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MICHAEL LEKAKIS (USA, New York 1907-1987 / act: Manhattan & Southampton)

Michael LekakisBorn in New York City on 3 March 1907 of Greek parents, Michael Lekakis maintained strong ties with his heritage. One of seven children, he was nurtured in the city's Greek-American community and disciplined by the realities of a life common to many first generation children. His thirst for knowledge and pursuit of enlightenment, however, were most uncommon.

His interests have encompassed the entire classical culture, and Lekakis has spent a lifetime informing himself. Necessities were turned into opportunities, and each experience added dimension to both his life and art. His early years, occupied in floral arrangement and decoration at his family's wholesale flower business, provided his first aesthetic concepts of design, and solidified his desire to devote himself to art. The war years, studying and eventually teaching camouflage, afforded the circumstances to further conceptualise the relationship of form to space. Interest in dance, both participating and helping in the organization of a group dedicated to Greek ethnic dances, gave him insight into the movement of forms and the projection of objects in space.

Lekakis has spent years in attending lectures in philosophy and anthropology, Byzantine music and Chinese poetry, seeking out those whom he respected and from whom he might learn. In much the same way that the ancient Greeks acquired knowledge, Lekakis has constantly moved from Agora to Lyceum, and many of his teachers became his close friends.

An intensely private man, and preferring seclusion as a requisite for his art, Lekakis has also travelled extensively and has incorporated his eclectic experiences into his work. He is his art. Although his sculptural technique and theory are unique, he forswears any statement of his own, declaring that he is merely a tool through which nature is allowed its inherent meaning. He has never 'manufactured' art, and does not regard his work as in any way didactic. Approaching it with humility, he maintains that the concepts exist, and potential will be realized through creativity. At times his sculptural forms and the organic geometry of his drawings evoke an Aristotelian predisposition, yet the natural serenity of his creations suggest an evolutionary process closer to the Platonic doctrine of universal forms.

In choosing to dedicate himself to his work, Lekakis has also chosen to eschew notoriety and commercialisation. His work, however, is in many major museums as well as in private collections throughout the world.

[Charlotte Camillos]

Michael Lekakis died at home in New York City on 17 November 1987.

It is worth noting that in the period 2005-2008 Mr. Takis Efstathiou, who was a personal acquaintance of Michael Lelakis, entrusted ACG Art with a great number of artworks (105) and tools (260) of the legendary artist from his private collection. The College takes the opportunity here to express its thanks for Mr. Efstathiou's continued interest in and trust towards ACG Art.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
LEKAKIS, MICHAEL Eros Psyche 1973 Costas Kouloufakos Editions, Athens
PAPASTAMOS, DIMITRIS; COLI, PRISCILA; OSSORIO, ALFONSO; MARGOLIS, JOSEPH Michael Lekakis 1980 National Gallery, Athens
ASHTON, DORE Michael Lekakis 1984 Kouros Gallery, New York
FRIEDMAN, B.H. Michael Lekakis: Master Carver 1987 Kouros Gallery, New York
ANDREADIS, EFI Growings: A Survey of the Sculpture of Michael Lekakis 1996 Foundation for Hellenic Culture, New York

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