Exhibition Michalis Michail

4 to 8 March 2022

Exhibition Area & Foyer 2nd floor

Free entrance

Michalis Michail:  At the last moment, babe, there will always be a hero

The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation presents the Exhibition of Michalis Michail, one of the most renowned comic book creators and visual artists of the 80s.

Michalis Michail, living, acting and creating alone in the crowd, has expressed deeply personal emotions with such alarming honesty so that the spectator or reader may discover himself within the works.

This tender, almost romantic, yet structurally (self)-sarcastic artist, has uniquely expressed the harsh social reality of the post-revolutionary period in the wild decade of the 1980s.  A sensitive receiver and a powerful transmitter.  Like when the iconic comic book hero of Steve Mprizas meets Ross Andru’s (1927 – 1993) Spider-man and the latter reveals that… life is not always happy…

Michalis Michail took us for a ride in the electric modern city employing even colour to demonstrate its darkness.  Always through contrasts, dipoles in fragile balance:  Phantasmagoria and decline, abandonment.  Tenderness and violence.  Light and darkness.  Noise and silence.  Passion, ecstasy, and deprivation.  He introduced us to the heroes and antiheroes of the streets, the perpetrators and the victims, whom he respected, treating them with exactly the same value.  He was introduced to us through the “bipolar” hero of Steve Mprizas.  A modern paper hero, a spider-man who used the city’s electrical wiring as his web.  A lone hero who wanted to connect with everyone and so he plugged in.

In his arsenal, along with his rare talent, he had the scientific knowledge about advertising, communication and in general about pop culture and its expressive means, mainly the pictorial ones, he could render from the inside but also deconstruct, to oppose the false, glossy representation of a consumer euphoria that haunted his generation (…and himself) as a self-fulfilling prophecy.  He gave flesh and blood to the ghosts of the technocratically-held, deprived ideology of his time and beyond.  He recorded these mysteries, electing to leave all questions unanswered.  And creating his own “iparxikopima” (“soulprint”) (word-loan from the graffiti he loved so much, in the neighborhood of Exarcheia) he left us alone with his works, at the age of thirty…

In the archive of Michalis Michail, there is a handwritten note in which he quotes some of his thoughts:

Someone – it seems to me, Rilke  –  said that “art is the search for truth.  HOW is this done?  A:  Consuming ENERGY.  ENERGY = ACTION = LIFE.  Action exists only in life.  so ART is LIFE.  –  our life, the life around us and whatever lives with us.

We warmly thank Mrs. Stella Michail for providing the works.

Exhibition curators:  Dora Vyzovitou, Elena Papadimitriou

A few words about Michail:

He was born in 1957 in Zaire.  He grew up in Athens.  From 1979 to 1981, he studied graphic arts (Institut St. Luc École Supérieure des Arts Plastiques) visual communication and advertising (Academie Royal des Beaux Arts – Brussels), photography (I.N.R.C..), Layout (CAD) and engraving (Atelier Somvile).  He was a member of the artistic group Moi et les Autres.  He worked as an art director in the advertising companies Ikon and First and collaborated with the magazines Ena, Tachydromos and Playboy.

In 1979, deeply influenced by the American and, mainly, European comics, he published his first work in the last issue of the Greek comic magazine, Koloumbra.  From 1985 to 1987 he was published in the leading comic book magazine, Babel, with great success.  In 1986 he participated in the comics sector in the Art Action II Kallidromio within the framework of the Biennale of the Mediterranean Youth.  He participated in numerous sketch and poster exhibitions and presented his drawings at the “Syn” gallery.

In 1987 (October 29 – November 13) Babel organized the first International Comics Exhibition entitled “The World of Comics and more” at the “Evmaros” complex.  Renowned foreign artists and most of the Greek artists participated and the exhibition was dedicated to the great Michalis Michail who had just recently embarked on his parting journey.

In 1988 at “Evmaros”, under the tireless care of his mother, Stella, and his close friend and collaborator, screenwriter, Stavros Vidalis, a large retrospective was held in which the entire range of the artist’s work was presented.  In 1992 the complete monograph was published with almost all his artistic production, from advertising, iconography, paintings and comics, and texts from the most relevant Greek historians and art critics:  Athina Schina, Dora Iliopoulou-Rogan, Harry Kambouridis.  The presentation of the tribute volume accompanied by an exhibition took place at the Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre. In the same year, the Greek participation in the Biennale of Young Artists in Bologna was dedicated to him.

… Thirty five years since he has been gone, the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation re-introduces to the public this multi-expressive artist who, through STEVE MPRIZAS, winks at us, saying, At the last moment, babe, there will always be a hero…

Free entry for the public.

Visiting hours:  Monday to Sunday  18:00 – 22:00

The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation is characterized as a covid free venue and entry requires a demonstration of vaccination or recovery certificate in hard copy or electronic form.