“Prossalendi’s Britannia” – Contemporary Perspective

Ionian Academy, Corfu, 1 – 29 September 2018

CORFU.- As it is well known, George IV, when he was Prince Regent of the United Kingdom, founded the Order of St Michael and St George in Corfu and in Malta on 28 April 1818, two hundred years ago. This forms part of Corfu’s history and belongs to its heritage. To celebrate the Order’s bicentenary, the Corfu Heritage Foundation is organising the Corfu Festival 2018, which is to include a series of cultural events encompassing literature, music, visual arts and sports.

This Festival is taking place under the auspices of the British Embassy, Athens, the Hellenic Republic’s Ministries of Culture and Tourism, and the Municipality of Corfu, between 7 July and 30 September 2018.

The “Prossalendi’s Britannia” is organised in two separate perspectives. The Historical Perspective, which was presented in the past, concerned the sculptural group that was designed by Paolo Prossalendi (1784-1837) and crowned the façade of the Palace of St Michael and St George in Corfu during the period 1823-1864. The Contemporary Perspective is supervised by Dr Megakles Rogakos and curated by four Research Associates – Mr Ioannis N. Arhontakis, Ms Georgia Damianou, Ms Georgia Kourkounaki and DrConstantinos V. Proimos. The Curators have commissioned distinguished contemporary artists – Greek and foreign with respect to gender – to recreate their own version of Prossalendi’s Britannia through their personal visual idiom and vocabulary. So, the Contemporary Perspective features 32 works by an equivalent number of artists – Emmanouil Bitsakis, Lamprini Boviatsou, Thodoros Brouskomatis, Ricardo Cinalli, Dimosthenis Gallis, Milly Flamburiari, Nikos Giavropoulos, Ken Howard, Marion Inglessi, Yanna Kali, Stella Kapezanou, Aris Katsilakis, Alexandros Maganiotis, Georgia Matsamaki, Dimitris Merantzas, Alkistis Michaelidou, Nicholas Moore, Konstantinos Pardalis, K. N. Patsios, Aglaia Perraki, Artemis Potamianou, Natassa Poulantza, Irene Pouliassi, Vagelis Robolas, Margot Roulleau-Gallais, Dimitris Skourogiannis, Anna-Maria Smyrnaki, Aris Stoidis, Shubha Taparia, Yorgos Taxiarchopoulos, Olga Tobreluts and Amikam Toren.

Finally, Professors Harris Kondosphyris, School of Fine Arts of the University of Western Macedonia in Florina, and Panagiotis Kyratsis, Technological Educational Institute of Western Macedonia in Kozani, with their students will present a new sculpture, relating to Prossalendi’s Britannia, to be submitted to the Central Archaeological Council with the prospect of it being displayed either temporarily or permanently in the place of the missing sculpture on the Palace’s façade.

The Contemporary Perspective of the “Prossalendi’s Britannia” exhibition will be presented at the Ionian Academy, Corfu, in the period 1 – 29 September 2018. – Eventbrite


                    Stella Kapezanou, Brittany’s Back Yard, 2018. Oil on linen. 210×180 cm

The work of Stella Kapezanou presents the elements of a pure and unapologetic painting. Responding to Prossalendi’s Britannia she renders a contemporary version of her, in which the symbolisms of the past have turned into modern depictions. As the title of the work implies, we find ourselves in Brittany’s back yard. Witnessing a rather private moment, we see her sitting on the Union Jack’s flag-towel, passively holding a glass, a substitute for the trident, being served champagne by a youthful man, who resembles the classical prototypes. A stone pillar, very much like a third presence in the party, lies collapsed, hidden, like ruins of the ideal. There is a sense of ambiguity coming from the surrounding elements of the background, which seem to be acquiring an entity of their own. Grand yet simple, the villa appears deliberately defective, forgotten in a past time, so as to turn the viewer’s attention to what is taking place in its foreground. The offer and acceptance of the man’s ‘precious’ liquid is reflected on the surface of the pool, as an indication of the semantic and temporal fluidity in all things human. The almost-naked bodies are associated with the simplicity of the villa and the naturalness of the surrounding vegetation, altogether, innocent and fragile, compared with the spiritual. Throughout the work, there is a dominant repetition of a dual interpretative scheme, that of literalism and metaphor. This depiction seems very realistic and fake at the same time. It gives us the feeling of a recovered paradise, where power and recognition, have led people to a kind of eudaimonia that hypnotises or awakes through its exaggeration. The artist’s purpose is not to comment on the present image of Britain, but to present a personal observation associated with the typical depiction of Prossalendi’s Britanniaand let the viewers exercise a social critique through self-reflection.

Georgia Damianou

Public Information

Exhibition: “Prossalendi’s Britannia” – Contemporary Perspective.
Supervised by Megakles Rogakos and curated by Ioannis N. Arhontakis, Georgia Damianou, Georgia Kourkounaki and Constantinos V. Proimos.
Opening: 8pm, Saturday, 1 September 2018
Duration: 1 – 29 September 2018
Opening Hours: 10.00am – 7pm daily, except Sunday.
Venue: Ionian Academy, 1 Kapodistriou & Akadimias Street, 49100 Corfu, Greece.
Communication: Mrs Ioanna Anemogianni, +30 26610 87202, secretariat@ionio.gr
Visuals: www.corfuheritagefoundation.org/prossalendis-britannia-contemporary/
Reservation: Eventbrite


Accompanying Catalogue: A fully-illustrated 130-page catalogue, including an essay by Dr Rogakos on Prossalendi’s Britanniaand comments on all the contemporary works by Mr Ioannis N. Arhontakis, Ms Georgia Damianou, Ms Georgia Kourkounaki and Dr Constantinos V. Proimos, is published by the Corfu Heritage Foundation (ISBN: 978-618-83770-0-4).

by Stella Kapezanou

Stella Kapezanou was born in Athens. She studied painting in the Athens School of Fine Arts and won Honorary Scholarship by the Greek National Scholarships Foundation for being at first place in ASFA entrance. She continued her postgraduate studies in Chelsea College of Arts of London with a scholarship by Motoroil Hellas, where she won the Frank Bowling Scholarship. In London she has been awarded with the Clyde & Co Emerging Star Award, the Cass Art Prize 2018 and was a finalist for the Solo Show Award 2017, the Rise Art Prize 2018 and the ACS Studio Prize 2018. She works between Athens and London and her work has been showcased in Greece and abroad.