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Interview

Basil Theocharakis | A Multifaced Personality

 

It is difficult to imagine that one man could be an artist, a successful businessman and an avid art collector. Basil Theocharakis has managed to be equally successful in all three endeavours. In addition to managing a dynamic and diverse group of companies active in the automotive, banking, construction, healthcare, cosmetics, digital systems and shipping industries, he is an art collector and a highly acclaimed artist. He presented his work for the first time in 1957, at the International Youth Festival in Moscow, and in the years that followed, he held several exhibitions both in Greece and abroad. He has been awarded the Chevalier de La Légion d’ Honneur by the French government, the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor of Japan and has been named an Archon Chartoularios by the Ecumenical Patriarch. Together with his wife Marina, Basil Theocharakis is the inspiration and driving force behind the B & M Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music, which was established in 2004 as a non-profit charitable institution.

How do you define art? An Ithaca, a journey that I hope will never come to an end.

What drew you to art? I have been drawn to painting since I was a teenager. It is the exploration of color and forms that helps you uncover your own visionary world.

Can art be critical? Of course. Great art often criticizes society. Let’s not forget the exhibition organized in 1937 by the Nazis in Munich entitled Degenerate Art which was organized solely in order to condemn Modern Art. Artists such as Max Beckmann, Otto Dix and Wassily Kandinsky were labelled degenerates and opposition was communicated regarding the truth of the artists’ work in the most vulgar manner possible.

Does a work of art point out the contradictions in society? Not necessarily. It depends on the temperament of the artist. Picasso, for example, known for his strong political ideology, focused his attention on a rigorous critical approach to society through his work.

Do you believe that a certain level of education is required in order to appreciate art? No. Art speaks to the soul of all people. However, education and artistic tutoring do play an important role in art appreciation.

Please talk to us about the upcoming exhibition of your work at the B & M Theocharakis foundation. I will be presenting over fifty recent works, from 2007 to the present day. That is, pieces I have been working on since my last solo exhibition at the Palazzo Venezia Museum in Rome. The works depict the sea and forest, and I painted them with particular emphasis on the effect of light and energy of nature. These pieces do not conform to the artistic perception of older artists, both with respect to the impenetrable forests as well as the seas. They are entirely different from what we are used to. These works reflect my deep love for nature.

What is the ultimate purpose of art? Enjoyment.

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