Elli Solomonidou Balanou
«Theater, Music, Dance»
Solo exhibition – 1st Floor
Skoufa Gallery presents works of the distinguished sketch artist Elli Solomonidou Balanou, οn THEATRE, DANCE and MUSIC, as well as sketches of prominent Greeks.
The opening will take place on Thursday November 1st, at 7:30 p.m, on the 1st floor.
All sketches of live performance are born when the lights go out and the show begins…
Elli Solomonidou Balanou is seated among the spectators and sketches on her small notepad with the minimal light reflected from the stage, capturing expressions and postures of the actors, the costumes and parts of the scenery. Not even the dancers with their endless movement can escape: They, too, are also caught on paper, with the same ease as the more static concert orchestra. Later, in the comfort of home, following a time-consuming game of paper and ink, the final synthesis is ready for the printers.
Black ink on newsprint at reduced scale tends to disguise much of the artistry, but the original works tell us a more detailed story of how they came to be, from a small notebook when the lights went out…
There is a double value in every sketch. As well as being a work of art, it is a journalistic documentation, a snapshot of the artistic life of Athens and Epidaurus.
Most of the sketches have been published in the newspaper KATHIMERINI, and before that in the newspaper Mesimvrini and the magazine Eikones. The columns of the theatre critics (Manolis Skouloudis, Alexis Diamantopoulos, Stathis Dromazos, Tassos Lignadis, Yiannis Varveris, Spyros Payatakis), of the music critics (Minos Dounias, Yorgos Leotsakos, Nikos Dondas), of the dance critics (Rena Aggouridou, Andreas Rikakis), as well as the column Simeiomatario of Eleni Bistika, have stayed in the minds of the readers entangled with Elli Solomonidou Balanou’s sketches.
Curator: Sofia Balanou
Elli Solomonidou Balanou was born in Athens in 1931 to Minor Asian parents.
She attended courses at the Athens-based School of Fine Arts and also studied at the Department of Set/Costume Design of the Constantinos Doxiadis Athens Technological Institute. Among her instructors were Yiannis Moralis, Yannis Tsarouchis, Spyros Vassiliou, and engraver Tassos (Anastasios Alevizos). She also studied at the French Institute of Athens; on a scholarship from the Italian Institute, she attended art classes at the Italian University for Foreigners, Perugia.
She worked as a music producer with the Greek State Radio (EIR), where she was also in charge of the music in some radio theater broadcasts. In 1965 she became the first set/costume designer with the theater department of the newly established Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT).
She collaborated ofthen with the Greek National Opera as set/costume designer.
From 1961 she has worked as a sketch artist accompanying the columns of theatre, dance and music reviews for Athens Mesimvrini newspaper and Ikones magazine; from 1974 up to 2011 she continued for the Athens KATHIMERINI newspaper, depicting vividly half a century of Athens’ cultural life with her recognizable sketches that are known to capture and immortalize with brief eloquent lines the aroma of each artistic event.
Part of her extensive archive was published in two albums (L. Bratzioti publications):
“30 years of sketches, Theater-Music-Dance” (1988).
“Sketches of Elli Solomonidi Balanou, 1987-2007” (2008)
She has been honored by the Greek Ministry of Culture, the Association of Smyrneans, the Union of Greek Critics for drama and music, the Association of Greek Choreographers, the Gina Bachauer International Music Association.
In 2011 she was honored by the Academy of Athens for her 50-year contribution to Arts in Greece.
Αs the paintor Yiannis Tsarouchis said:
“…Elli Solomonidou Balanou is one of these persons of our era… She sketches not to document an event, but to document her soul…”