“ALL THE arts under one roof,” is the motto of the Onassis Cultural
Centre’s brand new home on Syngrou Avenue.
Though the venue is set to be officially inaugurated in early
December, its rich programme of events was unveiled on October 25,
proof that art can offer a much-needed cultural refuge in times of
Based on designs by the French architectural office Architecture
Studio, the building’s 18,000m2 of space is coupled with a facade of
marble bands which in the daylight enhance transparency and at night
allow the building’s interior to be seen.
A 900-seat amphitheatre, a 220-seat auditorium, a ground-floor bar
designed by Aemilia Papafilippou (around her original installation
Liquid Sky) and spacious foyers are among the building’s cutting-edge
A restaurant which will extend to the rooftop terrace during the
summer months offering breathtaking views of the Acropolis will open
its doors to the public in 2011. Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss and another
two sculptures by Antoine Bourdelle - courtesy of the National Gallery
- as well as works by Yannis Moralis will adorn the centre’s premises.
Filling a gap
“We believe that there is a gap between the National Opera, the
Megaron Mousikis, the National Gallery and the National Museum of
Contemporary Art that needed to be filled,” said Onassis Foundation’s
president Antonis Papadimitriou, stressing that the centre’s stance is
not one of competition but of collaboration.
The Onassis Cultural Centre’s new space will embrace the whole
spectrum of arts from theatre, dance, music and the visual arts to the
written word, focusing on contemporary Greek culture produced in
Greece or abroad with “65 percent of events being of Greek content,”
Managing director Christos Carras referred to the centre as “an open
space that opts to do away with the dividing lines that create small
ghettos in our cultural life”.
In addition to promoting young talent on a local level, the centre
will encourage cultural discourse with international artists and
promote a social approach towards culture.
Opening the centre’s programme of events on November 24-27 is the
international conference The Athens Dialogues. On the occasion,
scholars, researchers and artists from across the world will deal with
the question, “Does the past have a future?” in an attempt to explore
to what extent Greek heritage can offer solutions to contemporary
A visual-arts parallel event, entitled
Visual Dialogues, will see 15 Greek artists - including Dimitris
Tsoumplekas, Andreas Angelidakis, Despina Meimaroglou and Nikos
Navridis - using contemporary forms of expression to translate into
images the conference’s problems.
The centre’s dance agenda will include productions by Greek
choreographers Mariela Nestora, Linda Kapetanea, Katerina Papageorgiou
and Angeliki Stellatou. Hungarian choreographer Joseph Nadj’s
Chekhov-inspired work Cherry-Brandy which was staged in Moscow last
July plus the National Ballet of Spain’s performances are some of the
Theatre aficionados will be treated to the Greek premiere of Heiner
Mueller’s 1979 play The Mission, Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Verther
by the Yannis Skourletis’ newly-found group Joux de Kant and Krzysztof
Varlikowski’s (A)pollonia in collaboration with the Athens Festival.
Concerts by Stephan Micus, Kronos Quartet and the Paolo Pandolfo
ensemble are planned on the music front.
The centre will financially support the Camerata and the Orchestra of
Colours, both of which will hold concerts at the venue.