05/10/2022 - 05/11/2022
Dimitris Tzanis
Art exhibition

The Municipality of Heraklion, with the cooperation of the Region of Crete, is organizing a retrospective exhibition of the artist Dimitris Tzani with the aim of highlighting his artistic career, as well as his overall contribution to art. In the exhibition that will take place in the Vasilica of St. Markou, works by the artist are presented in thematic sections, from 1988 to 2019.


My visits to Dimitris’ studio most often resulted in disagreements and confrontations between us. Being a perfectionist and constantly unsatisfied, he provoked me and quite often I felt uncomfortable, because although I found him to be overdramatic, at the same time it was impossible for me to contradict him. His sarcastic sense of humour was disarming. I laughed with his biting comments, always on point and always straightforward. I could not hold a grudge to that blond child of another era, with whom we used to stand under the same banners, protesting about a zillion things, or claiming others. For us, back then, all those were something self-evident; for the all the others, they were futile idealism. But Dimitris never gave up on the dreams of his youth. Uncompromising and fully aware of his beliefs he took the long road of his loneliness. Until the end. Proud, uncompromising, sensitive, selective. Just as his painting. Blessed with talent, his brushstrokes on paper and canvas produced paintings which can narrate a whole story. His oeuvre is certainly not merely visual. Even if the art critics scold me, I have always found a story behind each of Tzani’s works. Short stories and novels, full of his personal ideas and thoughts, which urge you to think and appreciate the worry that stemmed from his thought and ended up in the pencil, the brush, the colours, before turning into a work of art. Works of art that can give you pleasure, that can move you, that can make you feel awe, but will never provide relief. On the contrary, whenever you look at any of his works, you discover something more, something important, which troubles you and makes you wonder how come you hadn’t noticed it the first place. It’s as if his paintings hide secrets. Secrets and truths. It was as if his art was a way of relieving the burden he was carrying, always trying to correct all that was wrong. Dimitris was a blessed man. He lived in understanding and love, appreciation and admiration. He left his work as a legacy to us. A legacy that we must preserve and promote. It is the least we can do for a painter from Crete who always reminded us of all that was good and of all that was bad in the city we lived in. In our city. On the wall in my office, I have put a framed sketch of me produced by Dimitris during a conference of the Greek Communist Party. Every morning, when I look at it, I say: Good morning, my friend! We are all here and you are here with us.

Aristea T. Plevri, Heraklion Municipality Deputy Mayoress for Culture

Dimitris Tzanis

A versatile, multi-talented, independent and revolutionary artist, Dimitris Tzanis was a restless and tireless creator of contemporary aesthetics. He was a prolific and devoted painter, narrative comic artist, video art and graphic art enthusiast, obsessive multimedia user, and a music connoisseur, who adopted pioneering exhibition practices, such as happenings, performance art, online exhibitions, and street art.

His work is multi-faceted; he was particularly interested in oil painting on canvas, but he also produced drawings on paper, collages, comics, graffitis, paper-cuts, he used ready-made objects, explored complex mixed media and the use of technology, and he also dealt with large-scale constructions and the moving image of video art. His visual idiom was always highly personal and distinctive; his personal vocabulary and style were always present, despite the different techniques, themes and influences.

He exhibited his works for less than 35 years, but he painted systematically for forty consecutive years, always on the tormented lonely road taken by those creators who respect their art and who constantly in search of new ways of expression or even redemption: “Creation is the life of the artist, his/her torturous everyday life, moments that pulsate in an effort that rarely results in personal satisfaction and even more rarely in a decent outcome” he said during an interview in 2010.

Today, one year after his passing, with a lot of arduous work, we have organized a retrospective exhibition which covers his entire artistic career in an effort to shed light on his overall contribution to art, and his works are presented in his thematic units, from 1988 to 2019.

His creations were expressions of his soul and redemptions of his existence: “No one taught me how to paint, so I depict what I see in things. It’s like falling in love…” he had said.

Although his themes stemmed from his soul-searching, his personal experiences, and his ideological and social concerns, his artistic expressions had a very distinctive common denominator, satire and sarcasm: “…looking for solutions as regards the difficulties of each theme, using the humoristic approach as the answer to human weaknesses, he transmuted his impressions and emotions in distorted, almost cartoonish, structures which could only lead to the conclusion that human life is not only an amusing journey, but also a battle between fate and despair, a psychological expressionism of the life of Prometheus for instance, where all passions are idealized.”

Louisa Karapidaki, Art Historian

One thing is certain: the arts “do not flourish in vain”

Dimitris Tzanis, 2010

Solo exhibitions

1988 – “Garage”, Ariadni art space, Heraklion

1989 – “Katsoulinos”, Graffity, Heraklion

1998 – “Transit”, Ariadni art space, Heraklion

1998 – “Terra Cotta”, Art intervention, Candia Maris, Heraklion

1999 – “Deposit”, Art Athina 7’99, Ariadni art space, Athens

1999 – “Back to class”, Art intervention at the “Pangrition” school, Heraklion

2001 – “Anabiosis”, painting and constructions, Skoufa Gallery, Athens

2002 – “Free Pratique”, painting and constructions, Thessaloniki Municipality Art Gallery

2004 – “Stasis”, Ariadni art space, Heraklion

2005 – “Tell me where you are…”, painting, V. Mylonoyiannis art gallery, Chania

2008 – “Bulls”, Evdomi Opsi art space, Chania

2009 – “Mora”, online exhibition, http://mora-babes.blogspot.com/

2010 – “My Retrospectives”, Studio 2 multipurpose venue, Heraklion

2010 – “Bulls, invisible souls”, Technochoros art gallery, Athens

2013 – “Lazarakia, ephemeral art”, Art activity, Praxis bookstore, Heraklion

2013 – “Bulls, invisible souls II”, “Pangrition” school, Heraklion

2014 – “Sombre body”, Technochoros art gallery, Athens

2016 – “In my teenage room…”, installation in the “Invisible City”, former First Police Department of Heraklion, Association of Architects of the Municipality and of the Ephorate of Antiquities


Group exhibitions

1994 – Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Athens – Arts Centre

1995 – Mylos Multiplex, Thessaloniki

2000 – Skoufa Gallery, Athens

2001 – “Month of Fine Arts”, Technopolis Municipality of Athens

2001 – Skoufa Gallery, Athens

2001 – Ariadni art space, Heraklion

2002 – “Com-munication radio”, Millennium multipurpose venue, Patras

2003 – “Oikade”, exhibition of Cretan artists, L. Kanakakis Municipal Art Gallery, Rethymnon; Melina Cultural Centre, Athens; St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion (curated by Maria Maragou)

2003 – “Symbols”, Mylos Multiplex, Thessaloniki

2003 – “Symbols II”, Ancient Olympia

2003 – Skoufa Gallery, Athens

2003 – “The Olive Tree and the Natural Environment”, G. Kounalis Exhibition Space, Chania; Students’ place, Rethymnon; Municipal Art Gallery, Agios Nikolaos

2004 – “The World of the Olive”, Vikelaia Library, St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion (curated by Nikos Karelis)

2004 – “Polis”, Polis art space, Heraklion

2004 – “On the occasion of the Olympic Games”, Skoufa Gallery, Athens

2005 – “Universes of Women and Men”, Xenia Cultural Centre, Rethymnon; Koundouros’ Villa, Chania; St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion

2005 – “Otherness”, Touch 2005, Municipal Art Gallery of Agios Nikolaos

2005/06 – “In Praise of the Olive”, United Nations Building, New York, USA; Volos, Municipal Art Gallery of Larissa – Katsigras Museum

2006 – “Portraits of art collectors from Chania”, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania

2006 – “Universes of Women and Men”, Municipal Gallery of Corfu; Yeni Mosque, Thessaloniki; Cultural Centre, Avdou

2006 – “Odysail 06”, Xenia Cultural Centre, Rethymnon

2006 – “In Search for freedom”, Touch 2006, Municipal Art Gallery of Agios Nikolaos, 3rd Prize

2007 – “Aspects of Contemporary Art in Crete”, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, Creta Maris, Hersonissos

2007 – “The Greek Spirit”, Touch 2007, Municipal Gallery of Agios Nikolaos

2007 – “50 years since Spinalonga”, Elounda

2007 – Melina Cultural Centre, Athens

2007 – “East and West”, Evdomi Opsi art space, Chania

2008 – “In Heraklion”, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion

2008 – “Red”, Costas Kouvidis, St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion

2008 – “1st Mediterranean Symposium of Environmental Art “, Gergeri, Municipality of Rouvas

2008 – “Metamorfosis”, Touch 2008, Municipal Art Gallery of Agios Nikolaos

2009 – “1X1 Human Fauna”, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion

2009 – “Landscape Stories. From tradition to sustainability”, Ministry of Culture-The Bath of the House of Winds, Athens; St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion (curated by Louisa Karapidaki)

2009 – “Ash in Art – moving across”, Manos Loizos’ Cultural Centre, Nikaia

2009 – “wine and truth”, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, Nikos Kazantzakis Museum, Myrtia

2009 – “Rhythms” – Rhythms of life & Rhythms in Art, Touch 2009, Municipal Art Gallery of Agios Nikolaos; Athinais Art Gallery, 2nd Prize

2009 – “No man’s land”, Arts Centre of the Municipality of Athens (curated by Lena Kokkini)

2009 – “The human figure in art”, Technopolis Municipality of Athens

2010 – 8th International Biennale, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, Sardinia

2010 – “Silences”, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion; Municipal Art Gallery of Agios Nikolaos

2010 – “Landscape stories. From tradition to sustainability”, San Marco dei Cavoti, Italy (curated by Louisa Karapidaki)

2010 – “Erysichthon, A Modern Reading of the Myth”, Academy of Athens, Leonidas Kanellopoulos Cultural Centre, Elefsina (curated by Louisa Karapidaki)

2010 – “Contemporary art… a look at the visual landscape of Crete”, Museum of Visual Art; Corfu Municipality Art Gallery

2010 – “Facing People”, Studio 2 multipurpose venue, Heraklion

2011 – “Limit”, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion

2011 – “Accessible Art”, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, Hall AIII Art Ground, Heraklion

2012 – “My Greece”, Network of Visual Artists of Heraklion, St. Mark’s Basilica, Heraklion

2012 – “Invisible city”, former AR conservatory (Mansion of Bey Sekerias), Heraklion

2013 – “Reference to Nikos Kazantzakis”, Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, Rethymnon (curated by Chrysoula Skepetzi)

2014 – “The Marquis de Sade and the Virtue of Cruelty”, XANIaRT 2014, Trianon mansion, Chania (curated by Dr. Doukas Kapandais, Dr. Konstantinos V. Proimos & Ioannis N. Archontakis)

2015 – “ZOO”, Heraklion Museum of Visual Art

2015 – “The Invisible Islands”, Heraklion Museum of Visual Art; Chania

2016 – “Without weight, volume, dimension”, AS Gallery, Heraklion

2016 – “Wine_ART, works inspired by wine”, AS Gallery, Heraklion

2016 – “Opsarion”, Technochoros art gallery; Varoulko seaside restaurant, Piraeus

2017 – “Body and contemporary crisis”, Centre for Mediterranean Architecture, Chania (curated by Chrysoula Skepetzi)

2017 – “Anxious Portraits Asking for a Reader III”, XANIaRT 2017, Heraklion Museum of Visual Art; Match More Underground Art Gallery, Platanias, Chania (curated by Dr. Konstantinos V. Proimos & Ioannis N. Archontakis)

2017 – “Ring V”, XANIaRT 2017, Morfes Art Gallery, Rethymnon; AS Gallery, Heraklion; Contemporary Art Museum of Chania – Olive Press (curated by Meraklis Rogakos)

2018 – “Iconoclastic Idols”, Contemporary Art Museum of Chania – Olive Press (curated by Dr. Konstantinos V. Proimos & Ioannis N. Archontakis)

2019 – ” Papilionoideae “, Art Athina 2019, Technochoros art gallery, Athens

He wrote articles and produced illustrations in newspapers and magazines. He also designed and edited book covers for various publishing houses. From 1992 to 1998 he worked as a graphic designer at Crete University Press.

He also hosted radio talk shows.

He collaborated with the Multimedia Laboratory of the University of Crete, the ICS-Forth as well as the Faculty of Medicine for the celebration of its 25th anniversary.

Digital Catalogue

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The digital catalog of the exhibition is now available for online viewing
5 October to 5 November
Opening hours

Δευτέρα – Παρασκευή: 09:00 – 14:00 & 17:00 – 21:00
Σάββατο 09:00 – 14:00

Vasilica of Saint Markou, Heraklion Crete
Free entrance