2nd Floor

entry: General Conditions

Nikias Skapinakis

2023-02-08
2023-05-21
Curatorship: Helena Skapinakis e Maria de Aires Silveira

Nikias Skapinakis 
(1931-2020).

Born in Lisbon, the city where he died in 2020, Nikias Skapinakis was a painter, draftsman and engraver, activities in which he maintained, throughout his life, a vast critical production. His choice for painting came after an initial choice for architecture. He began exhibiting in 1948, at the Gerais de Artes Plásticas. His work, exhibited in the main Portuguese museums, was the subject of multiple studies and widely awarded. 

The artist as a collector of his own work 

A single author, a single collector: The NikiaΣ of Nikias This is the proposal for the exhibition that will open at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, where around 80 works by the painter Nikias Skapinakis (1931-2020) will be shown, belonging to a single collector: Nikias himself.

 The surprise of the exhibition will not reside in the works themselves; since most of them were included in anthologies held in several national museums and/or are reproduced in books dedicated to the painter. The surprise will indeed lie in the particular selection of works that we will find and which, according to very specific criteria, Nikias chose to integrate his private space. 

All texts accompanying the exhibition are authored by the artist. Despite having argued that painting needs no explanations, Nikias is the author of a relevant reflection on his own work. The texts accompanying the exposition and the notes on the tables prove that the best commentator on Nikias is Nikias himself. There are obvious gaps in this collection, as there are no works from some of the painter's best-known phases, such as the Lisbon landscapes or the collective portraits of the 60s/70s. 

However, the collection includes, among others, the only self-portrait of the painter, the first portrait of Natália Correia, a set of drawings made during the period in which the painter was imprisoned in Aljube, the provocative Mulher-leopardo, a canvas of two meters long entitled Jardins da Arcadia, the two final paintings of the series «Quartos Imaginários», The Window of Caspar Friedrich and The Window of Almada Negreiros, and three landscapes of the series «Black and White», made in 2020, the year of the death of painter. In Jorge Silva Mello's film, O Teatro dos outros (2007), Nikias mentions that, of the approximately nine hundred paintings he made, perhaps 100 deserve to be seen together and allow for a less expected reading. Perhaps ten will become referents of their time and their world. Or maybe just one. Or none.  

Are these 80 works, part of the 100 that deserve to be seen together?

Helena Skapinakis 

....................................

The exhibition will also feature a catalogue, which will be published soon. In addition to several parallel educational activities, the exhibition precedes the Congress dedicated to Nikias Skapinakis that the MNAC is organizing with the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon and the Institute of Art History of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, of the University Nova de Lisboa and which will take place on the 1st and 2nd of March, at FBAUL. The program will be announced soon.