A furor has been triggered since yesterday when the intention of Culture Minister Myrsini Zorba and the government to transfer the Costas Varotsos "Dromeas" (Runner), the emblematic sculpture of Athens that has been located outside the Hilton Hotel since 1994, in return for a statue of Alexander the Great, one of the kitch monstrosities that had flooded the neighboring capital in past years.
The artist himself, Kostas Varotsos, broke the news yesterday. As she said, Mrs Zorba called him last Friday at the ministry, where she announced her proposal. He refused saying that the sculpture belongs to the municipality of Athens and he held the copyright. The impression was that the Ministry of Culture had defiantly refuted Mr Varotsos, making a statement in which it argued that such a subject had never been discussed!
It is characteristic of what the artist said this morning in a show on SKAI television, expressing his sadness, shock and shame by both the suggestion made by Mrs Zorba and the fact that they tried to refute him and call him crazy!
What happened on Friday
Describing what was said during the appointment with Mrs Zorba last Friday, Kostas Varotsos recounted: "She invited me to the ministry to bring me this idea, which was hers and others, to move Dromeas to Skopje and transport here a statue of Alexander the Great. I replied, "I am ashamed."
The artist then recounted the answer he gave to Mrs Zorba: "I told her, you've lived the Dromeas story. We try to create benchmarks. The work was loved by the Greeks, you can not uproot it and take it elsewhere as a gift. "
He explained that he would never give such permission, "because I am conscious of the landmarks of a place and because I work on it, on these values. It is politically possible for such a proposal to have a meaning, but artistically it is a crime," he continued.
Mr Varotsos explained that he understood that this was the reason why their appointment was made, although they also discussed some other issues that concern artists.
How does Zorba's explain the refutation
The artist also said that it was not only that they brefuted the request, but also denied the meeting had taken place! As he said, they were both in the office, with the secretary of the minister standing outside, but "fortunately," he said, the children from the Biennale were there and they saw him.
To the question how he explains the resentment of Minister Myrsini Zorba, Kostas Varotsos answered in a comprehensive manner: "I have been flabbergasted because, as you understand, I can not explain it. It will be hard to make me out to be crazy because a lot of people know me and they know I'm not crazy! All that offended my whole moral fabric. It is very serious, because it is a lie. There is no worse way totry and fix things than by lying about it. "
"I was twice ashamed"
And Mr Varotsos continued: "I was twice ashamed, by the proposal and by the denial, which really characterizes the political situation we are currently experiencing. I am very distressed, I am shocked, I am not used to such things, I am not a politician, I do not want to deal with current issues. "
He ended, however, by alleviating the concern that Athenians may lose Dromeas, saying: "I assure the Athenians that Dromeas will stay in the center of Athens because a cloud of love has been raised to the work and to me and because to move it I will have to give my permission, to which I have the copyright. And I do not give it."