself opposite it [the painting], like someone who came from far away. Then I can tell if it reverberates inside me; if not, I destroy it. There are losses in my work.
Les Amants aux Abines, 1998, oil on canvas, 55x46 cm.
Man in his rarest of moments - the noblest or the most base - is the theme I try to portray.
Personage, 1960, oil on canvas, 46x38 cm.
Art can offer still a small ray of hope, and encourage the attempt to discover and explore a few truths about life.
Scarecrow, 1973, oil on canvas, 81x65 cm.
This catalogue is pubished on the occassion of John Christoforous first solo exhibition in Cyprus, March 2011. Exhibition Organizers Catalogue Design Printing Alpha Gallery Bubbles Design Ch. Nicolaou & Sons
Special thanks to Anette Birch for her valuable advise and assitance.