The triumph of shadows
Hellenic Americal Union, Athens
November - December 2012
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The triumph of shadows: Exhibition-dedication to the Greek Shadow Theater, seen through the work of Karaghiozis master Kostas Manos…

 

The perfect Karaghiozis’ master. He is also a folk painter. Wherever he performs, he is triumphant’.

Kostas Manos (Argos 1902-Athens 1970)

Combining music, singing, paintings, performing and mimicry, Shadow Theatre and Karaghiozis never fail to delight audiences, young and old. The exhibition brings to the fore the multi-faceted personality of Kostas Manos (1902-1970), one of a handful of folk artists who essentially set the rules of the art of the Greek Karaghiozis. Through his work and under the guidance of his son and successor, Mimis Manos, the exhibition throws light on an era in which Shadow Theater reached its pinnacle, leaving indelible marks on modern Greek art and the modern Greek society.

At the same time, the exhibition presents a contemporary version of Shadow Theater. To this end and in the context of the exhibition, the MUSIC* laboratory presents for the first time in Greece its innovative research project in progress, eShadow, a digital interactive shadow theater application inspired by the traditional Greek Shadow Theater. eShadow aims to familiarize children with the Karaghiozis folk art as well as to build bridges of communication among different generations.

The exhibition was held in the Hellenic American Union galleries, in cooperation with the Among the Ants, the Archive of Greek Shadow Theater and the MUSIC* laboratory of the Technical University of Crete. Parallel events include shadow theater performances, an educational program, screenings, and the “Shadows in the Light” panel discussion. During the opening of the exhibition, a short shadow theater performance by Athos Danellis will be held.

* Distributed Multimedia Information Systems and Applications Laboratory, Electronic and Computer Engineering Department, Technical University of Crete - http://www.music.tuc.gr/.

Kostas Manos was born in Argos, in 1902. His real name was Athanasiou. As a child he discovered and was enchanted by the folk Art of Karaghiozis, which later became the great love of his life. He watched many performances by Dimitris Sardounis (Mimaros)-the pioneer of Modern Greek Shadow Theatre. He started to perform at a very young age and soon his talent to improvise and imitate helped him stand out among other shadow theatre artists. Moreover, he showed a great ability to adapt and perform old Karaghiozis plays but also to create his own repertory. However, what made him famous was his painting and drawing skills and this is why he is recognised as the most prominent painter in the history of Greek Shadow Theatre.

Kostas Manos designed Karaghiozis figures for most of his fellow artists. His painting style gave birth to what is called a ‘school of painting’, which was adopted by most of his younger colleagues as well as his students, such as Manthos Athineos, Panayiotis Michopoulos, Avraam Antonakos etc.

He enriched the repertory of Greek Shadow Theatre with new themes and characters inspired by Greek Mythology, Ancient, Byzantine and Modern Greek History as well as classic and folk Literature.

For many years he performed in Peloponnese, in the areas of Argolida, Arcadia and Messinia, but also in Athens. He died on 2nd March 1970. He is considered as one of the most important artists and craftsmen in the history of Greek Shadow Theatre. The great Sotiris Spatharis writes in his ‘Memoirs’ for Kostas Manos.