This month the work of Hans Giesen can be seen at the Hilton Hotel in Athens, where a Dutch week is organised for 15-25 October in collaboration with the Dutch Embassy.
Hans was born in the south of Holland in 1942. He was living in Amsterdam in 1963 when he noticed the astonishment of his two year old daughter when she saw an apple hanging from a tree instead of lying on a shelf in a shop, so he decided that the family should live in the countryside for at least a few months of the year.
This decision resulted in Crete becoming their second home for many years. However, it was when a fellow artist invited them to stay at her home in Angheria that they fell in love with Paros - not too big or too small, an interesting landscape, not too far from Athens, and at that time, still quiet - perfect.
They rented a house in the mountain area of Maltes near to Aghios Theodoris Monastary and have lived there, summer and winter, since 1985, close to the local people.
He painted, inspired by the light, the land, and the hard and pure life of his neighbours - especially in winter, when company is needed and farmers work less. One neighbour, Nicolas, often came into his studio and watched him paint and looked at his work - without saying a word.
Then, one day Nicolas said to him, “Hans, what you do with your colours (chroma), I do with my ground (choma)”. He felt that this was the biggest compliment he ever received and, though he was a stranger in ‘this land of hard life and pure light’, he felt he was being accepted - perhaps now only half a stranger!
This is how Hans named his exhibition in the Gallery Titanium in Athens in 1988 - “Half a Stranger in the Land of Light”.
He has taken part in art fairs in Amsterdam, Groningen, Basel, Ghent and Cologne and had exhibitions in museums and galleries in Holland, Germany, Belgium, Portugal and Greece (To Trito Mati and Titanium in Athens).
A Dutch film director, Sjoerd Koopmans, made two videos about him and his work, which have been shown on Dutch television and recently two Dutch writers, Bernleff and Vogelaar, published articles about his work in their latest books.
Since 1st August you can visit Hans at his virtual studio at http://www.hansgiesen.nl.