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MOMus-Thessaloniki Museum of Photography // Exhibition “Nelly’s”

Female dancers in front of the Parthenon, musicians and dancers from Crete, peasant women from Ioannina, ladies from New York and Athens, the politician Eleftherios Venizelos and the poet Kostis Palamas are just some of the protagonists of the photographic lens of Elly Sougioultzoglou-Seraidari (1899-1998), well-known as Nelly’s in the exhibition under the same title which will be presented at the MOMus-Thessaloniki Museum of Photography (Warehouse A’, Pier A’, Thessaloniki port) from 23 February to 28 April 2024. Focusing on the three cities in which Nelly’s formed her photographic gaze, the exhibition attempts to present her multidimensional work from the years of her apprenticeship in Dresden in the early 1920s, her arrival in Athens and her dynamic presence in the city’s photographic events until 1966 when she retired after twenty-seven years of tireless work in New York.

The exhibition is part of “Nelly’s” retrospective exhibition organized by the Benaki Museum on 2023 in Athens, in commemoration of the twenty-five years after the photographer’s death, with the aim of reintroducing the artist to contemporary audiences.

Nelly’s work was particularly important in the interwar period, exercising many types of photography and having a particular impact on the development of the medium in Greece in the 20th century. After her stay in the United States for almost three decades, her work began to be re-evaluated from the 1970s.

The exhibition consists of 185 vintage prints, produced by the photographer herself and selected from her voluminous archive in order to represent the different aesthetic trends she adopted during her forty-five years of working with the medium and the numerous photographic techniques she experimented with. Fifty-three contemporary digital prints made from her original negatives are added to these works in order to fill in some narrative gaps. 

The photographic equipment Nelly used as a student in Dresden but also as a professional photographer in Athens during the interwar period and in New York after the war is also exhibited in order to document her deep knowledge of photographic technology. The exhibition also includes archival material, such as albums, original publications, periodicals and postcards, which altogether help visitors understand the ways in which her photographic works were used at the time. The exhibition also includes Nelly’s painting on porcelain, an activity she developed alongside photographic work during her stay in America, as well as original, archival material -costumes, masks- from the Delphic Festival of 1927 and 1930. 

More information here