Yannis Papayannis was born in 1962 in Athens, Greece. He lives and works in Kent, UK. He graduated from Bath Academy of Art (1982-83) and he continued his academic studies at Byam Shaw School of Art, London (1983-86). Between 1999-2011 he gave art courses at the Vakalo Art and Design College (academic partners of Derby University).
Ora Gallery, Athens, Greece (1990)|Agathi Gallery, Athens, Greece (1992)|Painting with Dreams and Enigmas, New Forms Gallery, Athens, Greece (1998)|Free Diving in Incidents, New Forms Gallery, Athens, Greece (2002)|Dogs, New Forms Gallery, Athens, Greece (2004)|Picasso Syndrome, New Forms Gallery, 11th Art Athina Contemporary Art Fair, Athens, Greece(2004)|Works from 1993 to 2003, Theognis Cultural Society, Megara, Greece (2004)|The Poem or the Picture, TinT Gallery, Thessaloniki, Greece (2005)|Narrating Heroic Deeds, New Forms Gallery, Athens, Greece (2008).
Selected Group Exhibitions:
Painting a Fairy tale, Pleiades Gallery, Athens, Greece (1990)|SOS the Earth is in Danger, curated by prof. George Markou, Xenia Palace Nafplion, Greece (1992)|3rd Mediterranean Biennale of Engraving and Painting, Alexander the Great and Christopher Columbus, curated by prof. George Markou, Kos island, Greece (1002), Palombara Sabina Castle, Rome, Italy (1992)|Views of Athens by Contemporary Greek Painters, Museum of The City of Athens, Athens, Greece (1992)|Shapes and Forms, Epipeda Gallery, Athens, Greece (1993)|Inaugural exhibition, Cyclades Art Gallery, Hermoupolis, Syros island, Greece (1994)|Six Propositions for One Theme, curated by Eleni Cypraiou, New Forms Gallery, Athens, Greece (1997)|Visual Art Festival by the Panhellenic Cultural Movement, Technopolis City of Athens, Athens, Greece (1997)| Tessaraconta (Forty), New Forms Gallery, Athens, Greece (1999)|ICHTHYS ΙΧΘΥΣ a Cultural and Artistic Symbol in Greek Tradition, curated by prof. Yannis Kolokotronis, Averoff Museum, Metsovo, Greece, (1995), Gallery of Dimitrios Pierides, Glyfada, Greece (1996), Nicosia Municipal Arts Centre Gallery, Lefkosia Cyprus, (1997)|Artists are Influenced by Cinema, curated by Spyros Verykios, Technopolis City of Athens, Athens, Greece (2000)|2000 Tin Cans, curated by Alexis Veroukas, Lithography Workshop in Peiraios str., Athens, Greece(2000)|Make it Simple, Selini Gallery, Kifisia, Greece (2000)|Attracting Attention, Athinon Art Gallery, Athens, Greece (2001)|Sic Art, curated by prof. Yannis Kolokotronis, Lentzos Gallery, New Kifisia, Greece (2001)|Edible Art, curated by Spyros Verykios, Agathi Gallery, Athens, Greece (2001)|Realism and Humour in Contemporary Greek Painting, Vorres Museum, Paiania, Greece (2002), Papantoniou Folklore Museum, Nafplio, Greece, (2003), Famagusta Gate, Nicosia, Cyprus (2004), Vafopoulio Cultural Centre, Thessaloniki, Greece (2004)|Open Studios, Centre of Arts and Culture, Municipality of Maroussi, Greece (2002)|About Painting, curated by Eleni Cypraiou, New Forms Gallery, Athens, Greece (2002)|I, ME Myself, curated by Maria Marangou and Eleni Cypraiou, Museum of Modern Art Rethymnon, Crete, Greece (2003)|Three Generations of Painters support Thrace, curated by Yannis Kolokotronis, Foundation of Thracian Art and Tradition, Book Arcade, Athens, Greece (2003)|Contemporary Αrt, Art Gallery Walk, Athens, Greece (2004)|Views of Athens by Contemporary Greek Artists, Museum of the City of Athens, Athens, Greece (2005), Famagusta Gate, Nicosia, Cyprus (2007), Moscow City Museum, Moscow, Russia (2004)|Mickey Mouse Special Edition, Hellenic American Union, Athens, Greece (2004)|The Greek Sale, Bonham’s, Athens View 30 Nov – 2 Dec., London View 10 – 13 Dec. (2004)|12th ArtAthina Contemporary Art Fair, New Forms Gallery, Athens Metropolitan Expo, Greece (2005)|Still Life and the System of Objects, William James Art Gallery, Athens, Greece (2005)|10th Comics International Festival, organized by Babel Magazine, Love will Tear us Apart, curated by Spyros Verykios, Technopolis City of Athens, Athens, Greece (2005)|Flowers in Contemporary Art, curated by Eleni Cypraiou and prof. Stavros Tsingoglou, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (2006)|Nees Morfes, 50 years later, Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece (2009)| Figurative Painting and Drawing Happening, See what Painters do with their Models, Poros, Greece (2009)|The Artists Teachers at Vakalo, curated by Pantelis Tsavalos, Vakalo College of Art and Design, Athens, Greece (2010)|Human Proportions, curated by Ιris Critikou, Poulopoulos Old Hat Factory, Athens, Greece (2010)|Painting Group Show, Vorres Museum, Paiania, Greece (2011)|Home, Kostis Palamas Building, Athens, Greece (2011)|From Fruitopia to the Fireworks Island, an homage to the writer Eugene Trivizas, curated by Dionysia Giakoumi, G. Gounaropoulos Museum, Athens, Greece (2013), Famagusta Gate, Nicosia, Cyprus (2014).
His works are to be found in many private collections of museums, foundations or individuals such as: the Museum of the City of Athens, the Vorres Museum, Paiania, Greece, the Cyclades Art Gallery, Hermoupolis, Syros, Greece, the Harris Antoniou Collection, the Panayotis D. Cangelaris Collection, the Antonis & Azia Chatzioannou Collection, the Christos & Poly Collialis Collection, the Stavros Tsingoglou Collection.
A great number of published documentation, regarding him and his work, has been produced in the accompanying printed catalogues of the exhibitions mentioned above. Furthermore, he has been lexicon-graphed in the Dictionary of Greek Artists by the Melissa Publishing House, 1999, ISBN 978-960-204-209-0, while he has been included in the book written by the prof. Stelios Lydakis the Views of Athens by Contemporary Greek Artists, published by the same Publishing House, 2004, ISBN 960-855-903-0. More publications about his work can be found in: Greek Art, Painting in the 20th Century, prof. Chrysanthos Christou, Ekdotike Athenon, 1996, ISBN 960-213-303-1, ISBN-13 978-960-213-303-3|Art in Transition, prof. Yannis Kolokotronis, Nereus Publications 2000, ISBN 978-960-759-715-1|Ελληνομουσείον (GreekMuseum), prof. Manos Stefanidis, ISBN 960-8460-26-3, ISBN-13 978-960-8460-26-3, Militos Publishing House.
Notable is his presence in the Press since a wide record of articles has been referred to him and his work such as: Apostolos Papadimitriou, Odigitis Newspaper (April 1990)| Yannis Papayannis at Ora Gallery, Dora Iliopoulou Rogan, Kathimerini Newspaper (13 May 1990)|Yannis Papayannis, The Body in the Painting of Lucian Freud and Frank Auerbach, Diavazo Magazine, issue 307 (17 March 1993)| Yannis Papayannis at Agathi Gallery, Nikos Papadakis, Sema Magazine (May 1993)| Yannis Papayannis, Looking for a Game, Emily Tsingou, Ta Nea Tes Technes, The Art Newspaper no26 (March 1994)| Six Propositions for one Theme, Faye Ifantis, Talent Magazine (August 1997)|Painting without Rules, Interview with Yannis Papayannis, Maro Triantafyllou, Epochi (epoch) Newspaper (1 June 1998)|Yannis Papayannis at New Forms Gallery, Manos Stefanidis, Anti Magazine, issue 678 (15 January 1999)| Is art a Simple Thing?, Tina Kouloufakou, E Magazine, issue 494 (24 September 2000)|Free Diving in Incidents, Yannis Papayannis New Forms Gallery, Eleni Depou, Sychroni Skepsi Newspaper (2002)|Two Artists, Two Views, Maria Ktistopoulou, Idees & Lyseis Magazine (January 2002)|Events and biographies, Rizospastis Newspaper (9 January 2002)|Free Diving in Colours, Aris Vasileiades, Taxydromos Magazine (12 January 2002)|Painting as background, Kathimerini Newspaper (Sunday 13 January 2002)|Edible art, Demetris Rigopoulos, Kathimerini Newspaper (23 January 2002)|Human Presence in the Foreground, Dina Petropoulou, in.gr (25 January 2002)| Free Diving in Incidents, Alexandros Stanas, Highlights Magazine (February 2002)|Maria Maragou, Aris Pigentis, Eleftherotypia Newspaper (Monday 4 February 2002)|Free Diving in Incidents, Nelly Spiliopoulou, Oikia Magazine (issue 15 February 2002)|The Return of the Old Lady, Manos Stefanidis, Anti Magazine, issue 757 (22 February 2002)|Coins of Life, Xydakis Nikos, Echo & Artis Magazine (issue 3, 2002)|Free Diving in Incidents, Vicky Sarakatsianou, Idaniko Spiti Magazine (April 2002)|Blue Magazine, Aegean Cronus Airlines, p.72 (summer 2002)|Yannis Papayannis, Painting with Dreams and Enigmas, Christina Andreou, Axia Newspaper (9 November 2003)|Dina Petropoulou, Metro Magazine (May 2004)| Picasso Syndrome, Nelly Spiliopoulou, Oikia Magazine (May 2004)| Art is Celebrating, Andreas Raptis, Athens Voice Newspaper (6 – 12 May 2004)| Mickey Mouse Meets Art, Nelly Spiliopoulou, Exodos Magazine (November 2004)| Agenda, Dossy Iordanidou, Maison e Decoration Magazine (April 2005)| Illustrated Poems, Dina Petropoulou, Metro Magazine (April 2005)| The Poem or the Painting, Nelly Spiliopoulou, Oikia (April 2005)| Blake and Pound Illustrated, Chryssa Nanou, Aggelioforos Newspaper (4 April 2005)| Yannis Papayannis, the Poem or the Painting, Thanassis Gogadis, Makedonia Newspaper (10 April 2005)| One Song 13 Artworks, Aris Malandrakis, Kyriakatiki Elefthrotypia, & 7, issue 200 (18 September 2005)| Good Painting Aiming at Multiple Targets, Xydakis Nikos, Chrostiras, Kathimerini Newspaper (10 March 2007)|Flowers in Contemporary Art, Emanuella Trepa, www. hridanos.gr (3 June 2007)|Narration of Heroic Deeds, Olga Brouma, Maison & Decoration Magazine (February 2008)|New Blood, Yannis Konstantinides, Vima Deco Magazine (February 2008)|Narrations, Nelly Spiliopoulou, Exodos Magazine (February 2008)|In my Studio, Interview with Yannis Papayannis, Nelly Spiliopoulou, Exodos Magazine (February 2008)|Narration of Heroic Deeds, Axia Newspaper (2 February 2008)|Sex and the City, Eleni Cypraiou, Passport Magazine (15 February 2008)|Narration of Heroic Forms, Epochi Newspaper (17 February 2008)|Maria Maragou, Eleftherotypia Newspaper (18 February 2008).
Artist’s note: ‘The relationship between my art and contemporary music is the one of a migrant in an exotic land trying to communicate with the locals using a sign language. Abstract Art’s visual language allowed me to interpret the plethora of methodically arranged sounds into long lines comprised of coloured signs and drawing gestures. These lines were used as a primary material slithering on large papers forming unpredictable compositions.’
Curator’s note: Yannis Papayannis is involved in an expressionism-based practice, bringing his canvases into action through a strong colour palette, gestural brushstrokes, and narratives that insert, in a subtle manner, dissonance, like a disagreeable auditory experience of sound that lacks cohesion. And indeed, being inspired by musical compositions, he engages in a very particular process arranging expressive elements and colours, as a composer would score a series of sounds and notes, still in a more discorded way.
In his earliest work he described himself as self-diver in incidents due to his desire in depicting occurrences, either historical events or random everyday happenings. His compositions, rich in scenic elements and details, as directing a film scene, with a spirit of experimentation, revealed a sense of an art as impulsive and sincerely felt as the stimuli from life itself.
In his most recent series of works abstract patterns of form, colour and line have been further developed, influenced by music and its motifs of sound. With no obvious focus on attention, yet with the aim of triggering a profound contemplational response to the ‘audience’, Yannis Papayannis does not allow for passive viewing. He automatically pulls the viewer into his outstanding, rebellious and inventive compositions. Through abstraction and with no intension of accurate depiction of a visual reality he uses expressive lines, bold colours and gestural marks, as an alternative pathway to reveal his unconscious mind. Additionally, he makes extensive use of written text lines prominently, as one of the central artistic elements of his work. This, overall, free way of creating art, along with the adopted textural style of linear narratives and, moreover, the associations among written phrases, images and meanings, have developed into Yannis Papayannis’ personal powerful and genuine signature language.