A Big Enough Umbrella

umbrellas Thessaloniki Greece

I was taken by this recent (and moody) photograph of a permanent installation called “Umbrellas,” situated along the seafront in Thessaloniki, Greece since 1997, and created by a multifaceted sculptor named George Zongolopoulos, who died aged 101 in 2004. There’s not a lot out there about Zongolopoulos, which surprised me, as his career was not only long in years, but featured a wide range of experimental approaches to sculpting, and he was considered one of Greece’s preeminent artists. (Incredibly, not even a page on Wikipedia.)

metal umbrellas zongolopoulos
“Umbrellas” (stainless metal) (1992)

His focus on umbrellas was intriguing, and I was curious about their inspiration. But beyond the inkling found in the lovely quote — “My umbrellas eavesdrop on the universe” — it’s difficult to find his deeper thoughts on the subject.

Still, a more general musing by Zongolopoulos on the nature of art is worth sharing:

“When you see a work of art with a specific style, it takes you somewhere, even in sound if you like… it is instinctively interpreted in you. Not that it is written in notes. The motivations provided by the work of art may sound like music…”

As his “Umbrellas” listen to the music of the sky…

Photo / top: Alexandros Michailidis / Demotix

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