The creation of a “house” to host the great legacy left by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseas Elytis is in its final stages, thanks to the Ministry of Culture and Sports. The listed building and the two auxiliary buildings in Plaka, situated at the junction of Dioskouron and Polygnotou streets and owned by the Ministry of Culture, , are being restored by the Ministry’s services. The budget of the project amounts to 657,200 euros and its procurement auction is scheduled for the first quarter of 2021.
Spaces will be created in the building for both exhibiting and safeguarding the Elytis Archive as well as the important visual material which displays the great variety of his work. Simultaneously through photographs, texts, audio and visual material, the poet’s life is presented in relief and his office is restored with his personal belongings. The Elytis Archive is currently in the possession of Ioulita Iliopoulou who was also responsible for making the proposal to the Ministry of Culture in 2013. The designs for the building’s restoration and the study for the statics of the construction – offered by the architectural offices of A.Samaras and P.Panagiotopoulos- were approved by the Central Council of Modern Monuments in July 2013.
Minister of Culture and Sports Lina Mendoni said “Odysseas Elytis has honoured Greece and the Greek language with the treasure of his poetry sending it on ” the sloping backs of dolphins” to the ends of the world. Creating a place for his work’s study and promotion is the very least of tributes due to the great Greek poet. Present and future scholars and the general public will be able to know the power of Elytis’ work, study the value of his poetry in a space dedicated to his personality and life and the rich legacy he left to his country. We are deeply grateful to Ms Iliopoulou. Since 2014 the Ministry of Culture and Sport neglected to complete the dossier of studies and secure funding for realizing this project. It is our duty to complete the building’s restoration as soon as possible. We owe it to the poet and his legacy”.
Use of the spaces
Situated on the ground floor are the reception area, the space for the exhibition, information and presentation of important milestones in the poet’s life and work and his office. The exhibition space includes a timeline associated with events of the 20th century, first editions (52 books), manuscripts, paintings and collages by Elytis as well as works he personally loved and to which he has referred, indicative translations, audio documents, material on film and more.
An information area for the public is being set up on the first floor, as well as a multipurpose hall for lectures, conferences, educational programmes, music and poetry events, and a small cafe with a view of the Acropolis, Pnyx hill and Athens Observatory, also to function as the event hall ‘s foyer.
The basement will serve as a library and study, with books, magazines (approximately 1,000 titles), CDs , photographic, audio and film material and provided with computers. Scholars will have access to all publications, Greek and foreign, to tributes and books on the work of Elytis. Archive material will be kept In a special area, not to be exhibited, as well as work notebooks, press clippings, negatives of photos and works, posters, programmes, etc.