Thursday, 19 June 2014

Του λαἲκού λιθογλύπτη της Άνω Κορακιάνας

Plaque on the front of the 'museum' carved by Andrea Metallinos
Because his museum, for complicated reasons, is not open to the public or even the village, far too little is known of the laic - λαἲκού - sculptor Aristeidis Metallinos, whose work Linda and I first saw before last Christmas, with our friend Cinty, as guests of Angeliki Metallinos and her parents Anna, and Andreas, the sculptor's son. We were entranced, intrigued, amused and enthused.
Aristeidis Zak. Metalllinos - Αριστείδη Ζαχ. Μεταλληνος 1908-1987*
Imagine then my delight at seeing that Thanassis, who runs the village website, has just posted a piece about his fellow villager, including two images of the sculptor's many reliefs.


Η επίσκεψη ήταν μια επιθυμία ετών, από τότε που ζούσε ακόμη ο Αριστείδης Μεταλληνός και μια πρόσκλησή του στο εργαστήριό του αποκάλυψε ένα σπουδαίο ταλέντο στη γλυπτική τέχνη. Ως ανάμνηση, ξεθωριασμένη εικόνα στο νου, είχε απομείνει κάτι από τη θέαση μερικών γλυπτών πάνω σε πέτρα, που απεικόνιζαν επαγγέλματα του χωριού. Πριν από μερικές μέρες ο υιός Ανδρέας Μεταλληνός προσέφερε την ευκαιρία για μια νέα ματιά στο σύνολο της σημαντικής δουλειάς του πατέρα του, μερικές εκατοντάδες κομμάτια, που συνθέτου ένα πραγματικό θησαυρό της λαϊκής μας κληρονομιάς και  κοσμούν τους τοίχους ενός Μουσείου που δεν έχει ακόμη λειτουργήσει.
Pressing the farmer's olive oil 1982 (cat.186)**

Ανάμεσα στα πολλά έργα, σε περίοπτη θέση, βρίσκεται και μια αναπαράσταση του "Κορακιανίτικου Χορού" ...Για περισσότερα, μπορείται να δείτε και την ιστοσελίδα του αγαπητού Simon...
(my translation) Folk tradition.  The visit was desired for years; since Aristeidis Metallinos was still alive. An invitation to the workshop revealed a great talent for sculpture.  There was a hazy memory of having viewed carvings in stone depicting village occupations. A few days ago his son, Andreas Metallinos, offered the opportunity for a fresh look at his father's work - a few hundred pieces that make up a real gem of our folk history, adorning the walls of a museum that's not even open...Among the many works displayed is a representation of 'Korakiana Dancing'... For more, please see the website of our dear Simon ...

Σταυρωτός χορός Άνω Κορακιάνας 1985 - Ano Korakiana circle dance (cat.45)**

It seems that the safest, perhaps the wisest, way to bring the sculptor wider attention is to focus on his role in depicting tradition - the life of a pastoral village society, known through his childhood and middle age; almost disappeared by the time he began, late in life, to carve in stone and marble. He celebrated his wife and children, motherhood, the beautiful costumes that villagers - men and women - don, even now, for dancing and singing. Several of these pieces are shown in one of the few academic papers about the man (Eurydice Antzοulatοu-Retsila (2005) ‘The folklore of Corfu in the art of the traditional stone-sculptor Aristeidi Metallinou’, in Evrydiki Antzοulatοu-Retsila (editor), Culture and Heritage Combined, Papazisi Publications, Athens, pp. 47-70 [ISBN: 960-02-1860-9]} - Ευρυδίκη Αντζουλάτου-Ρετσίλα (2005) ‘Θέματα Κέρκυρα ι κής λαογραφίας στο έργο του λαἲκού λιθογλύπτη Αριστείδη Μεταλληνού’ στο Πολιτιστικά και Μουσειολογικά Σύμμεικτα, Εκδόσεις Παπαζήση, Αθήναι, σελ.47-70 [ISBN: 960-02-1860-9])
Dr. Evrydiki Antzoulatou-Retsila

Trickier is knowing that the village's sculptor, as well as recording tradition - the laic element of his work -  was also using his hammer and chisels to create a commentary on human nature and the world - pungent, erotic and ribald. This is why, before we saw the museum inside, some described - still do - his house as 'the naughty museum' or remarked "Isn't he the one who made all those sexy sculptures?"; even "Didn't he do pornography?"
Have a second glance at the relief of traditional olive pressing - seated centre, the man in his boater rainy the supervising arm of one in charge. Aristeidis worked marble and local stone with passion...
....depicting inequality, injustice, depravity; man's voracious and feckless appetite for cruelty, gluttony and meanness; the oppressive wheel, the butcher's shop, the Procrustean bed...How troubling for a village proud and glad of its history and traditions, its ceremonies and celebrations, to find a fitting address for the recalcitrant stone worker on Democracy Street...
Αιμοβόρο κτήνος - bloodthirsty beast

Σφαγεία Εθηοπηας πολυτελές κρεοποληο. "Πάσχω από αιμορροΐδεσ και θέλω κομμάτι ανδρικό" 1986 (cat. 192)**
Ethiopian slaughterhouse - high class butcher "I suffer from piles and I want a male member"

The first of a sequence on the history of women. 1978 (cat. 86)**
Το παπούτσι - shoe carved in 1928 when the sculptor was 20 (cat. 132). He carved nothing else until 1967 when he made an small statue of Charlie Chaplin (Cat.109) , getting into stride in his sixty-seventh year with nine pieces, including a statue of Archbishop Makarios (Cat. 7), in 1975 
*Images of the village artist and his work posted on Democracy Street with permission from Andrea and Anna Metallinos, for which many thanks!
Tassos - grandson of the sculptor
**Anastasios Nikolouzos, who we know as Tassos, has listed his grandfather's works, numbering them with date in the order of their current display in the 'museum'. Angeliki, the sculptor's granddaughter has translated her cousin's list into English. I've used these listings to create a draft file - κατάλογος - putting the works into rough chronological order from 1928 to 1986. There are small differences over spelling, and translation is flexible when striving for interpretation. Thus we create the basis for a catalogue (cat.) κατάλογος of Aristeidis Metallinos' works with titles, dates, images and comment. 
Angeliki's list, on English, of her grandfather's works
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Pizza and salad for supper. Lin carefully rescues an exquisite little snail - Helix aspersa - nestling in the remains of Lollorosso from a friend's allotment.
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Denise and I used the Handsworth Helping Hands van to scavenge in Livingstone, Stamford, Crompton and Hutton Roads, taking a full load of waste to Holford Drive, including a fridge-freezer and sofa. Denise and I chatted with neighbours, got help loading the van from a young resident (photo permitted by parent) and discussed a future clearance of the 'secret garden' a long neglected fly-tipped green space playground inside the corner of Hutton Road and Grosvenor Avenue...
Denise with a resident discussing what needs doing in the 'secret garden''

On Hutton Road, Handsworth

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