Mario Prassinos: In Pursuit of an Artist

I had a very fruitful weekend visiting museums and walking around the crowded streets of old Karaköy and Pera. My most important discovery, this weekend, was Mario Prassinos, an artist of Istanbul origin, born in 1916. Never heard of him before! What a surprise!

Some details about him:

Born into an artistic family of Greek-Italian origin in Pera, Mario Prassinos moved to Nanterre, France, with his family when he was six years old. He never received an academic art education but influenced by Surrealism, which was the popular art movement in Europe at that time, he started to express himself in painting in Surrealist style.

Between 40s and 50s he had been worked on book illustrations, designing stage sets and costumes for the theatre. Through 60s he spent more time amidst nature in the south of France and the island of Spetses in Greece. In 70s and 80s, he focused on the Turkish Landscapes and Trees series. Having left behind powerful works in different genres and techniques, Prassinos died in 1985 at the age of 69.

For him painting was a game that contained intricacies and was a means for understanding the world, which lead him to present to viewers an original story woven with strong images. I like this explanation about him and his art!

In some of his works, there are very beautiful calligraphic forms, resembling Arabic or Chinese characters. You can see those mysterious ‘’sentences’’ in his ‘’ink on paper’’ works or even in his tapestries. I am sure you’ll love them as much as I did!

The Pera Museum states that, on the 100th anniversary of his birth, Mario Prassinos returns to Istanbul and his place of birth Pera, where the story began, to share, through this exhibition, the many things he took with him in his memories. 

The exhibition is at Pera Museum till August 14th.

Guest contributor İlknur Akman Erk