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Pioneering Greeks: Iliana Fokianaki, Founder of ‘State of Concept’ Non-profit Gallery

Welcome to “Pioneering Greeks”, the weekly column of GTP Headlines, which highlights the Greeks that stand out for their creative thinking in the business world. “Pioneering Greeks” is a collaboration between and Greek Travel Pages (GTP).

This week we introduce Iliana Fokianaki, the founder and curator of the “State of Concept”, the first non-profit gallery in Greece.

Iliana originally had gone to London to pursue a career as an artist but then realized that she preferred art theory, rather than creation per se. Her next step was to study for an MA in Arts Criticism and Management at City University. In 2005, after collaborating with galleries and art institutions in London, she returned to Athens and began working as a curator, art consultant and writer for online and print media.

Iliana first had the idea of opening a non-profit gallery in 2008, but was unsure whether to remain in Greece or move abroad once again. “State of Concept” was finally inaugurated in January 2014, focusing on artists of medium range who are newcomers.

Being a non profit gallery means that “State of Concept” is not actually involved in sales, but acts as an intermediate only bringing in touch potential buyers and the artists directly, without requiring any fee or commission from either side. So far, it has been supported by donations from institutions such as the Greek branch of the British Outset Foundation, the Danish Arts Foundation, the Pro Helvetia and New York’s Artis Foundation.

Apart from representing artists and hosting exhibitions, the gallery also offers free educational services to art school students and graduates who want to break into the art market or need guidance in finding the right direction to continue their studies.

A curator herself, Iliana Fokianaki extends an open invitation to other Greek or foreign curators who are interested in collaborating with the gallery, offering carte blanche to interesting projects.

“State of Concept” plans on hosting four exhibitions a year and already looks into presenting exhibitions abroad.

* The video was shot at  ‘State of Concept’ during the exhibition ‘Panda Sex’, curated by Tom Morton, featuring the artists: Andreas Angelidakis, Ronald Cornelissen, Keith Farquhar, Brian Griffiths, Sophie Jung, Scott King, Natalia LL, Aliki Panagiotopoulou, Philomene Pirecki, Mary Ramsden, Adam Thirlwell, Alexander Tovborg. The colours of the artworks might appear different in the video than in reality. We would like to thank the artists for understanding.

Inspired by the dynamism and creativity of the Greek entrepreneurial spirit, LoveGreece was founded in 2013 as an initiative to boost and promote the country’s image abroad by profiling talented and successful Greeks. With their ethos and vision, Greece’s entrepreneurs and professionals are an important aspect of the country worth highlighting to the world. LoveGreece is powered by Gina Mamidaki, the founder of the G & A Mamidakis Foundation.


Εμπνευσμένο από τον δυναμισμό και τη δημιουργικότητα του ελληνικού επιχειρηματικού πνεύματος, το LoveGreece ιδρύθηκε το 2013 σαν μια πρωτοβουλία για την ενίσχυση και την προώθηση της εικόνας της χώρας στο εξωτερικό, παρουσιάζοντας ταλαντούχους Έλληνες με εξωστρεφή νοοτροπία. Οι Έλληνες επιχειρηματίες αποτελούν σημαντικό παράγοντα της χώρας που αξίζει να παρουσιαστεί σε όλο τον κόσμο. Το LoveGreece υποστηρίζεται από την Τζίνα Μαμιδάκη, Πρόεδρο του Ιδρύματος Γ. & Α. Μαμιδάκη.


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