The exhibitionAGONIES – Diamantiswill focus on ‘Agonies’, the important series of works from Diamantis’ oeuvre, exhibited together for the first time in their entirety. The exhibition features the eight emblematic paintings Diamantis created from 1963 to 1977. It also includes Woman with Outstretched Arms, the final complete work by the artist, made in 1983-1984 it is considered to be the conclusion of the ‘Agonies’ series, as well as of Diamantis’ artistic journey, which lasted almost the entire 20th century. In contrast to his monumental work The World of Cyprus, in ‘Agonies’the protagonist is the woman in the role of the mother.
Τhe ‘Agonies’ series explores the artist’s relationship with all the important events that marked his homeland in the 20th century. In the political situation taking shape in Cyprus, Diamantis could see dangers lurking which he discerned would not allow a lasting peace on the island. With his life and art always having been irrevocably bound with the world and destiny of his native land, he felt a great anxiety which was constantly growing and which, inevitably, would be reflected – as an outlet or as an exorcism – in his work, especially in the ‘Agonies’ series.To Diamantis’ agonising about the future of his homeland and about his disconnection from his world of inspiration, other personal anxieties, both existential and artistic, were added.
In order to trace Diamantis’ journey towards the ‘Agonies’, the exhibition will feature the sketches and preliminary drawings for his final works. It will also examine the beginning of his artist exploration of the theme, starting from his school years, when in his copy of Auguste Rodin’s sculpture The Burghers of Calais he tried to capture the anxiety of death. Diamantis had many such important ‘meetings’ with artists and works of art of international acclaim. When he was an art student in London, he explored another kind of anxiety in his copy of El Greco’s The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. Francisco Goya’s ‘The Disasters of War’and Emil Nolde also influenced him by introducing the idea of using landscape as a means to express the human soul. Wassily Kandinsky’s theories helped him develop a rhythmic drawing style which satisfied an inner need. In Diamantis’ work we can also see some thematic and stylistic similarities with his friend and fellow student Henry Moore. Most of all, it appears that in the creation of the ‘Agonies’ Diamantis was influenced by Picasso’s work, in particular Guernica.
In parallel to the main exhibition, a concurrent exhibition will be hosted in the Gallery’s Claude Monet Hall. The Microcosm of Adamantios Diamantisis an artistic photographic exploration by Menelaos Pittas, a friend of the Diamantis family.
Eleni S. Nikita, Curator of the Cyprus Collection of the A. G. Levants Gallery
Loukia Loizou Hadjigavriel, Director of the A. G. Leventis Gallery
Demetra Theodorou Anagnostopoulou
Deputy Director of the A. G. Leventis Gallery