What’s On in Athens – Our 2022 Agenda

Outstanding exhibitions and exciting performances fill the city's cultural calendar.

Dark Days

16/12/2021 to 29/01/2022

In 1939, just before the world entered one of the darkest periods in modern history, filmmaker Jean Renoir depicted in his “The Rules of the Game ” the moral degradation of the bourgeoisie as a harbinger of a new, painful era. Ten artists comment on this film through ten artworks, engaging in a dialogue with one of the greatest masterpieces of the Seventh Art.


“The Rules of the Game,” The Project Gallery, 3 Normanou, Monastiraki

Master of abstraction

16/12/2021 to 13/02/2022

Sean Scully, perhaps the most important representative of abstract painting today, returns to Athens ten years after his last exhibition. This retrospective includes 103 works – oils, aquarelles, acrylics, sketches and an imposing sculpture – from throughout his 60-year career.


“Sean Scully: Passenger. A Retrospective,” Benaki Museum–Pireos 138, 138 Pireos & Andronikou, benaki.org

A new Nutcracker

17, 19, 24, 26, 29, 31/12/2020, & 02/01/2022

“Dreams and reality are sweetly entangled in Klara’s fragile childhood universe. She’ll see the most wonderful dreams in the embrace of the Nutcracker, but also the most frightening nightmares,” says the director of the Greek National Opera, Konstantinos Rigos. Just as in other classic works such as “Swan Lake” and “Don Quixote,” the Greek choreographer finds fertile ground in this Christmas tale to showcase the darker – and less often explored – aspects while also connecting it to the present day. Costumes are designed by Greek fashion house Deux Hommes.


“The Nutcracker,” Greek National Opera–Stavros Niarchos Hall, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, 364 Syngrou, Kallithea, nationalopera.gr

The visitor

From 17/12/2021 to 27/02/2022

Rena Papaspyrou, hailed as one of Greece’s greatest postwar artists, continues to be fascinated by the wear of time on matter. On the ground floor of the Onassis Cultural Center, on a corner wall she designed especially for this show, she presents an installation made up of pieces detached from the wall of a derelict house in the Athens neighborhood of Pangrati. The building’s exterior walls reveal traces of graffiti, and otherwise unseen wall layers show stratification and other marks accumulated over time, as well as evidence of the process used to detach the sections. The result is an arbitrary new wall invading a “normal,” carefully designed space.


“Vryaxidos 11 and Aspasias: Images Behind Matter,” Onassis Cultural Center – Stegi, 107 Syngrou Avenue, www.onassis.org

Melodic minimalism


The Philip Glass Ensemble, the experimental orchestra the composer created in 1968 to perform his works, is coming to Athens to present “Music in Eight Parts” (1970), among others. Glass was forced to sell this particular work due to debts, and it had since been considered lost.


“Music in Eight Parts & Other Works,” Greek National Opera–Stavros Niarchos Hall, Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, 364 Syngrou, Kallithea, snfcc.org

Human Moths

22/12/2021 to 16/01/2022

A choreographer who’s not really sure what he wants to say when he arrives for rehearsals begins with an idea, and the performance begins to deviate from that initial concept. “I reserve the right to change everything at the last minute. If I speak to you, I will most definitely mislead you or give away spoilers. What can we really say about intentions? Art is doing,” says Dimitris Papaioannou, one of the most visionary storytellers in the performing arts. The new performance is inspired by the way in which moths use a distant source of light for orientation.


“Transverse Orientation,” Onassis Stegi, 107 Syngrou, onassis.org

The Ultimate Beauty

To 16/01/2022

“In the journey of words, some still shine faintly while others have taken on another identity – and so in modern Greek the word ‘kallos’ has been mistakenly replaced with beauty,” notes Professor Nicholas C. Stampolidis on an exhibition that presents all aspects of ancient Greek kallos, a notion that includes inner beauty as well as our outer appearance. Featuring 300 antiquities from Greece, Italy and the Vatican, it examines what we consider beautiful through this particular prism.


“Kallos: The Ultimate Beauty,” Museum of Cycladic Art, 4 Neofytou Douka / Vasilissis Sofias & 1 Irodotou, cycladic.gr

Street art

To 20/01/2022

The Bernier-Eliades Gallery in Athens presents a new solo exhibition by the German photographer and painter Philip A. Zimmermann. With clear influences from urban art and graffiti, Zimmermann conveys our rapidly changing world through his artworks. For many years graffiti and tagging were considered vandalism, though today it has become more accepted as an honest reflection of social trends. “Street art is a significant criticism of the system and the status quo. This struggle must be guided by the younger generation, instead of having them waste their years away in front of a screen.”


Bernier-Eliades Gallery, 11 Eptachalkou, bernier-eliades.com

Rewriting Identity

To 20/01/2022

Women posing seductively in erotic French postcards from the 1950s, Las Vegas dancers swaying gracefully as the lens captures them for adverts, fashion models gazing sensually at the camera: all these women are present in Irini Karayannopoulou’s work. She draws on the pages of vintage magazines and adverts, and then prints the images, enlarges them, combines them using collage and draws on their faces again, until they acquire a new identity of sorts. “The Greek artist negotiates the manipulation of women in her own non-apologetic way,” comments curator Efi Falida.


“Irini Karayannopoulou / Hotberg,” Antonopoulou Gallery, 20 Aristofanous, Psyrri, aaart.gr

A People’s tradition

To 03/02/2022

Theofilos is the tradition of a country and of a people,” states Takis Mavrotas, curator of a high-profile exhibition on the Greek folk artist Theophilos Hatzimichail. Approximately 95 precious artworks (on cloth, wood, pieces from wall paintings and metallic surfaces) reveal the visionary world of an artist who would have remained unknown had his work not been championed by publisher Stratis Eleftheriadis (Tériade).


“Theofilos: The Evzone of Painting,” B & M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music, 9 Vasilissis Sofias & 1 Merlin, thf.gr

Greek surrealism

10/02 to 05/06/2022

“I do not believe in the school of Surrealism. But it suits me. What I have tried to do is update it with Greek elements, add a hint of Greek metaphysics, and elevate it from the simple grimace [Western Europeans] have stopped at. I think Surrealism today means anything that people view with passion.” On the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the death of the great Surrealist painter and poet Nikos Engonopoulos, the Theocharakis Foundation is organizing a major exhibition of his works.


“Nikos Engonopoulos: Orpheus of Surrealism,” B & M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music, 9 Vasilissis Sofias & 1 Merlin, thf.gr

A taste of childhood

to 27/02/2022

Leaving behind Constantinople and the family bakery, and arriving in Piraeus in 1922, Evangelos Papadopoulos quickly realized that biscuits were not really well known in Greece. The history of a company that many Greeks associate with their childhood unfolds in this great anniversary exhibition.


“Papadopoulou 100: The Story of the Company, 1922-2022,” Benaki Museum–Pireos 138, 138 Pireos & Andronikou, benaki.org

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