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National Hellenic Museum Presents ‘Beyond Antiquity’ Exhibition

Beyond Antiquity
The Beyond Antiquity exhibition at the National Hellenic Museum in Chicago. Credit: National Hellenic Museum / Facebook

The National Hellenic Museum in Chicago is hosting the work of Greek American architect and artist John “Yanni” Fotiadis in the visually stunning Beyond Antiquity exhibition.

The project was sponsored by the John S. Koudounis Family and features just under 40 of Fotiadis’ paintings, drawings, and digital artworks curated by Dr. Katherine Kelaidis. The exhibition has been available to view since May 12 and the National Hellenic Museum is open from Thursday to Sunday from 10 AM to 4 PM. Private tours can also be scheduled.

The exhibition is a deep dive into the topic of Classical antiquity in Greece, explored through the lenses of architecture, myth, and landscapes. As the name implies, the Beyond Antiquity exhibition also explores how these Classical subjects influence the present and future.

The Beyond Antiquity exhibition

The work of Fotiadis is imbued with the influences of Classical Greece, “physically, psychologically, intellectually and emotionally”.

The exhibition alludes to the omnipresence of the ancient world in modern Greece, whereby one might find themselves walking along a cosmopolitan street in Athens, only to glance up and see the Acropolis in all its splendor.

The presence of the Classical world in Greece is described as “an immense, epic and unavoidable presence that inspires all of Fotiadis’ art.”

In addition to the more traditional artistic methods of painting and drawing, Fotiadis has also experimented with 3D design software tools like Rhino, which he has used during his architectural career.

The Beyond Antiquity exhibition features some of Fotiadis’ impressive digital works “that show imaginary environments inhabited by Platonic solids and classical architectural forms, arranged in such a way as to capture or speak to the transcendence that is evoked when Greek architecture, deliberately placed in the landscape, begins to resonate with its surroundings.”

The Artist

John “Yanni” Fotiadis is a Greek American licensed architect and visual artist who received his architectural education from Temple University and Columbia University, where he obtained his Master’s degree.

With over three decades of experience in architecture, he has created designs for various clients across several cities, including San Francisco, Doha, Seoul, Dhaka, Cairo, Moscow, Panama, Kyiv, Tbilisi, Athens, Dubai, and Istanbul.

“It is no coincidence philosophy was born in this part of the world. The natural environment of Greece is an environment ripe for expanded thinking,” comments the artist himself.

“Creating these artworks has taught me that one can find the ‘divine’ in anything, even the most banal object, under the right conditions and if one looks hard enough. I find myself returning again and again to the bottomless well that is ancient Greece,” Fotiadis continues.

“Now more than ever, as we face a rapidly changing and virtually unrecognizable, technologically driven world, I find it a source of comfort, reassurance, guidance, and most of all, knowledge and wisdom. To look ahead, to survive, I believe we must examine and learn from the past. I feel that is the only way we will move beyond antiquity, and beyond our present state, towards a better future,” the artist says.

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