“The Night, Sleep”, “Spent” and “Strange Switch” are part of an exhibition celebrating the work of George Tourkovasilis that opens simultaneously at Radio Athènes, Akwa Ibom and Melas Martinos. They present a retrospective survey of the multifaceted work of photographer, writer, and poet George Tourkovasilis, composed in three chapters. This 3-venue show brings together for the first time more than 250 photographic works—portraits of lovers, friends, and models taken in his home studio; young motorcyclists in Keratsini; punk rock and new wave concerts in Athens in the 70s and 80s; people in the street, and interiors.
Known to a wider audience as the author and illustrator of The Rock Diaries [Τα Ροκ Ημερολόγια] (Odisseas, 1984), the archetypal book of the local underground music scene of the 70s and 80s in Greece, Tourkovasilis was also the personal photographer and longtime assistant of Yannis Tsarouchis, who hired him in 1969 in Paris to photograph models and scenes to use for his paintings. A graduate of the Law School of Athens, with an unfulfilled dream of directing (Costas Gavras was his mentor from 1962 to 1967), in 1968, Tourkovasilis left his postgraduate studies and ambitions of directing and moved to Paris where he settled for the next ten years.
In addition to his collaboration with Tsarouchis, Tourkovasilis worked professionally as a portrait photographer, recording Tsarouchis’ models outside of work, and Greek artists at the Cité Universitaire, such as Silia Daskopoulou and Periklis Korovesis. Of particular interest are photographs he made capturing personal moments with his partners and friends, as well as a series of photographs that toy with the line between posed fashion photography and play. Tourkovasilis returned to Greece in August 1976. In the spring of 1980, the Photographic Center of Athens presented his first solo exhibition entitled “Faces and Spaces” [Πρόσωπα και Χώροι], which kindled a years-long collaboration with Giorgos Chronas and Odos Panos Publications, for which he often wrote articles and contributed photographs. His collaboration with Chronas on the book Motorcycle Rites [Τελετές Μοτοσυκλέτας] (Odisseas, 1981) proved a pivotal point in Tourkovasilis’ career, seeing him compose a photographic portrait of the races between young motorcyclists in Keratsini.