The island of Tinos is famously known as the birthplace of many Greek artists, and while there are many dedicated museums to be found among the windmills, one in particular stands out: the Costas Tsoclis Museum. Quite unusually, it is dedicated to a living painter, Costas Tsoclis, an artist whose practice is experimental, contemporary and ever influenced by the striking Aegean.
Costas Tsoclis creates art that clearly bears the stamp of the sea, its all encompassing presence, and its influence on the human mind. His representations show his intense personal connection to that simultaneously calm and menacing force of nature, and his works hold a particular and unique poetic expression.
“My wish is to bring the sea into the museum, but since I cannot do that, I bring in its image, not as it is, but as I remember it."
The spiritual relationship to the sea can be seen as an experience inherent to Greek identity, and it has been on Tsoclis’ mind more and more since 1979.
Tsoclis showed an early interest in the visual arts, assisting Stephanos Almaliotis, a traditional painter, in his workshop from age 12. But he decidedly followed his own path. After attending the Athens School of Fine Arts, under the tutelage of Yannis Moralis, he took off for Paris in 1960.
There he learned to blend the imaginary with the tangible. The painter’s Seascapes have a peculiar 3D quality, often through the use of trompe l’oeil, that lets rocks or clouds come to the foreground. Thanks to his use of mixed media, some elements even leap outside the picture frame. From the ‘90s until now, Tsoclis’ focus has been on monumental constructions and installations in which video and new media are used.
The Tsoclis Museum, Tinos, opened in 2011, and is dedicated to building a catalogue raisonné, a comprehensive archive of Costas Tsoclis’ work, so that the general public can come and discover it. Each year, one of the three areas of the museum changes to show a different period of his oeuvre.