For Nikos Houliaras (1940-2015) the drawing offered the independence he was seeking in his life and work.
His drawings are never studies for larger works, they are creations in their own right and are gripped by the same idées fixes as his paintings, using numerous techniques: the memory of landscapes and the topoi of memory, words and script, the violence and tenderness of love, the solitary beast, shadow and night, the image of the Self are depicted increasingly on his paper.
Initially abstract, like his paintings, the drawings are subsequently inundated with the human presence, linear or elaborate. Houliaras’s drawings of the 1960s and 1970s, prevailing in the present exhibition, are often also a kind of personal diary, imprinted in which, at times with humour and self sarcasm, are his coterie of friends and artists, his early involvement with set designing and the song, the houses in which he lived, his view of everyday socio-political reality, female figures and his travels.
The current presentation was occasioned by the recent discovery of unknown drawings in the late artist’s collection, dating from his student days in the Athens School of Fine Arts until his final creative moments. The importance of the drawing in Nikos Houliaras’s oeuvre is further enhanced by the inclusion also of drawings from landmark sets in the exhibition and publication history of his course as a painter.