May 6, 2021 - Wrightwood 659 - Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life
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May 6, 2021

Wrightwood 659

Yannis Tsarouchis, Youth Asleep by the Sea, 1965. Watercolor on paper, 24 x 31.5 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Copying Titian, 1971. Oil on canvas, 83.6 x 100 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Military Policeman Arresting the Spirit, 1965. Watercolor and pencil on paper, 32.5 x 24.7 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Winged Spirit Buttoning His Underpants, 1966. Acrylic on paper, 39.2 x 28.2 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Set Design for Les Sylphides by Frédéric Chopin, 1948. Gouache on paper, 26.8 x 36.8 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Two Studies for the Same Subject – Three Dancers in Blue Jeans and Two Figures of Eros with Green Doors, 1978. Gouache on paper, 31.5 x 46 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Tsamiko Dance on the Shore, 1978. Gouache on paper, 20.7 x 20 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, untitled. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Youth Wearing Pyjamas Posing as a Statue from Olympia, 1938‐39. Pigments with animal glue on canvas, 55 x 80 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Sailor in the Sun, 1968-1970. Oil on canvas, 223.5 x 104 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Two Men with Butterfly Wings and Black Shoes, 1965. Oil on plywood, oil on veneer, 41 x 35 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis, Alexandras Square in Piraeus, 1962. Pigments mixed with animal glue on canvas, 88.5 x 158.5 cm. © Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation.

Yannis Tsarouchis
Dancing in Real Life
May 7–July 31, 2021

wrightwood659.org
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Yannis Tsarouchis’s (1910–89) multifarious practice spanned seven decades from the 1920s to the 1980s. 32 years after the Greek painter’s death, Tsarouchis remains relatively little-known outside of Greece. This substantial exhibition aims to introduce the work of Yannis Tsarouchis to audiences in the US and internationally for the first time.

Tsarouchis absorbed and transformed a variety of influences: Greek vernacular traditions; ancient Greek, early Christian, and Byzantine art; Greek shadow theater; as well as the new languages of modern art, cubism and surrealism. In 1934, on a ship from Izmir to Istanbul, Tsarouchis witnessed a performance of the zeimbekiko, a dance characterized by an emotional, improvised expression of individual gestures set within the restrained vocabulary of highly codified movements. The affective power of the zeimbekiko left a lasting influence on Tsarouchis; he would photograph, draw, and paint its dancers well into the 1980s.

Acutely aware of his position on the crossroads between revivalist tendencies in Greek art and the internationalist aspirations of the avant-garde, Tsarouchis embarked on his own path in a groundbreaking series of male portraits and nudes. These works constituted a pioneering, radical recoding of conventional gender roles and hierarchies represented in 1930s modernism. The vulnerability and latent sexual energy of the male body became the key subject of interest and the driving force in Tsarouchis’s oeuvre.

The stage remained perhaps his most fundamental source of inspiration. Tsarouchis created his first set designs for the theater in the 1920s, and would continue working in this field until the 1980s in various roles, both in Greece and abroad, making the costumes and sets for the now-classic performance of Maria Callas as Medea at the Dallas Civic Opera in 1958 and the set designs for Samuel Beckett’s plays in Paris and Thessaloniki. He also directed theater plays himself, such as Euripides’s Trojan Women, staged in an empty parking lot in Athens city center in 1977.

Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life is commissioned especially for Wrightwood 659 and curated by Androniki Gripari and Adam Szymczyk.  The exhibition, organized by the Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation, Athens, with financial support from Alphawood Foundation Chicago, encompasses over 200 drawings, watercolors, stage and costume designs, photographs, and paintings, among them Dancing in Real Life and in the Theater (1963–68), from which the exhibition borrows its title.

A substantial publication is forthcoming, edited by Adam Szymczyk and Androniki Gripari, and published by Sternberg Press.

Tickets for Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life are available online. Please note: admission is by advance ticket only; walk-ups are not permitted.

Wrightwood 659 is a private, non-collecting institution that is devoted to both socially engaged art and to architecture. Located in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Wrightwood 659 was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando, who transformed a 1920s building with his signature concrete forms and poetic treatment of natural light.

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Dancing in Real Life
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