By Laura Page, Cohort ’21
On the last day of the Athens residency, we had the option of going on a walking tour with Nina Papazoglou. We walked along the foothills of the Acropolis and learned about how the path was a masterwork of the architect Dimitris Pikionis. We had already visited the Acropolis, so this tour gave those of us who attended the walking tour a different perspective of this incredible landmark. Looking down instead of up, one got an idea of how much detail, planning, and love has gone into this area of Athens to varying degrees over thousands of years.
The walking tour culminated in a studio visit with artist Dimitris Tragkas. This was the highlight of not just the tour but a standout moment of our time in Athens. We arrived at his studio at lunchtime and sat in Mr Tragkas’ cool, inviting studio while the artist took us on a career-spanning tour of his ever-evolving body of artistic work. He was warm and hospitable, and it was evident he relished an opportunity to talk about his art. It was incredible to meet with an artist who was born, lived, and worked in Athens, a city whose influence on art and philosophy cannot be overstated. On a rafter in his studio, Mr. Tragkas has a paraphrased quote by Niels Bohr, “There is no theory so crazy to be truth.” The artist has used his art to understand the world around him, the universe, and his truth. Mr. Tragkas is the embodiment of an artist-philosopher.
As he worked through his works Mr. Tragkas talked about his process and his inspirations that have stood with him through five decades of artistic creation. His newer work is inspired by more mathematical precision than previous works. The picture below shows one of the pieces the artist is still working on.
There were many striking moments during our time with Tragkas; however, I was most impressed by the diversity in the artist's artistic oeuvre. For example, he has painted, sculpted, worked in the theater, and he was also incredibly humble and kind, readily answering our questions and welcoming us into his space. It was a highlight of the entire residency.