Iannis Nikou,is one of the most important Greek painters and main representative of the School of “Magic Realism”.
In his painting ,the artist has developed a personal and recognizable identity by adding Surrealistic characteristcs –influenced by the first period of his work-to the magical and multifarious world of his painting.
He studied painting at the School of Fine Arts in Athens, from 1965 up to 1970,with a special scholarship. At the same time he attended the Athens Scool of Theatre and Cinema where he studied acting and scenography. Furthermore during this period, he completed his classical guitar lessons. He also worked on frescoes ,mosaic and did the scenery and costumes for theatrical productions .
Among other distinctions , he was chosen to represent Greece in the E.E.C. exhibition entitled “150 Young Painters of the Community”.
His work was presented in the film “Surrealism in Greek Painting”, which won the first prize in the short classification, at the Thessaloniki Film Festival and was mostly referring in the painters first period of work (up to 1988)
During the period (1985-1991)whilst the painter was living and working in Italy, he was awarded a prize for his work by the Umbria Region and the Ministry of Tourism.
The International Art Committee of Lugano bestowed on him the title of “Magister”.Following that event,his paintings were included in the special edition of “Protagonists of Italian Art”. He also took part in the 7th European Biennale, in Rome, where he won the Drawing prize,for his”Drawings with pencil”Cycle.
As a recognition of his important presence in the artistic scene he was also awarded in the City of Genoa, by a special UNICEF prize.
In 2016,three of his paintings belonging to the “Biblical Cycle”,were printed in silver coins ,in a special collective edition by the Cook Island and had a unique success.
He was honoured with one man shows ,by the Municipality of the City of Athens (2009) as well as by the Municipality of Thessaloniki(2004)
In 2017,in a honourary exhibition in the “Olympic Gallery of the Municipality of Maroussi”(Athens) ,he presented his first sculpture,based on his Cycle “Abstraction”and the painting “Evolution”.
In the work of Iannis Nikou , one can easily notice a particularity not usual in the contemporary art scene: the large thematic. His painting is divided in units,depinted parallely at the same period, such as : the “ Romantic Cycle”, the “Allegorical Cycle”, “ The World of Angels”, the “Biblical Cycle”, the “Medieval Cycle”, the“World of the Masks”,the “Mythological Cycle “, the “Historical Cycle”,”Dancing and Music”, the ” Seascapes and Seabattles”, the ” Modern Cycle and the“Abstraction” , “ The Portraits” and finally, the “drawings with pencil”. For this diversity and the element of Phantasy in his painting ,he was called by historians of Art ,“Spielberg of painting”.
Furthermore a prominent element of Nikou’s artistic identity, is his preference to express himself through paintings of big dimensions, (of 8×2 meters of ex.) which give him the opportunity to unfold his artistic power and his special skill in design. Thus, he could “narrate”pictorially in his “Historical Cycle”,taking as an example the painting “Waterloo”(350x190cm-2005),a story ,an historical fact with such poetry and accuracy at the same moment! His large compositions,of 8mx2m. for ex., in Mythological and Historical Cycles as well as in the Abstraction, present a special interest from the Historians of Art and the Art Collectors,being an originality for the actual Art scene.
At this point, must be mentioned Nikou’s English – Irish origin, from his mother’s side .It must be said that she was a painter too,so he started to paint from his very childhood and attended his first professional exhibition at the age of fifteen.We can notice the influence of this origin in the painter’s work and especially in the “Medieval ”,the “ Allegorical and the “ Romantic’’ Cycles, as well.
As we can easily notice from his compositions,drawing holds a position of prime importance in Nikou’s work, who has been repeatedly praised by Art historians for his mastery in drawing. His drawings are complete works in pencil and has been written about them: “vibrating, sensitive, moving, the drawing of Iannis Nikou, creates a solid basis for his oil paintings, proclaiming him at the same time, a grand master of the design ( Dr. Dora Rogan, Art Historian, the “Art and Living” magazin, Athens 1996).
He has, so far, presented his work in many one man shows, in Athens, Thessaloniki, Brussels, Milan, Brescia, Genoa, Rome,Toronto,Basel, Paris, Spoleto, Todi, Rome, Turin, Savona, Malta, New York, Toronto, Antwerp and Nicosia. His work is mentioned in dictionaries and Art books. I.Nikou’s paintings are exhibited in Museums and private collections in Greece,in Italy,Germany,U.S.A,Cyprus and so forth…
He left Italy and returned to Greece in order to realize an old dream of his,to live and create close to Nature.
In 2016 , the non profit Association “Iannis Nikou Painting Center”was established on the purpose to preserve and present internationally,the important and multifarious Iannis Nikou’s work (including more than 3.000 oil paintings and drawings).
In 2019 the Center inaugurated the opening of a permanent exhibition of Iannis Nikou’s painting,in Munich(…)
In“Iannis Nikou Painting Center”,for the first time in Germany, will be shown paintings from various“Cycles”of Nikou’s work so to give the possibility to the visitors to the painter’s Magical world.
And as it was written about him:
“…thus as the Ancient author Lucian did, Iannis Nikou with his painting,is creating dreams for every each one of us, in the name of Art…”(Mauro Bocci,Historian of Art,Genoa-Italy)