In pursuit of Ottoman Greek artist Mario Prassinos

In pursuit of Ottoman Greek artist Mario Prassinos

In pursuit of Ottoman Greek artist Mario Prassinos Istanbul’s Pera Museum opened a new exhibition on May 25 centered on the art of Mario Prassinos, who was born in Istanbul into an Ottoman Greek family and began his avant-garde artistic career in early 20th century Paris. 

Displayed until Aug. 14, the exhibition brings together a large selection of Prassinos’ works, ranging from paintings and book illustrations to tapestries, portraits, and engravings.

“Mario Prassinos: In Pursuit of an Artist, Istanbul-Paris-Istanbul” reveals the striking and unique character of Prassinos and his distinctive style shifting from Surrealism to a more realistic approach.

Curated by Seza Sinanlar Uslu, with the consultancy of expert Catherine Prassinos and advisor Thierry Rye, the exhibition welcomes back this original 20th century artist to his birthplace in Pera, Istanbul, on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

In his half fictional, half autobiographical book, “The Tattooed Hill,” Prassinos mentions his memories and his early childhood in a family of intellectuals and artists living in the Pera district of cosmopolitan post-war Istanbul. 

Mario Prassinos, also very well known for his Turkish Landscapes series, which were also to him “the landscapes of Nanterre” in France, where he lived after the age of six, makes a connection between these artworks and his memories. 

“There is, in fact, a story behind these landscapes … In these landscapes, there is always a tree or something resembling a tree or can be taken for a tree. This is a memory of childhood. The countryside around Constantinople is relatively flat and sprinkled with groups of isolated trees. I wanted to revisit the image of a horizon cut by a tree, a tree that stands against the light,” he once said.

The Turkish Landscapes series pursue certain images, memories, or sentiments he had been keeping in his inner world about his past and his childhood.