Kanagini Niki (1933 - 2008)

Born in Alexandroupolis in 1933, she studied at Lausanne’s Ecole Cantonale de Dessin et d’Art Appliqué (1952-1954) and continued at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Kefallinos, Papaloukas and Moralis until 1958; she completed her studies at the Central School of Arts and Design in London (1958 -1961) under Hans Tisdall, Alan Davie and Cecil Collins. In 1962 she moved permanently to Athens. Her first solo exhibitions were at La Feluca gallery in Rome in 1962, and at the Merlin Gallery of Athens in 1965.
Her early works were in the atmosphere of abstract expressionism, with the emphasis on colour and its strong contrasts. She used also the technique of tapestry, combining the texture of the fabric with the trace of painting. Over time she moved from abstraction to a range of subjects with complex references to social and cultural issues. She employed mixed-media techniques with various materials in three-dimensional constructions, installations and happenings in which viewers were often called upon to participate.
The tendency for critical commentary in her oeuvre spans a broad range of subjects such as consumerism and the destruction of the environment, history and tradition, women’s housework and gender identity and the political aspect of everyday life. Her sensitive references to experienced memories and her acute social conscience lead to a personal visual interpretation of topical issues without reflecting a narrow ideological perspective.
She taught at the Vakalo School (1963-1967), the Centre for Technological Applications (1970-1971) and the Athens School of Fine Arts as a specialist (1984-1986). She also presented a series of seminars for architects in Chania with the Technical Chamber of Greece (1993). She has participated in conferences and events on issues around contemporary art, and published articles in magazines and newspapers.
She has presented her work in numerous solo exhibitions and has participated in major group shows in Greece and abroad — among these the tribute “Greek Art in Holland” at the Nieue Kerk Cathedral (Amsterdam, 1981) and Europalia, Brussels in 1982. Works of hers are in the Museum of Contemporary Art of New York, the National Gallery in Athens, the National Bank, etc.