Hydra Workshop Contemporary Artists Exhibition Space in Hydra Island Greece


Hydra Island Greece is home to the Hydra Workshop Exhibition Art Space founded in 1999 by the art collector and benefactress, Mrs Pauline Karpidas.


The workshop annually showcases the work of both established as well as up and coming contemporary artists from around the world.


Founder Pauline Karpidas

The founder of the Hydra Workshop Exhibition Space in Hydra Island Greece is Mrs Pauline Karpidas.


Below is an extract of Pauline Karpidas' biography from Wikipedia.


Pauline Karpidas (born Manchester) is an English contemporary art collector, private art space benefactor, socialite and patron of the arts.


Mrs Karpidas was married to Constantine Karpidas a Greek shipping magnate. She was introduced to contemporary art by Athens art dealer Alexander Iolas in 1975.


Mrs Karpidas is a patron of young artists whose work she displays at her workshop gallery on Hydra, Greece. Each Summer, since 1999, the London-based collector hosts over 100 guests on the Greek island of Hydra to view the latest additions to her Ophiuchus Collection on display at her Hydra Workshop.


In a 2007 interview with journalist Marina Fokidis, Karpidas said of her Hydra Gallery,


"Having lived now for almost 35 years in Greece, and having been part of the Greek heritage through my marriage to my late husband, Constantine Karpidas, this is a way for me to continue his legacy, his involvement with and support of the arts."


Mrs Karpidas has presented the work many artists at her Hydra Workshop in Hydra, Greece, including Urs Fischer (2007), Carroll Dunham (2008), Nate Lowman (2010) and Ryan Sullivan (2013).


In 2009, she auctioned the Andy Warhol painting 200 One Dollar Bills, which she had bought with her late husband Constantine Karpidas. Characterizing the 1962 painting, art dealer Tony Shafrazisaid, "We’ve seen nothing like this recently [come to auction], this is a masterpiece." The Karpidases paid $385,000 for the painting at a 1986 Sotheby’s sale. After a dramatic "bidding war" the painting realized $43.8 million. Karpidas made more than 100 times what had been paid in 1986.


She is a benefactor of the Tate and the Sir John Soane Museum in London, and an education centre at New York’s New Museum is named after her and her late husband—The Pauline and Constantine Karpidas Education Center.


In 2012, Karpidas donated a vast sum of money to the University of Manchester, particularly to the Manchester Access Programme.This includes the prestigious Karpidas Excellence Scholarship.

Nicole Eisenman


Hydra Workshop, Hydra, Greece 

22 July – 29 September 2016


Nicole Eisenman, Untitled, 2015, oil on canvas, 119.6 x 197.2 x 4.2 cm / 47 x 77 ⅝ x 1 ⅝ in, Copyright the artist, courtesy Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, and Sadie Coles HQ, London.


This summer, Hydra Workshop presents a group of works by American painter Nicole Eisenman – the eighteenth annual exhibition of contemporary art on Hydra. The presentation has been selected by Pauline Karpidas, with the support of Panos and Elisabeth Karpidas, and organised by Sadie Coles. 


Since she emerged in the New York scene of the 1990s, Eisenman has come to be regarded as one of the most versatile and provocative figurative painters of her generation. Her works draw upon sources as wide-ranging as history painting, comic books, Modernist abstraction and folklore – resolving into allegorical, and often darkly humorous, studies in gender, domesticity, nationhood, and the clichés of painting itself. Throughout the works in Hydra, the body is a recurring and mercurial motif. It acts both as a formalist device – a nexus of shape and colour – and as a psychological vessel.


In Eisenman’s surreal and tragicomic figures, layers of art history intersect with the emotions, sensations and politics of the here-and-now. She has explained: “How I understand the culture ultimately comes down to what I feel through my body.” In Divers (1998), she portrays a female figure plunging into water – an image of Olympian vigour which recalls one of Francis Picabia’s later paintings of sensual, anonymous women. Yet the diver’s graceful course is interrupted: she refracts and unravels as she hits the water. The splitting of the surface conjures unmistakably sexual – potentially violent – overtones. A surrounding cluster of smaller divers echo the anagrammatic anatomies of Surrealism or Hieronymus Bosch – miniature permutations of elegance and eroticism. 

The subject of the ‘diving female’ becomes an object, ripe for breakage and reassembly.


Northern California Potter Woman (2015) presents its subject – a woman sitting over a piece of pottery – as a near-symmetrical array of coloured shapes and Cubist facets. The woman’s head is composed of planes which simultaneously evoke a tribal mask and expansive rural territory. The entire body becomes a kind of landscape – the woman’s jumper an amorphous yellow mound or an open sky, and her legs a pair of gateposts or pillars. Eisenman skirts on the threshold of cliché, intimating a stereotype (the bohemian artisan) while resisting the closure or specificity of a caricature. This openness of mood and import is again found in Untitled (2015), which imagines the character of a nervous insomniac. An anthropomorphic sequence of lilac circles is punctuated by a giant Cyclopean eye trained on an alarm clock. In its contours and palette, the figure recalls Picasso’s voluptuous portraits of Marie-Thérèse Walter, while the doleful face – flushed by a smear of pink – is at once pathetic and beguiling. Like the body, the space of the bedroom has flattened and simplified into a claustrophobic grid of coloured planes. An iPhone, captured in two-dimensional profile, injects a note of sleek, everyday modernity – a subtle hinge between the picture’s twin moods of abstraction and anxiety.


A similar mood of playful melancholy permeates a painting of a couple on a sofa in a grey-tinted interior, whose bulbous heads and noses sharpen both the humour and poignancy of the humdrum scene. By contrast, in Tea Party (2015), Eisenman uses the genre of the cartoon – an enduring point of reference in her work – to more specific ends, confronting the live and contentious topic of the right-wing Tea Party movement which has gathered force over the course of Barack Obama’s presidency. In this monochrome ink drawing, two American nationalists – a shuffling man in a suit and a cowboy propped up by a crutch – tussle over the US flag with a skeleton; Eisenman however withholds the punchline subscript we might expect. Marrying the aesthetic of political satire with a more diffuse sense of anxiety, posturing and menace, the work encapsulates the temporal flux and emotional density of her art. 


Nicole Eisenman (b. 1965, Verdun, France) graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1987. Solo exhibitions include her recent mid-career retrospective ‘Al-ugh-ories’ at the New Museum, New York (2016); ‘Dear Nemesis: Nicole Eisenman 1993 –2013’, Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis and Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (2014), and those at Berkeley Art Museum (2013) and Kunsthalle Zurich (2007). With A.L. Steiner, she is the co-founder of the queer/feminist curatorial initiative Ridykeulous.

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