Nikias Skapinakis. Presente e Passado. 2012-1950

Nikias Skapinakis. Presente e Passado. 2012-1950
Temporary exhibition
28/03/2012
- 24/06/2012
Floor: 
2
Curator: 
Raquel Henriques da Silva
Nikias Skapinakis. Presente e Passado. 2012-1950
Temporary exhibition
28/03/2012
- 24/06/2012
Floor: 
2
Curator: 
Raquel Henriques da Silva
Body: 

The exhibition Nikias Skapinakis. Presente e Passado. 2012–1950 takes a retrospective look back through the work of one of the most significant Portuguese artists of the second half of the 20th century. The project, which was initially conceived as part of the programme developed by Jean-François Chougnet, evolved over a period of two years, providing time for in-depth research by the exhibition curator Raquel Henriques da Silva, who was able to to bring together the many periods in Skapinakis' huge body of work.

The sheer range of this work has featured centrally in many of the recent chapters in the history of Portuguese art and cuts across a complex period of changes that were felt at an international level and with which Skapinakis was able to establish a real dialogue. Beginning with a lyrical figuration that assimilated elements of Figurative Modernism from the start of the century, from very early on his paintings revealed a capacity to interpret everyday life in Lisbon. The saturated colours of the late 1950s foresaw a turning point that combined fuller assimilation of the bi-dimensionality of Modernism with the language of the popular culture of the bills and posters that invaded life in a new age. Collage and above all cuttings would provide huge possibilities here. Manifest once again was his interpretative ability, with the focus of attention in his paintings on the Portuguese cultural context and the melancholy that suffused it at the time.

Revisiting traditional genres such as still-life and history painting, Skapinakis profoundly reconfigured them, just as the peculiar abstract works he executed defined an ambiguous and unexpected sense of reality. His receptiveness to the diversity and inventiveness of the languages of graphic art and popular culture continue to resonate through his paintings, while new bills and tags, among many other registers, have continued to structure his series in recent years. It should be mentioned that during the course of his career, Skapinakis has always been an uncommon interpreter of his own work, on which he has developed an important body of literature.

Secondary text: 

Nikias Skapinakis was born in Lisbon in 1931 to Greek parents.
He studied architecture, which he abandoned for painting, an activity he continues to develop to this day.
He started exhibiting in 1948 at the Exposições Gerais de Artes Plásticas and since then has held countless solo exhibitions and participated in various collective exhibitions in Portugal and abroad.
Besides oil painting (his preferred genre), he has worked in lithography, serigraphy and book illustration. Among others, he has illustrated Quando os Lobos Uivam by Aquilino Ribeiro (Bertrand, 1958) and Andamento Holandês by Vitorino Nemésio (Imprensa Nacional, 1983).
In 1963, he obtained the Bolsa Malhoa from the Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes and in 1976 he was awarded a research grant by the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian.
In 1985, the Modern Art Centre (CAMJAP) of the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian showed an anthological exhibition of his paintings, completed by a retrospective of his graphic art and gouaches at the Sociedade Nacional de Belas-Artes in the same year.
In 1990, he was awarded the AICA/SEC prize by the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) and the Secretary of State for Culture.
In 1996, the Museu do Chiado organised an exhibition of his work entitled Para o Estudo da Melancolia em Portugal. Retrospectiva de Retratos, 1955-1974.
In 2000, the Museu de Arte Contemporânea of the Fundação de Serralves presented the anthological exhibition Prospectiva 1966-2000.
In 2005, he was awarded the Grande Prémio Amadeo de Souza-Cardoso by the Amarante Municipal Council and completed a ceramic panel for the Lisbon metro.
In 2006, the Fundação Arpad Szenes-Vieira da Silva presented the series of paintings Quartos Imaginários based on the bedrooms and studios of various painters and poets and he was awarded the Prémio de Arte Casino da Póvoa.
In 2007, a television documentary about his work – O Teatro dos Outros - was produced by Jorge Silva Melo.
Em 2009, the Centro Cultural de Cascais held the exhibition Desenho a preto e branco e a cores covering his graphic art produced between 1958 and 2009.
He has published critical essays in various newspapers and magazines.
He lives and works in Lisbon.