Returning from their studies in Bologna in 1977, the artists Pino Pandolfini and Dimitra Siaterli founded the ATHENS ENGRAVING CENTRE – PANDOLFINI & SIATERLI (KHA), in order to promote the art of engraving in Greece and its potential.
Their experiences in a city with a long tradition in the field of engraving (especially in relation to technique and experimentation), were decisive for the creation and journey of the KHA. From the beginning of the workshop, renowned Greek painters and sculptors wanted to test their skills in engraving, and to discover new ways of artistic expression; whilst established engravers trusted the KHA to print their works. Many important collaborations were also held with artists from both Greece and abroad, through exhibitions, seminars and courses that were systematically organised from the 1990s onwards.
The first collaboration of the KHA was with Vasso Katraki in 1977 in the exhibition “Woman in Resistance”, held at the Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Athens. The following year began an important collaboration with Alekos Fasianos and The Zoumboulaki Gallery. Shortly afterwards, collaborations with artists such as Giannis Tsarouchis, Giorgos Moschos, Costas Grammatopoulos, Christos Kapralos and Hariklia Hadjisavva-Fotiou were established.
Since 1980, the KHA began a period of meetings/symposiums, inviting artists to engrave and print their works in the workshop; improvising and conversing together, but also with like-minded members of the public. In 1981, in collaboration with Assantour Baharian of the Artistic Cultural Centre “Hour”, three art albums with 15 etchings were created and exhibited, included within were texts engraved by the artists Tonia Nikolaidis, Chronis Botsoglou and Sarantis Karavouzis.
In 1985 Panagiotis Gravvalos collaborated with the KHA to create a series of copperplates that were presented in a solo exhibition at the Gallery “New Forms”. The same year the KHA participated in the Arte Fierra of Bologna, with the artists Visani, Gravvalos, Drakouli, Ziaka, Karavouzi, Milio, Botsoglou, Nikolaidis, Pandolfini, Siaterli, Tetsis and Fasianos.
In 1988, the collaboration with the International Centre of Engraving of Venice (Centro Internazionale della Grafica di Venezia) began, with the organization of two exhibitions. Firstly, in the gallery “Segno Grafico” of the International Centre of Engraving of Venice (1989) -with the support of the John F. Costopoulos Foundation – and with the participation of Gravvalos, Ziaka, Botsoglou, Nikolaidis, Pandolfini, Sarelakou, Siaterli, Speranza and Fasianou. Secondly, at the “Centro Culturale Alba Baletra” in Rome (1989). A year later, the exhibition “Maestri della Scuola Internazionale di Grafica di Venezia” took place, first in Athens and then in Thessaloniki, with the support of the Italian Educational Institute. Andrea Pagnano, Lino Pirone, Rina Riva, Nicola Sene, Robert Simon, Franco Vecchiet, Lina Bergstein, Nino Canistraci Binomi, Luca Crippa, Matilde Dolcetti, Carla Horat, Riccardo Licata and Mariella Marini all participated. Following this, the KHA collaborated with the Ioannis F. Costopoulos Foundation to create events in Greece and abroad, with the artists Arfara, Gravvalos, Ziaka, Kousta, Botsoglou, Nikolaidis, Pandolfini, Sarelakou, Siaterli, Sperantza and Psychopedis.
In 1992, the KHA participated in the international exhibition “Euroamericana de Grabado” organized by the art theorist Doroteo Arnais in La Coruna, Spain. In 1993, works by Arfaras, Botsoglou, Gravvalos, Maria Ziakaand, Kousta, Tonia Nikolaidi, Pandolfini and Siaterli at The Galleria del “Circolo Artistico” in Bologna, are exhibited.
In 1994, in collaboration with the Circolo degli Artisti of Faenza (Italy), the exhibition “Identità Elleniche” was organized and a catalogue published under the supervision of Giuliano Serafini. The exhibition was held with the sponsorship of the Ionian Bank, the I.F. Costopoulos Foundation, The Ministry of Culture, the Municipality of Athens, the Region of Emilia Romagna, the Prefecture of Ravenna and the Municipality of Faenza.
In 1997, an exhibition of artists of the KHA was held in collaboration with Costas Seretis at the Monohoros Gallery.
In 2000, the publishing collaboration with the Frysira Museum began based on the works of both Greek and foreign artists.
In 2004, the first exhibition of KHA students takes place, and in 2006 follows the collaboration with the “Corfu Gallery” for the publication of works by Spyros Alamanos. A year later, the exhibition of the seminar alumni was organized at the “Technohoros” of the Union of Greek Engravers.
In December 2007, in collaboration with the Italian Educational Institute and the Union of Greek Engravers, a lecture by Professor Bruno Bandini of the School of Fine Arts, Padova, Urbino and Ravenna on “New trends in contemporary Italian engraving” is organised.
From November 2008 to March 2009, a large retrospective exhibition of engravings from the KHA collection and a related catalogue was organized, in collaboration with the Gallery of the Municipality of Athens, curated by Art Historian Nelli Kyriazi. The exhibition carried out parallel activities, such as the discussion on “Painters and Sculptors in Engraving”. Participation included Chronis Botsoglou, Theodorou and Dimitra Siaterli; as well as Art Historians Nellis Kyriazi, Irini Orati and Dimitris Pavlopoulos.
In 2014, a long-term and productive collaboration began with the OTE Telecommunications Museum. Together with the museum’s Head of Education, Stacy Ventura, a series educational programs and events are implemented, exploring the relationship between modern communication and etching process.
In 2015, in collaboration with the Historical Archive of the National Bank, two exhibitions were organized at the Diomedes Palace as part of the International Museum Day: “The Engraving Vocabularies” and “On Archives”, with texts by the Art Historian Nelli Kyriazi. Simultaneously, education programs were implemented by the historical Museologist Maria Lembesi, including guided tours and lectures on the course of modern engraving and the exhibits of the collection. In the same year, the retrospective engraving exhibition of Panagiotis Gravvalos (1933-2014) was inaugurated, organized by the KHA, the A. Tassos Fine Arts Company and the “Art Circle”, to honour the passing of the artist.
In 2016, the KHA participated in the Athens Print Fest of the Union of Greek Engravers, with the exhibition “Italian Artists ’70 -’80” at the Italian Educational Institute of Athens. The KHA presented works from their collection in collaboration with the Alzaia Cultural Centre of Rome and Laboratorio Grafico Leoni – Witman of Bologna. This exhibition was then presented at the “Centre of Engraving Arts – Vasso Katrakis Museum” in Aetoliko, with Art Historian Giannis Bolis curating the exhibition and the catalogue.
In 2017, celebrating the 40th anniversary of its operation, the KHA organized a series of events focusing on its collection, strengthening the openness of the organization and encouraging public participation. One of the activities included “Coin 2017”, where the public had the opportunity to engrave their own lucky coin, thus discovering an aspect of the art of engraving. In the same year the KHA participated in the project “Xouthou”; inviting the public to engage in a thought-provoking print-interactive event in the city centre.
In May 2018, the KHA collaborated with the Hill School and Daphne Lianantonaki, in order to conduct copperplate classes for elementary school students. The students had the opportunity to visit the KHA site to print their first engraving work.
In 2018 the KHA also organized, as part of the Athens Print Fest of the Union of Greek Engravers, the double exhibition “Engraving as Social Commentary”, curated by Art Historian Nelli Kyriazi. The exhibition was presented simultaneously at the Italian Educational Institute and at the House of Cyprus. The KHA invited the Hampi Engraving Museum from Cyprus and the Museo Civico delle Cappuccine di Bagnacavallo, Italy to exhibit works from their collections. With this exhibition, the organization once again targeted and highlighted the historical profile of the engraving process; a discourse that is sharp, assertive and timeless, and one that transcends state borders.
In October 2018, the ATHENS ENGRAVING CENTRE – PANDOLFINI & SIATERLI A.M.K.E. as an urban non-profit company, opened to the public. The cultural art space ETCH INK (at the junction of Argyroupoleos 16 and Klefton & Armatolon 20, in Lycabettus) operates as the headquarters of A.M.K.E. This is an exhibition space for engraving and artwork, as well as a seminar venue. The A.M.K.E purpose is to seek “conversation” between Engraving and other art forms, and interaction with the social fabric of Athens and other cultural institutions and art galleries in Greece and abroad.
THE ATHENS ENGRAVING CENTRE – PANDOLFINI & SIATERLI A.M.K.E, collaborates in cultural events with the UNION OF GREEK ENGRAVERS and the CHAMBER OF FINE ARTS OF GREECE.