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ALEXIS AKRITHAKIS (Greece, Athens 1939-1994 / act: Berlin & Athens)

Alexis Akrithakis Alexis Akrithakis developed his own style, which only indirectly reflected movements parallel to his art (American Pop Art, French New Realism, and German Capitalistic Realism). "His art was influenced by the same general spirit that also affected pop art: the abolition of the clear boundaries of the art work, i.e. the redefinition of what constitutes a work of art." [Koroxenidis 2004 p.21].

Akrithakis decided to become a painter in 1965, the year that the motif of the small arrow, which was to become a trademark of his work, first appeared in a drawing. In Paris he attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. In 1967, having been invited by the European Centre to exhibit in Germany, and having won a DAAD scholarship, Akrithakis went to Berlin, the city where he lived until his return to Athens in 1984. In the early 1990s his health gradually declined until his death in 1994.

Akrithakis wrote: "Art is every man's right to be different. Art is a distillation of life, not a substitute for it." / "Art is I. Art is I with my child. Art is what I do and what I experience." These words confirm what Alexandra Koroxenidis said about him, that Akrithakis was an artist who saw life through art and art through life [p.23].

Akrithakis subversive spirit is expressed in a text of his dating from 1986: "An artist must be on his own, completely alone, in order to carry on creating history. I cannot understand what goes on around me, and I don't know what's happening. Still, I want to overthrow everything - all there is."

Peter Nestler, Director of Deutscher Akademischer Austanschdienst Berlin, wrote in relation to Akrithakis: "At a time when mass tourism and international exchange of labour has brought about a new migration wave, international exchange of ideas and experience is more than ever before necessary for the further tolerance and understanding between nations." [Peter Nestler in Akrithakis: Paintings & Drawings 1971].

"The themes of the suitcase and the handwritten words [...] represent the topography of life under an oppressive system, but at the same time a code signal for hope." [Akrithakis quoted in Akrithakis: Paintings & Drawings 1971].

[Megakles Rogakos 01/2005]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
NESTLER, PETER & AKRITHAKIS, ALEXIS Akrithakis: Paintings & Drawings 1971 Galerie T. Zoumboulakis, Athens
ILIOPOULOU-ROGAN, DORA Akrithakis: The Water Power Plant at Polyphytos Transformed into Art 1975 EDOK-ETER S.A., Athens
PETER S. O Toxakis (Man Obssessed with Arrows) 1980 Amorgos Editions, Athens
KAFOPOULOU, KATERINA Akrithakis imitates Akrithakis 1991 Miraraki Gallery & Gallery 3, Athens
KOTZAMANI, MARIA Akrithakis 1997 National Gallery, Athens
KOTZAMANI, MARIA Akrithakis: Thoughts and Animal Stories 1997 Itanos Editions, Athens
KOROXENIDIS, ALEXANDRA Alexis Akrithakis: Portalakis Collection 2004 Portalakis Collection, Athens

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