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Emmanouil Bitsakis
The Pursuit of Happiness, solo show
Duration: 24.10.20 - 06.02.21

Emmanuel Bitsakis’ show The Pursuit of Happiness is his first solo show in CAN Christina Androulidaki gallery and his ninth solo show overall. He has previously exhibited his work in various galleries and art museums, including a solo exhibition entitled Faces Of The Uigur Through Song & Dance that was held at the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2009 (the artist was the recipient of the prestigious BP Travel Award 2008).

Mostly known for his work that blends together narrative scenes with portrait-painting on miniature-sized wooden blocks or canvases, Bitsakis uses miniature-painting techniques of various types and origins inspired by medieval manuscripts, religious icons of the Cretan School, Renaissance miniature-painting, illustrations from Persia, China, India and so on.

His subject matter is like a valuable collage of complex references which are built on a perfectly justified (for him) system of reason and which attempt to examine the absurdity of everyday life. In his battle against the irrational, his iconographic system is set up as a fragmented set which places even unexpected or conceptually incompatible people and things under the same frame.

The protagonists of his works (politicians, composers, kings, inventors, figures that populate our collective unconscious, explorers of history, plants, animals, the artist himself, etc.) seem both monumentalized and deconstructed, sympathetic and discredited, defending or nurturing their existence alongside hybrid architectural constructions and unspecified urban environments, ancient or futuristic in a characteristic mise-en-scène that through a temperamental interpretation of art and history composes a seemingly random, yet ultimately strategically designed mix that reflects the absurdity of our world.


Bio. Emmanouil Bitsakis was born in Athens in 1974. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1996-2001). In 2008 the BP travel award enabled him to travel to Xinjiang in northwestern China in order to capture the Uigur tribe, while in 2001 he lived and worked for two months in Copenhagen thanks to a scholarship from the Danish Institute in Athens. Including the present, Bitsakis has had nine solo exhibitions to this day. Namely, Persistent Minimum, Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, 2019, Realized Fragments (double solo exhibition with Grigoris Grozos) Nitra gallery, Thessaloniki, 2019, Persistent Minimum, Sotiris Feliou Collection, Athens, 2018, Elizabethan Collar, Kalfayan gallery, Athens, 2014, Painting, K-Art Gallery, Athens, 2011, Faces Of The Uigur Through Song & Dance, National Portrait Gallery (BP Portrait Award 2009, as winner of the BP Travel Award 2008), London, 2009, Painting, Gallery Nees Morfes, Athens, 2004 and 2009. He has participated in various group shows and art fairs in Greece and internationally. His work has been shown in museums such as the Drawing Center in New York (Small, 2014), the National Portrait Gallery in London (BP Portrait Award 2007 and 2008), the Complesso del Vittoriano in Rome (Ellenico Plurale, 2012) and the Benaki Museum in Athens (Nees Morfes 50 Years Later, 2010). He lives and works in Athens.