Born in Thessaloniki in 1941, he was an Athens School of Fine Arts student (1960-1965) under the tutelage of Yannis Moralis. In 1970 he pursued his studies at the Parisian École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts on a two-year scholarship. In 1989 he became a full member of the Athens School of Fine Arts faculty as professor of painting. In addition to his painting work, he is also interested in sculpting and engraving. With more than thirty solo shows and over one hundred group exhibitions in the biggest Greek cities, he has moreover exhibited abroad (France, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, Spain and Israel). As of 1964 he has been associated with various political artist teams, such as ‘Art Group A’ (1960-1967), ‘the Figurative Arts Center’ (1974-1976), ‘Group for Communication and Education on the Arts’ (1976-1981). He was a founding member of the ‘New Greek Realists’ (1971-1973). In addition, he published the following books: Imerologia Taxidia (Diary Journeys, 1994), Pseudodokimia (Pseudoessays, 2000) and To chroma tis spoudis (The colour of study, 2005) including texts he wrote on the arts. In 1998 he published his poems in a collection titled Spoudi sto Mavro (Study on Black).  He resides and works in Athens.

Solo Exhibitions

  • 2013 The self-portrait of the mountain, Romanou 7 Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 2011 Chronis Botsoglou - Erotics, "The other Arcadia" Foundation, Athens, Greece
  • 2010 Chronis Botsoglou, Retrospective, EMST, Athens, Greece
  • 2009 Three Portraits, Gallery 24, Athens, Greece
  • 2008 99 Images on the Computer, Metechmion Publications Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 2008 Chronis Botsoglou and the World of Experience, Ermoupoleia 2008, Syros, Greece
  • 2007 99 Images on the Computer, Gallery 24, Athens, Greece
  • 2002-3 Personal Nekyia, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (2002), Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece, Ammohostos Gate, Nicosia, Cyprus (2003),
  • 2002 Adios Atelier, Frissiras Museum, Athens, Greece
  • 1999 The Fruits. The Faces, Ekfrasi Gallery, Glyfada, Greece
  • 1998 Study in Solitude, Zoumboulakis Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 1994 Haiku. Illustration, Gallery 24, Athens, Greece
  • 1994 Diaries. The Faces, Angathi Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 1993 The Woman of Zakythos, Gallery 24, Athens, Greece
  • 1992 Stories of an Everyday Mirror, Paratiritis Bookstore, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1992 Zoumboulakis Gallery, Athens , Greece
  • 1991 Astrolavos Gallery, Piraeus, Greece
  • 1991 Three Portraits, Gallery 24, Athens, Greece
  • 1991 Retrospective, Vafopoulion Cultural Center, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1991 The Face of Eliza, Ekfrasi Gallery, Glyfada, Greece
  • 1988 Diary Pages, Ileana Tounta Center for Contemporary Art (Athens), Velidion Foundation, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1986 Retrospective, Municipal Gallery of Rhodes, Greece
  • 1986 Parerga [Sidelines], Chryssothemis Gallery, Halandri, Greece
  • 1985 Athens Gallery & Galerie 3, Athens, Greece
  • 1983 Watercolors 1961-64, Yakinthos Gallery, Kifissia, Greece
  • 1981 Kochlias Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1980 Ora Cultural Center, Athens, Greece
  • 1978 Ora Cultural Center, Athens, Greece
  • 1977 Kochlias Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1975 Visual Arts Center, Athens, Greece
  • 1972 Cité Universitaire, Maison Internationale, Paris, France
  • 1970 Hilton Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 1970 Techni Artists Group, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1964 Center for Technological Applications, Athens, Greece

Group Exhibitions (selection)

  • 2013 Somatographies - Contemporary Greek Painting from the Sotiris Felios Collection, National Gallery - Alexander Soutzos Museum - Nafplion Annex, Nafplion, Greece
  • 2012 Ellenico Plurale - Dipinti dalla Collezione Sotiris Felios, Complesso del Vittoriano, Rome, Italy (curated by Giuliano Serafini)
  • 2012 Between Reality and Fantasy- Paintings from the Sotiris Felios Collection, Giorgio de Chirico Cultural Center, Volos, Greece (curated by Irene Orati)
  • 2011 illuminated shadows: paintings from the Sotiris Felios Collection, "The other Arcadia" Foundation, Athens & Hellenic Institute for Byzantine and Post-byzantine Studies in Venice, Italy
  • 2010 Contemporary Greek Painting part of the Sotiris Felios Collection, Sismanoglio Megaro, Istanbul, Turkey
  • 2009 Art and Democracy. 35 Contemporary Greek Artists, Zappion, Athens, Greece (curated by Takis Mavrotas)
  • 2009 Watercolors of the Greek Landscape, Contemporary Balkan Art Gallery, Lemnos, Greece (curated by Iris Kritikou)
  • 2009 The Perspective Of Time. Pictorial Histories Paintings From The Sotiris Felios Collection, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (curated by Irene Orati)
  • 2008 Athens Printmaking Center. The History of an Atelier, Athens, Greece
  • 2008 Municipal Gallery, Greece (curated by Nelly Kyriazi)
  • 2008 New Acquisitions. Representational Art. From the Collection of the National Gallery, Municipal Gallery, Patras, Greece (curated by Lina Tsikouta-Deϊmezi)
  • 2008 Greek Painters from the National Bank Collection, National Gallery-Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens, Greece (curated by Olga Mentzafou-Polyzou)
  • 2007 The Alpha Bank Collection, Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (curated by Irene Orati)
  • 2007 Panorama of Greek Art, State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, Greece (curated by Haris Kambouridis)
  • 2006 The Great Upheaval. Five Utopias in the 1970s, Patras Cultural Capital of Europe, Greece (curated by Thanassis Moutsopoulos)
  • 2005 Sacred and Profane. Aspects of Women in Contemporary Greek Painting, Municipal Gallery of Hania, Crete, Greece (curated by Haris Kambouridis)
  • 2005 The Alpha Bank Collection, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (curated by Irene Orati)
  • 2005 The Years of Defiance. Greek Art in the1970s, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (curated by Bia Papadopoulou)
  • 1998 Three Generations of Greek Art, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv
  • 1997 In the Beginning There was Printmaking, Rethymnon Center for Contemporary Artistic Creation, Rethymnon, Crete, Greece
  • 1996 A Tribute to Periclis Pantazis, Averoff Museum, Metsovo, Greece (curated by Olga Mentzafou- Polyzou)
  • 1992 Euroamericana de Grabado 3/32, Spain
  • 1992 Expo ’92, Seville, Spain
  • 1992 Metamorphoses of the Modern. The Greek Experience, National Gallery-Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens, Greece (curated by Anna Kafetsi)
  • 1991 Printmaking Centre Group, Kreonidis Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 1991 Triennale Mondiale d’ Estampes Petit Format, Chammalières, France
  • 1990 On a 1960s Trajectory: Botsoglou – Psychopedis, Kreonidis Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 1988 Print Biennial, Heidelberg, Germany
  • 1986 The Face of Greek Painting, Athens Municipal Gallery, Athens, Greece
  • 1986 Six Artists Engrave on Copper, Ora Cultural Center, Athens, Greece
  • 1986 Art Grec: Lumière, Figure, Mythologies, Toulouse, Nantes, Ammohostos Gate, Nicosia (curated by Dora Iliopoulou-Rogan)
  • 1985 Memories – Recreations – Quests, Athens Cultural Capital of Europe, National Gallery-Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens, Greece (essays by Nelly Misirli and Haris Kambouridis)
  • 1984 Expressionism – Surrealism, Municipal Gallery of Rhodes, Greece
  • 1982 Painting Each Other. Theofylaktopoulos – Botsoglou – Psychopedis, Galerie 3, Athens, Greece
  • 1982 Europalia 82, Antwerp, Belgium
  • 1982 Expressionism – Surrealism, Nees Morfes Gallery, Athens, Greece (on the occasion of the publication of the homonymous book by Eleni Vakalo)
  • 1981 Fifteen Copperplates, Ora Cultural Center, Athens, Greece
  • 1980 Beograd ’80, Belgrade, Serbia
  • 1979 Contemporary Greek Painters and Printmakers, National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Ireland
  • 1979 7 Pittori Greci, Galleria II Babuino, Rome, Italy
  • 1979 Xéme Festival International de la Peinture, Cagnes-sur-Mer, France
  • 1979 Za Bolisisvet, Slovens Grapec, Yugoslavia
  • 1978 Tre Grekska Utställningar, Konstakdemien, Stockholm Zeitgenossische Griechische Malerei und Graphik, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1978 Seconde Rencontre Internationale d’Art Contemporaine, Grand Palais, Paris, France
  • 1976 Panorama of Greek Painting, 1950-1975, National Gallery-Alexandros Soutsos Museum, Athens, Museum am Ostwal Dortmund, Germany
  • 1972 Five Greek Realists, Goethe Institut, Athens, Kochlias Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1969 10th Bienal de Sao Paolo, Brazil
  • 1969 Eleven Painters from Thessaloniki, Astor Gallery, Athens
  • 1967 8th Panhellenic Exhibition, Zappeion, Athens, Greece
  • 1966 Techni Artists Group, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 1965 7th Panhellenic Exhibition, Zappeion, Athens, Greece
  • 1964 3rd Panhellenic Youth Exhibition, Athens, Greece
  • 1962 2nd Panhellenic Youth Exhibition, Athens, Greece
  • 1961 1st Panhellenic Youth Exhibition, Athens, Greece

Chronis Botsoglou: Culture through Dialogue

The works of Chronis Botsoglou in the Sotiris Felios collection were painted after 1990, representing the most recent period in the artist’s work. The major work of this period is undoubtedly the great polyptych composition entitled Personal Nekyia (1993-2000), which was recently exhibited in Athens, Thessaloniki and Nicosia. It consists of 26 paintings, arranged in a particular order to form a circle around the viewer. Most of them are full- portraits, slightly smaller than life size, which depict the artist’s relatives or friends who have passed away. The title was inspired by the Eleventh Book of the Odyssey and signifies a ritual necromancy, a conversation with the dead in Hades. It is a landmark work in the artist’s career and, with its overwhelming presence, necessarily determines one’s approach to all the works in the collection, both those that belong to the period that Botsoglou calls “the Nekyia decade”, and those painted after 2000 that clearly inaugurate a new period in his work. These later paintings, with the general title Reports, are imaginary portraits of 19th- and 20th-century artists (van Gogh, Bouzianis, Giacometti, Bacon) who, as the artists says, “played a significant role in shaping my artistic awareness”. The series was only recently completed and has not been previously exhibited as a whole.

Botsoglou usually presents his works in thematic units large or small that sometimes follow one upon the other and seem to be illustrating the developmental stages of his artistic quests, and at others are worked in parallel and developed more independently. From time to time, on the fringe of his main painting endeavours, he allows himself to do something else on the side – illustrations, small drawings, aquarelles, sculptures or constructions – that supplement the more general picture of his work without necessarily reflecting the main themes that preoccupy him during the periods in question.

The same could also be said for the portraits he has been painting for years. In the Sotiris Felios collection, apart from the Nekyia, which constitutes a significant group in itself, there are examples of another two thematic units: The Reports, as noted above, and the Erotica, a series that began just before the Nekyia and has engaged for artist for 20 years. There are also illustrations, constructions and portraits.

Portraits are Botsoglou’s earliest and most durable category of paintings, one that is a direct reflection of the pre-eminently humancentred nature of his art. He has always been concerned with the composition of the human figure, the face and body of the model and the relationship of all these with the space, as attested by his many self-portraits and by the recognisable figures of living people, who have occupied the greater part of his painting from his earliest exhibitions in the 1960s to the present time. His work as a whole, but also each period separately, can be approached admirably through portraits of his family and friends (or himself) and gradually extended to other parameters related to the further processing of images and concepts. This principle is likewise applicable to the works in the Sotiris Felios collection, which, as a whole, are associated with a significant turning point in the artist’s portrait activities, chiefly in terms of his relationship with the model. The people who were painted in the absence of a model, such as the Nekyia and Reports, are differentiatedfrom regular portraits that presuppose direct observation of a live model. The attitude of the artist towards his subject is also differentiated. The portrait of a little girl cannot be treated in the same way as the portrait of an ancestor. When the person depicted has departed this life, his or her image as a rule contains an allusion to the artist’s past (or present), his memories and origins, his personality and the features of his own identity concealed in the identity of his models. The absence of a model intensifies the complex game of identities, a very old element in human-centred art, especially portraiture.

Extensions or variations of this game can be traced throughout all Botsoglou’s works, not solely in his portraits. His thematic or visual choices are dictated by the need to explore his relationships with people and things, with himself, his art, his feelings and his history. Exploration is an adventure in self-knowledge which, with the passage of time, brings the artist closer to the more sombre aspects of life such as loneliness, fear and unanswered questions about love and death. At such moments, experiences of the past, as a human being and as an artist, accumulated pressingly in his memory, seeking an outlet to give them either meaning or form. In Erotica, say, artistic style is coupled with experience in a multi-dimensional anatomy of the sensations that are part of erotic love. Meanings do not arise from the scenes depicted, but from the fact of their representation and from the variety of techniques and means of expression that have been marshalled to expand representational capabilities. Here the artist’s visual vocabulary, continuing in the first person, is diffused in the multiplicity of the description. Elsewhere, it settles in a personification that contains the adventure of the journey, as in Reports, or is concentrated in epigrammatic formulations, such as in the small abstract-style illustrations of Haiku on the rain, snow, wind, sun and moon, a book of three-line Japanese haiku poetry translated by Michel Fais and published in 1994. Each section functions as a different field of dialogue, a different mirror that sheds light on something of the artist’s person, replying to his questions in a fragmentary way.

Botsoglou has always worked this way, which is why one can legitimately speak of the evolution in his work, of its successive phases that are interlinked and lead to increasingly complex formulations. It is not important whether he paints from life or from memory, or whether he expresses himself in realistic or expressionist ways. The stylistic or other changes that can be observed throughout his career stem from the needs of the moment and, in time, become part of a single evolutionary process that remains open to this day. In this sense, then, the works painted by the artist over the past twenty years should not perhaps be regarded as products of a more general maturity, but of a long-term and on-going evolution.

Martha-Elli Christofoglou

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