“With calculation and with a dream” the exhibition was set up– a tribute to the life and work of Yiannis Kostopoulos at the Benaki Museum, entitled “a man of many talents”, which is presented from February 28 until May 12, 2024 and focuses on the contribution of the innovative banker and in areas beyond banking. On the occasion of the three-year anniversary of his death in 2021, the Ioannou F. Kostopoulos Foundation honors its long-time President by organizing, in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, this exhibition which is hosted in the Spyridon and Eurydice Kostopoulos Hall to which the Museum gave the name of Yannis Kostopoulos’ parents in 2000, honoring him for his generosity and support.

As the architect-museologist Erato Koutsoudakis, who designed it, stated in today’s (Tuesday) press conference, the exhibition draws its inspiration from the verse of Dionysios Solomos which was loved by Yiannis Kostopoulos and had even given it as the title of a book on the history of Alpha bank. “I wondered why such an obsession with this verse and studying the accounts of people who knew him from various fields I realized that it characterizes the essence of his personality” he noted.

“I’m not sure if it’s better for a designer to have met Yannis Kostopoulos or not. I know to tell you, however, that I was very troubled by how we could set up an exhibition for someone who is not a creator with the imprints he has left behind. However, now I think that Giannis Kostopoulos was a creator. He was a creator of conditions, which is possibly the most important kind of creator, because it allows all the rest of us to be able to create in the subject that we want and in which we are good”, emphasized Mrs. Koutsoudaki.

The director of the Ioannou F. Kostopoulos Foundation, Hector Verykios, referred to G. Kostopoulos’ multi-year and multi-level relationship with the Benaki Museum. Giorgis Magginis, scientific director of the Benaki Museum, said that this is an “unusual” exhibition dedicated to a man “of action, but also a man quite private according to the testimonies of people who knew him well, which succeeds with a elegant, abstract and at the same time very human way to highlight the innovative banker and man through his very important work and through the things he himself loved, such as the sea”.

Mrs. Koutsoudaki explained what the exhibition tries to highlight “this conflicting element of the very private with the public helping the visitor to gradually discover G. Kostopoulos starting with what we probably all know about him – that he was a successful banker because he introduced from a very early age innovative systems that now seem self-evident in our daily lives and in our dealings with banks, but then they were not was, presented the new corporate identity of Alpha Bank, gave space to modern architecture for the bank’s buildings, highlighted and supported Greek artists and archaeologists and, at the urging of his sister Annis, created this great Alpha Bank art collection”.

As he told the report, a scaffolding was erected and wrapped in a veil that has a dual function. “Scaffolding in the first place means that you have a very strong and structured skeleton, and the veil ensures you the following two very interesting things: on the one hand, you have the feeling that something dreamy will happen, which you don’t expect, on the other hand, it always keeps a safe distance, something that Yannis Kostopoulos liked very much and does not allow you to have the illusion that you really know something even if you see it in front of you.”

The exhibition, whose title refers to the first verse of the Odyssey, is structured in five sections, highlights the diverse interests and multiple activities of Yannis Kostopoulos and is structured accordingly.

In the first section, “Preamble”, the chronology of his life and work is presented in each field. It is complemented by the screening of eight short excerpts of interviews with people who knew him. The second section, “Banker”, gathers evidence, works of art and architectural models of the Bank’s buildings, which represent his choices and demonstrate his pioneering criteria in areas that built the image of an innovative bank, with material from the Historical Archive and the Collection Alpha Bank Artwork.

The third section, “Culture and society”, presents the support of cultural sectors, such as the strengthening of archaeological excavations, the promotion of Byzantine culture through international exhibitions, the establishment of the Ioannou F. Kostopoulos Foundation (1979), as well as the aid to young artists, through works from the collection of the Ioannou F. Kostopoulos Foundation. Also practical help to society, with examples of the nursery school in Kalamata (1994) and the creation of the Friends of the National Garden (2005).

The fourth section, “Love for the Ancient Coin”, brings together a selection of coins from the Alpha Bank Coin Collection and their accompanying stories. Finally, in the “Sailing” section there are documents and photographs from the sailing races, its reference to Homer and the voyages of Odysseus. In this section, a piece of music specially written by the composer Thodoris Oikonomou to emphasize Yannis Kostopoulos’s love for the sea can be heard discreetly.

The catalog accompanying the exhibition, edited by Irini Oratis, is available in Greek and English with texts by: Petros Themelis, Kosta Kosti, Polyxenis Adam-Veleni, Dimitras Tsagaris, Maria Vassilaki, Irini Oratis, Katerina Koskina, Hector Verykiou, Dafni Kostopoulou .