On August 2, 1913 the French-Swiss photographer Fred Boissonnas, on a Greek expedition with his compatriot art historian Daniel Baud-Bovey, ascended mount Olympus for the first recorded time. They were helped by the experienced Christos Kakkalos from Litochoro, who was familiar with the mountain from a very young age and in whose honour the shelter at the eastern end of the Muses Plateau, at an altitude of 2,650 meters, was given his name.

This expedition was part of one of the many trips made by Boissonnas in Greece from 1903 to 1933, photographs from which are included in the exhibition with the title “Fred Boissonnas and the Mediterranean. A photographic Odyssey”, opened last Thursday at the MOMus-Museum of Photography of Thessaloniki by the Deputy Minister of Culture, responsible for Contemporary Culture, Nikolas Giatromanolakis.

Olympus, Mount Athos, Paramythia in Epirus, Parnassos are just some of the images, 110 in all, through which the visitor traces the development of Fred Boissonnas’ photographic vision, the sources of his inspiration and his long-term endeavour  to elevate photography to the status  of fine art.

Estelle Sohier, associate professor at the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Geneva, who is the exhibition’s general curator, said at the press conference, that apart from the different aspects of Boissonnas’ photographic work, ” it also sheds light onto what Greece offered him in the course of his career”.

The press conference was attended by Boissonas’ great-granddaughter, Cléo Borel-Boissonnas, who also loves Greece and visits it often. As she told  the Athens and Macedonia News Agency she was particularly moved when she found herself in Ouranoupoli, gazing across towards Mount Olympus, in the same spot her great-grandfather had been at the beginning of the last century

Visitors to the exhibition at the Museum of Photography are welcomed by the photograph of Fred Boissonnas’ self-portrait from 1900  which is followed by his journeys across the world, from the Alps to the Sinai desert, all passing through the Mediterranean and intersecting there.

As pointed out by Iro Katsaridou, director of the MOMus-Museum of Photography of Thessaloniki, this exhibition is “a preview of a retrospective exhibition of our own collection of 13,000 photographic items from the Boissonnas archive”.

The exhibition is co-curated by the art historian Areti Leopoulou and is a production of the MOMus-Museum of Photography of Thessaloniki/Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, with the cooperation of the Department of Geography and Environment of the University of Geneva, the Library of Geneva and the Musée d’art et d’histoire de Genève and with the assistance of the Central Library of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

“Weaving manifestations through works of the MOMus collections”

Mr. Giatromanolakis also opened the exhibition “Weaving manifestations through works of the MOMus collections”, in the Experimental Arts Center in the Harbour .

For the first time in the history of MOMus, works from all three MOMus Museums (Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Contemporary Art and Museum of Photography) make up a new original production, which attempts to redefine part of the collections, but also of the history of art and to highlight multiple aspects of artistic creation with reference to thread, fabric and weaving processes.

The exhibition curated by Thouli Misirloglou, deputy director of the MOMus- Experimental Arts Center and Domna Gounari, curator of the same institution, starts from the period of modernism through works of the Russian avant-garde and encompasses contemporary artistic production from 1960 to the present.

As Ms. Misirloglou mentioned, it includes works by diverse artists, who follow tradition more like a memory  using new data.

The MOMus museums will be open during The International Fair of Thessaloniki and the ticket for visitors will be reduced by 50%.

The need for approximately 70 additional members of staff and building upgrades

The delay in installing the new board of directors of MOMus appointed in July, had the effect of delaying the tender procedures for the three heads of museums MOMus – Museum of Modern Art – Kostakis Collection, MOMus – Museum of Contemporary Art and MOMus – Center for Experimental Arts, but also for the new general manager.

These outstanding issues, as well as the need for additional staff, were referred to by the new chairman of the MOMus Board of Directors, Epaminondas Christofilopoulos, pointing out that currently 35 people work for the Organization, while 104 are needed.

Mr. Christofilopoulos also referred to the Organization’s building problems, noting that although the Museums are housed in beautiful buildings, they have great infrastructure needs, as was seen from the recent extreme weather conditions, with the heavy rainfall causing problems, without any recorded disasters in art works, at the MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art inside the The International Fair of Thessaloniki.

Moreover, one of the goals of the new MOMus Board of Directors is to put museums “on the agenda of people involved in tourism”, as the president of MOMus said, while emphasis will also be placed on the development of the museum shops through which apart from more income being brought in to the Museums, Greek artists and craftspeople will also be given a foothold, as well as cooperation with research organizations.