Nikos Kessanlis

Nikos Kessanlis, Collection National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST), installation view, ANTIDORON. The EMST Collection, Fridericianum, Kassel, photo: Mathias Völzke

The works under the collective title Gestures were created in the early 1960s while Nikos Kessanlis was living in Paris with strong ties to the Nouveaux Réalistes. The Gestures are made of appropriated obsolete industrial objects of urban and industrial origin, as well as torn clothes, plaster sacks, crumpled paper, and parts of machinery, thus relating to the public space, the urban fabric, and an emerging consumerist culture. Works from this series were first presented in 1961 as part of the Nouvelles Aventures de l’Objet exhibition at Galerie J in Paris, organized by Pierre Restany. Pushing the expressive value of gesture to its limits, the series culminates in the provocative Great White Gesture, which was made in situ at the La Fenice theater in Venice, alongside works by Vlassis Caniaris and Danil for the exhibition Trois propositions pour une nouvelle sculpture grecque in 1964, also curated by Pierre Restany.

—Tina Pandi, adapted from Nikos Kessanlis. From Matière to the Image (Athens: National Museum of Contemporary Art, 2006)

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