Museum of Contemporary Art
Vanitas. Stories of the hereafter
November 30, 2023 - March 3, 2024

Exhibition “Vanitas. Stories of the hereafter” 

MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art-Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections 

(TIF-Helexpo premises, Thessaloniki, Greece)

30 November 2023 – 03 March 2024

Opening: Thursday 30 November 2023 / 20:00


The skull, an archetypal and mystical symbol, pagan and Christian, and the different variations on the theme of vanity and death itself by 56 contemporary artists take center stage in the new exhibition-production of MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art “Vanitas. Stories of the hereafter” which will take place in Thessaloniki-Greece between 30 November 2023 and 03 March 2024 (opening: Thursday, 30 November 2023, 20:00).


The exhibition raises in artistic and cultural terms the most important existential question related to the creation of meaning and consciousness. More than 60 works of art invite us to reflect upon this most fundamental issue of human existence, that remains particularly popular in modern art. The works presented combine symbolic elements with visual values, their dramatic and macabre theme with humorous touches, cruelty with sensitivity, a dark dramatic atmosphere with a lighter, pop approach and iconography, a critical view with a subversive disposition and references to the history of art with contemporary reality. These visual compositions are open to multiple interpretations and readings, while varying widely in terms of their tone, style and overall aesthetic approach.


The skull is found not only in European art, but also in the art of many diverse cultures, where it is used as a visualisation of the cycle of life and death, the transience of worldly pleasures and desires, melancholy and repentance, the primal fear felt before an inescapable fate and impending final judgment. In other instances, the skull visualises power and imposition, violence, terror and horror, but also the delving and wandering into dark and uncharted territories of the realms of the unknown and the metaphysical. Meanwhile, in our contemporary world, it emerges and asserts itself as a powerful visual symbol, typically sanitized and divested of its allegorical implications, moral conceptualisations, religious parameters and emotional power – becoming an attractive, influential and anodyne image that appears everywhere, from the worlds of fashion, decoration and advertising, to pop and youth cultures.

The exhibition “Vanitas. Stories of the hereafter” will also present works by Ivan Kliun (from the Costakis Collection of MOMus-Museum of Modern Art), sketches and prints created by Moritz Retzsch, Gustav Klucis and Frans Masereel, as well as a print of Arnold Böcklin's "Isle of the Dead", based on the artist’s third version of the painting, produced in Moscow in the 1880s.


Participating artists: Giorgos Alexandridis, Nikita Alexeev, Angelos Antonopoulos, Annita Argyroiliopoulou, Manolis Baboussis, Mania Benissi, Emmanouil Bitsakis, Fani Boudouroglou, Alkis Boutlis, Pantelis Chandris, Dionisis Christofilogiannis, Kostas Christopoulos, Elli Chrysidou, Lydia Dambassina, Charalambos Dermatis, Martha Dimitropoulou, Rania Emmanouilidou, Stefanos Epitropou, Takis Germenis, Nikos Giavropoulos, Marion Inglessi, Nikomachi Karakostanoglou, Dimitris Karlaftopoulos, Aris Katsilakis, Antigoni Kavvatha, Viktor Koen, Despina Konstantinou, Nikos Lagos, Aristeidis Lappas, Ivan Lounguine, Alexandros Maganiotis, Dimitra Marouda, Panos Mattheou, Dimitris Merantzas, Christina Mitrentse, Fanouris Moraitis (Nourako), Katerina Moschou, Eleni Mylonas, Nikos Papadimitriou, Antonis Papadopoulos, Gioula Papadopoulou, Ilias Papailiakis, Natassa Poulantza, Lia Psoma, Ifigeneia Sdoukou, Miltos Skouras, Dimitris Tataris, Nikos Tranos, Giorgos Tserionis, Kostas Tsolis, Vasilis Vasilakakis, John Vassos, Fotis Vazakas (Dreamfacta), Christos Venetis, Babis Venetopoulos, Andreas Voussouras, Ira Waldron


Curated by

Yannis Bolis, Art historian, MOMus Curator 


Open guided tours (in greek language) with the admission ticket

24 February at 12:00

29 February at 18.00 

02 & 03 March at 12:00

Book your place by calling (Tuesday-Sunday 12:00-17:00, tel +30 2310240002)