In 1930, at the age of 16, Α. Tassos (Anastasios Alevizos, 1914-1985) enrolled at the Athens School of Fine Arts. Two years later he joined the printmaking studio of Y. Kefallinos to study next to him and dedicate himself thenceforth to the “Art of the Masses”. An active member of the Greek Communist Party (KKE) from a young age, he illustrated with unswerving dedication the daily hardships of the working class, social struggles and the National Resistance Movement. The scene depicted in his 1932 woodcut, portraying the workers’ intense stride as they walk to their workplace, is one of the most austere, meaningful and innovative representations of the daily lives of industrial workers in interwar Greece.
Instead of reproducing the usual imagery of toil and impoverishment, he deploys the stark contrast between white and black volumes, the repetition of forms, geometric abstraction, the diagonal structure of the composition, and –above all– the lucidity of youth, to create an insightful, modernist representation of the expectation of the lower classes to claim their historic role and to walk towards the future with dignity. The legs’ shadows on the ground organize the horizontal axis of the composition, infusing the scene with a sense of cinematic drama.
His woodcut Every morning evokes a connotation with the filmmaker Harun Farocki’s (1944-1914) installation, consisting of scenes from films produced during a period of eleven decades, in which workers are shown departing from factories after the end of their shifts. Although the two works employ different forms of expression –a woodcut is a snapshot, that is a static, 2-dimensional image, whereas the installation synthesizes a multitude of moving images in sequence– they both embody the historical time of modernity, presenting the determined stride of human bodies in constant movement.
MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art-Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections