born in Athens in 1964 and rooted deeply in the fine arts, he gained early recognition as painter and comics artist before his focus shifted to the performing arts, as director, choreographer, performer, and designer of sets, costumes, and lighting. He formed Edafos Dance Theatre, in 1986 as an initial vehicle for his original stage productions, hybrids of physical theatre, experimental dance, and performance art. The Edafos company spanned 17 years, to 2002, and set its indelible stamp on the arts scene in Greece. Papaioannou became widely known in 2004, as creator of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games. His 23 productions cover the range from intimate pieces to mass spectacles involving thousands of performers, and have appeared in a broad variety of venues, from the famous underground squat theater he created in Athens to the ancient theatre in Epidaurus, and from Olympic stadiums to the Théâtre de la Ville – Paris and the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza. In 2015-17, he has been on tour in Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia with two of his most recent works, STILL LIFE (2014) and PRIMAL MATTER (2012). In 2017 he created his first international co-commissioned production, THE GREAT TAMER, which premiered in May 2017.
About Dimitris Papaioannou’s work
In his thirty years of work Papaioannou has striven to create a universe on stage that could be described as a dreamlike absurd circus. Human bodies become battlegrounds, interacting with raw materials, fusing into hybrids, giving rise to optical illusions.
His rootedness in the fine arts gives his performances a strong visual feel, as he juggles teasingly with art-historical references, various practices of expression and performing, and ideas about our origins.
Dimitris Papaioannou aims at an utter simplicity of appearance that is far from simple to achieve.
His intention is to shed light on the sacred in the mundane.