KLEARCHOS LOUKOPOULOS (Greece, Aetolia, Thermo 1908-1995 / act: Athens)

Klearchos Loukopoulos Klearchos Loukopoulos was born in 1908 at Thermo of Aetolia, Greece. He studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts, at the same time attending courses in theatre and music at the National Conservatory. Studied under the sculptor Thanassis Apartis 1939. His artistic education was substantially enriched by his travels in Europe and America 1934-1966. Was an active member of the art groups Armos (1949-1953), Alpha (1960-1967), the Group for Communication and Education in Art (1976), of which he was also chairman for the first four years, and the Artists' Association (1976). He held five personal exhibitions of sculpture and drawing in Athens and Thessaloniki. He took part in more than thirty-five group exhibitions and international events in Europe and the USA, most notably in the 28th and 33rd Biennale di Venezia(1956 and 1966 respectively), the 5th São Paulo Biennial (1959), and the 3rd Alexandria Biennale in the same year. During the 1960s he and the architect Aris Konstantinidis were commissioned by the Greek Tourist Organisation to create a series of works for the Xenia hotels in the towns of Volos, Larissa, Olympia, and Paliouri in Halkidiki. Many public places throughout Greece are adorned by his works, representative examples being: the Martyrdom of Saint Seraphim (1949) in the Metropolitan Church at Trikala, the busts of Svolos and Kyriakidis at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and Stele (1976) at Ethniki Amyna Metro Station of Athens. The high quality of his work earned him many prizes. He won a medal at the Panhellenic Exhibition of 1948, and the International Association of Art Critics - AICA Prize, sponsored by the Greek section, in 1963. In 1972 he turned down the National Art Prize as a gesture of protest against the political situation in Greece under the Dictatorship.

Loukopoulos belonged to that generation of Greek sculptors born early in the 20th century who, having begun their careers in the field of representational art, moved on in the 1950s to abstract modes of expression, intending to bring art in Greece closer to what had been happening for some time in the other countries of the West. So the works of his first creative period were produced under the influence of the teachers at the Athens School of Fine Arts, in particular Epaminondas Thomopoulos.

His move towards abstraction in the late 1950s also signalled a change in his raw materials; from this point on he was to work mainly in metal. The use of a different expressive vocabulary did not, however, alter what had been the key features of his earlier work: solidity and balance of structure. His work up until about 1966 was characterised by a combination of geometrical austerity and curvilinear motifs. In the same period the state commissions for the Greek Tourist Organisation hotels allowed him to create compositions that were monumental in both conception and scale, determined by the constructivist principles of alternation of voids and solids.

This was the direction followed by his work in the period 1966-1972. Pure, geometrical volumes are now integrated into sturdy Compositions, some of the subjects making direct reference to pre-classical Greek antiquity.

The years following the fall of the dictatorship saw his work dominated by dense, compact volumes. These abstract works retain none of the representational elements of his early career. In the 1980s, his last creative period, he experimented with materials like plaster, zinc, polystyrene, and wax, creating spaces that convey a sense of fairytale enchantment.

Klearchos Loukopoulos died in 1995.

[Megakles Rogakos 02/2008]

KALLIGAS, MARINOS Panhellenic Art Exhibition: Old, New and Emerging Artists 23/11/1948 To Vima newspaper, Athens
KONTOGLOU, FOTIS The Martyrdom of Saint Seraphim 1952 Kivotos, #2
VAKALO, ELENI Klearchos Loukopoulos 1959 Zygos, Athens, #38
PETRIS, GEORGE The Sculptor Loukopoulos and his Turn Towards Abstract Art 1959 Art Review, #49
REPRESENTATION Hellas: Andreou, Georgiadis, Katraki, Loukopoulos, Mavroidis 1966 XXXIII Biennale di Venezia
CATALOG Klearchos Loukopoulos: Thirty-Two Sculptures 03-17/02/1972 Hellenic American Union, Athens
ANDREADI, EFI The Sculpture of Klearchos Loukopoulos 12/02/1972 To Vima newspaper, Athens
CATALOG Klearchos Loukopoulos: Fifteen Drawings from Patmos Island 1973 Desmos Gallery, Athens
LOUKOPOULOS, KLEARCHOS Suggestions for a Methodology of Art 1973 Themes in Space + Arts, #4
ANDREADI, EFI The Drawings of Loukopoulos 01/01/1974 To Vima newspaper, Athens
XYDIS, ALEXANDROS vol. I, p. 121, 185, 211-12, 217, 223, 228, 241, 255-256, 276, 278, 281; vol. II pp. 80-4, 98, 193, 195, 227
CATALOG Loukopoulos 1977 Zoumboulakis Gallery, Athens 1977
VAROPOULOU, ELENI Material, Energy and Form: The Sculpture of Loukopoulos at Zoumboulakis Gallery 21/10/1977 Avgi newspaper, Athens
LYDAKIS, STELIOS Greek Sculpture 1981 Athens, Melissa
MAVROMATIS, EMMANOUEL Hasselt: Greek Sculpture at Europalia 1982 Visual Arts, #12
STAVROUPOLS, COSTAS The Sculptor Klearchos Loukopoulos 1985 Visual Arts, #30
DELIYANNIS, D. Klearchos Loukopoulos: From Immobility to the Plasticity of Gesture 1986 Nees Morphes Gallery, Athens
SCALTSA, MATOULA 1990, p. 108
MYKONIATIS, ILIAS 1996, p. 24, 207
CATALOG Klearchos Loukopoulos 1997 Vafopoulos Cultural Centre, Thessaloniki, 04/04-11/05/1997