Creativity takes courage. – Henri Matisse
Creativity takes courage, and the capacity to dare yourself inspires confidence. Confidence is sexy.
Therefore creativity is sexy.
Ghika-Fermor-Craxton: 3 Places, 3 Creators
Within the Ghika-Fermor-Craxton exhibition in the Benaki Museum, sex appeal just oozes from the walls and cabinets. The exhibition is home to photographs and letters of correspondence between these three men, and other influential artists and writers from the 20th Century, in cabinets overlooked by the three striking portraits at the top of this article.
The exhibition above is part of the Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika Gallery, a building that houses Ghika’s original studio and was donated by the artist personally to be a part of the Benaki Museum. During Ghika’s lifetime the building acted as a sort of cultural hub where Ghika hosted not just Patrick Leigh Fermor & John Craxton but also many other artists, writers and students. The sixth floor where Ghika’s studio is located was an extension designed personally for him and has been preserved since his death in 1994.
The sexiest part of the studio? Ghika had one wall lined with a two-story bookshelf, complete with a Beauty & The Beast style ladder to reach the second floor, and various other packed bookshelves both in his studio and in his living quarters on the floor below.
Fidiou Street Cultural Centre
By far one of the most interesting buildings shown to us on the excellent Literary Walk of Athens by Big Olive was the site on which European cultural figures used to converge to discuss art, literature, politics, history and language. Now in a sorry state of disrepair, our guide described it as the very first 20th century literary salon in Athens and a meeting place for intellectuals from all over Europe.
Athenian Literary Culture
Whilst the building above now acts as a canvas for artistic graffiti artists of the 21st Century, some part of the 20th Century literary culture remains in Zonar’s Café on Robertou Galli street and the now relocated Brazilian Coffee Stores on Valaoritou street. Back in the mid 1900s Zonar’s was the place to be seen for literary and celebrity greats, and whilst the entire restaurant has undergone a drastic redesign, the thought that creativity was thrown around inside the same venue less than 100 years ago gives it a certain jazz. The Brazilian Coffee Stores used to be another old literary café located on the same street, and whilst the interior and decor was moved to another venue, photographs that depict the previous century peer over your shoulder as you dig in to your freddo.
I was lucky enough to join Big Olive on their tour as part of the TBEX Conference – the Literary Tour costs €40, or €30 for seniors & students with a valid ID.
Lots of love,