Yannis Tsarouchis
(1910–1989)

Yannis Tsarouchis, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street (“Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Hall), documenta 14, photo: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

Yannis Tsarouchis, installation view, Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA)—Pireos Street (“Nikos Kessanlis” Exhibition Hall), documenta 14, photo: Yiannis Hadjiaslanis

Yannis Tsarouchis, Collection Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation, installation view, Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Liz Eve

Yannis Tsarouchis, Zeimbekiko dance works, Collection Yannis Tsarouchis Foundation, installation view, Museum für Sepulkralkultur, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Liz Eve

Zeibekiko is a popular solo dance with a free choreographic structure that originated in Greek urban centers in the late nineteenth century. It was created by Zeibekoi communities, a minority group of Thracian-Phrygian descent with roots in Aidinion, Prousa, Smyrni (today’s Izmir), and other areas that had converted to Islam. Yannis Tsarouchis’s scenes of soldiers and sailors dancing Zeibekiko often take place on a black-and-white ceramic floor, resembling those of popular taverns and inspiring an atmosphere of domesticity characteristic of suburban life. These scenes, taking place outside of the studio, are interested in an idea of realism as well as attempt to alter our gaze onto the nude body. The bodies shown in Tsarouchis’s works evoke his continuous search for “sacredness” and are influenced by his later research into the chromatic scales produced by Buddhist painters and in Central Asian frescos. The symbol of the halo, on the other hand, is derived from Hellenistic, Buddhist, and Christian iconography. These paintings where mostly created from memory while Tsarouchis was in Villeneuve-les-Sablons, in the suburbs of Paris, physically distancing himself from his “Greekness” in order to reinvent it.

Posted in Public Exhibition