A major exhibition on the life and work of the great Greek artist Yanoulis Halepas is coming to Onassis Stegi.
The enigma of a Greek sculptor, considered through the prism of his heartbreak and mental illness, followed by his “reawakening” and return to the arts. We know more about the life of Yanoulis Halepas (1851–1938) than we do about his work. And yet, once discharged from a psychiatric hospital on Corfu after many years of silence, the artist who created the “Sleeping Maiden” was to carve sculptures once again, right up until the end of his life. It is precisely this “late style” that forms the focus of the present Onassis Stegi exhibition, a style with which Halepas breached classical sculptural traditions and undermined idealized conceptions of beauty and perfection, redefining the physicality and materiality of the human form in the process.
His oeuvre not only marks a turning point in the history of art but also reflects the complexities and uncertainties of the modern age. With select works drawn from the sculptor’s final period, this exhibition re-examines the past, allowing his story to be read anew from a fresh perspective. From the island of Corfu to the island of Tinos, and from there on to Athens, Yanoulis Halepas – having found freedom – distanced himself from hard marble forms, moving instead towards more expressive and immediate materials and modes, and re-engaging with themes that had interested him in the past, but in ways now more impulsive and personal.