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30 November 2023 - 3 March 2024

Exhibition “Vanitas. Stories from the past”

MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art-Collections of the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and the State Museum of Contemporary Art (within TIF-Helexpo, Thessaloniki)

30 November 2023 – 03 March 2024

Opening: Thursday 30 November 2023 / 20:00

The skull and crossbones, a symbol of archetypal and mystical, pagan and Christian, and the… versions of 56 contemporary artists on vanity, vanity and death itself as a passage are the protagonists in the new exhibition-production of the MOMus Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki, entitled “Vanitas. Stories from the Afterlife”, which will be presented from 30 November 2023 to 03 March 2024 (opening: Thursday 30 November 2023, 20:00).

The exhibition poses the most important existential question of life for the creation of meaning and consciousness in contemporary visual and cultural terms. More than sixty works invite us to reflect on the predominantly existential question, which remains particularly popular in contemporary art. In the works in the exhibition, symbolic elements are combined with visual values, dramatic and macabre content with humour, cruelty with sensitivity, a dark dramatic atmosphere with a more light, pop perception and iconography, a critical view with a subversive mood and references to art history and contemporary reality. The visual compositions are open to multiple interpretations and readings and extremely varied in terms of style, style and the different aesthetics they favour.

The skull and crossbones is not only found in European art but also in the art of various cultures, as an illustration of the cycle of life and death, the transience of earthly pleasures and enjoyments, melancholy and repentance, the primordial fear of an inescapable fate and an impending final judgment. At other times, the skull and crossbones comes to visualize power and imposition, violence and terror, but also diving and wandering into dark and uncharted territories of the unknown and the metaphysical. At the same time, in the contemporary world, it emerges and asserts itself as a powerful visual symbol, stripped and sanitized, more often than not, of its allegorical implications, moral meanings, religious parameters and emotional power – an attractive, influential and painless image that appears from the world of fashion, decoration and advertising to pop and youth culture.

The exhibition “Vanitas. Stories from the Past” also features works by Ivan Kliun from the MOMus Museum of Modern Art-Kostakis Collection, drawings and prints by Moritz Retzsch, Gustav Klucis and Frans Masereel, as well as an engraving of Arnold Böcklin’s “Island of the Dead”, based on the third variant of the painting by the artist and printed in Moscow in the 1880s.

Participating artists: George Alexandridis, Nikita Alexeev, Angelos Antonopoulos, Anita Argyroiliopoulou, Fotis Vazakas (Dreamfacta), Vassilis Vasilakakis, John Vassos, Christos Veneti, Babis Venetopoulos, Andreas Vousouras, Takis Germenis, Nikos Yavropoulos, Lydia Damasina, Charalambos Dermatis, Martha Dimitropoulou, Rania Emmanouilidou, Stefanos Eptropou, Marion Iglesi, Antigoni Kavvatha, Nikomachi Karakostanoglou, Dimitris Karlaftopoulos, Aris Katsilakis, Victor Cohen, Despina Konstantinou, Nikos Lagos, Aristidis Lappas, Ivan Lounguine, Alexandros Maganiotis, Dimitra Marouda, Panos Matthaiou, Dimitris Merantzas, Christina Mitrentse, Katerina Moschou, Manolis Babousis, Emmanuel Bitsakis, Fani Bounturoglou, Alkis Butlis, Eleni Mylonas, Fanouris Moraitis (Nurako), Nikos Papadimitriou, Antonis Papadopoulos, Youla Papadopoulou, Elias Papailakis, Natassa Poulantzas, Iphigenia Sduku, Miltos Skouras, Dimitris Tataris, Nikos Tranos, Giorgos Tseriotis, Kostas Tsolis, Pantelis Chandris, Kostas Christopoulos, Dionysis Christofilogiannis, Ellie Chrysidou, Lia Psoma, Ira Waldron


Edited by

Yannis Bolis, Art Historian, MOMus Curator


Guided tours

Guided tours open to the public on 07, 14, 21 December at 18:00, and on 09, 16, 23 December at 12:00, with the entrance ticket to the exhibition.

Registration Tuesday-Sunday 12:00-17:00 at tel. 2310 240002 (ext. 1)



30 November 2023
March 3
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154 Egnatis str,
Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki 54636 Greece
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