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DIMITRIS MILIONIS (Australia, Sydney b. 1960 / act: Greece, Athens)

Dimitris Milionis Dimitris C. Milionis was born on 8 September 1960 in Sydney, Australia. In 1974 he settled in Athens. A celebrated artist, Milionis was self-taught. He studied the laws of nature and the rules of the gods, and received his inspiration directly from nature, philosophy, and the arts. His work generates questions on the relationship between Art and Philosophy on a cosmological scale.

Milionis is sustaining visibility in a rapidly changing art world. In the 1980s, at a time when conceptional and abstract art reigned supreme, Milionis was inspired by Frank Stella, Gaitis, Akrithakis, Zouni. In the 1990s his minimalist work focused on the human profile; flat hard-edge line paintings and serigraphs. These aspects of his work took him forward in 2000 to discover neo-symbolism on a new level, coupled with a Greek Archaic air and a simplified traditional Byzantine feeling. This resulted into a new modern look of compositional complexity that captured and held the interest of curators, collectors, and critics.

Milionis' success is even more remarkable given that he seldom exhibits in mainstream galleries. His widespread yet low visibility, inspired to him by generations of modern Greek artists, such as De Chirico, Eggonopoulos, Tsarouchis, Fassianos, Samios - whom Milionis has called 'beacons' - prompts him to continue along the dictates of a neo-mythical Aegean culture. Milionis is a great humanist. A quiet man, Milionis uses his art to advocate human compassion, with a critical approach to history and current conditions of inter-cultural understanding, equality, and justice. Milionis feels an urge to address contemporary concerns around humanity's progress, reflecting his desire to explore the nature of humanity and to make sense of the mysteries of life. He likes to challenge the artworld as it progresses in an eternal cycle of light, seeking his own 'Ithaca' under the sun. However, more importantly, he deeply affects the lives of those who see his work and its mystical story-telling. He paints his own spiritual metaphysical world, like the old Greek hagiographer of the early Byzantine world; the streets and small villages; the peaking towers; hotels; churches; and the bars of Eros. At present, his paintings reflect a keen sensitivity to the particularities of contemporary culture. Throughout his life, Milionis feels indebted for their profound influence upon him to his family and friends.

After his move to Greece in the early 1970s, where he lived in a suburban, Athenian neighborhood, his memories of the first smells of museums, ancient sites and monasteries in Greece and Cyprus continued to serve him as an ultimate source of internal inspiration. His art is a homage to the artists and poets of the ancient Greek world. Milionis' paintings and prints tell the story of Creation, evolution of humankind and archetype symbols of his Aegean heritage, as told by the scraps of historical notes, plays, and artefacts of antiquity. The story proceeds from Chaos through the creation of day and night, and the four elements; wind; water; fire; and earth. Milionis' unique personal approach to the subject is brilliant. He choses to represent unique moments of daily life, which are knowable only through the experience of the Aegean landscape. The central protagonist in his narrative is God, who prominently watches over each scene. In part, it is about the powerful ability of stories and storytelling; to unlock the creative powers of the visual imagination. As an artist, he tells stories in a dynamic conflation of physical, emotional, and imaginative experience; capturing the essence of human tragedy. He also chooses scenes from daily life, which are conditioned by Eros. The small yet tall buildings, with unlit, dark rooms inside, and curtains that breaths swing open, playgrounds where children's beach-balls are scattered, and tables which evidence moments of feast, of daily life, during Equinox. His figures are beyond race, ethnicity, or class. Instead, they are innocent victims in a universal tragedy. The tragedy of eternal Love. The houses and villages, depicted in broad swathes of transparent earthen colors, contain references to his mythical dream, a wonderful vision of Hellenic world. The paintings exhibit colorful and sensuous effects, while achieving a heightened sense of style with emphatic brush strokes. Figuration, though not always present, is nonetheless evident and dominates the surface plane providing, verve and poignancy. Milionis' art typifies Hellenic Neo-Symbolic art in the twenty-first century.

Artworks by Milionis are kept at the following institutions: ACG Art of The American College of Greece, Athens; Alpha Bank; American Express Bank; and Philosophical Department of the Kapodistrina University of Athens.

Dimitris Milionis currently lives and works in Athens, Greece.

[Megakles Rogakos 12/2005]

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