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CHRISTOS THEOFILIS (Greece, Piraeus b. 1956 / act: Athens)

Christos Theofilis Christos Theofilis was born in 1956 in Piraeus, Greece. He failed in his examinations at the Athens School of Fine Arts of Athens for the first and last time in 1973. At that point he decided to study at the Onassis School as an engineer of the Merchant Navy and traveled at sea till 1979. Throughout this period he continued to paint. Discovering for himself that he suffers from a form of colorblindness, which deprived him from the ability to discern low semi-tones, his inner need to learn painting grew by his inmost desire to conquer colors. His special ability in painting was doubtlessly confirmed when he was selected along the ten artists who were awarded by the European Economic Community at an exhibition in Athens in 1982. Theofilis' art is characterized by a peculiarity owed to his unwavering ideology in retaining his visual conviction - art to draw its energies exclusively from the artist's inner truth. Proponent of such 'truth' he never felt the 'violence of commerce', while remaining desirable to buyers without having to negotiate with them.

In the 1980s Theofilis found himself along the most wanted artists of Greece . Between 1978 and 1985 he run with Christos Antonaropoulos an art space, reference point for many of the most distinguished artists of that period in Athens, which was visited and surveyed by notable professors of the fine arts, such as Dimitreas, Kessanlis, Kokkinidis and Mavroidis. Though in 1984 he kindly refused to Alexander Iolas to take him with him in New York - perhaps due to Theofilis' ideology to retain the rebellious quality of his independence - nevertheless he remained for him an artist with whom to converse and with the ability to create works whose prophetic quality continued to interest him.

Theofilis presented the incredible number of one-hundred-and-sixty personal exhibitions, which include the following: Epithanatios Synthesi (Composition after Death) at Ora Cultural Center, Athens (1981); The Moon, To Trito Mati Gallery, Athens (1989); and The Portrait of Dorian Gray, Ekfrasi - Yianna Grammatopoulou, Athens (2007). He also took part in over eight-hundred group exhibitions, which include the following: Nees Morfes Gallery, Athens (1982); 150 New Painters of the European Community, Art Gallery of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece, Athens (1982); Gallery F, Athens (1984); Parallax, Exostis Art Gallery, Thessaloniki (1985); A Selection, Vorres Museum, Peania (1985); and Visual Arts, Art Gallery of Freedom Park, Athens (1989). In 1989, after presenting his exhibition The Moon at the Athenian gallery To Trito Mati, Theofilis disappered from the art scene for about two decades. When the decline of commercial values ensued he followed his instinct to withdraw from the market in order to look after his artistic integrity. The proposals made to him did not attract his attention. Sole exception was a group exhibition entitled Obedient to the Inner Word, at the House of Cyprus (1990) curated by Costas Stavropoulos, because he felt the invitation was respectful to art. Much later, in 2003, Theofilis founded the alternative cultural organization 'Art Act', which became the hub of productive meetings for artists and art administrators. Given this opportunity the Greek art world rediscovered in Theofilis an artist who stood outside the wear of crisis. Throughout the period of his abstinence from the commercial art scene Theofilis was guided by the inner strength to work ceaselessly always renewing his work. In closing, it is worth quoting the following excerpt from the critic of art historian Costas Stavropoulos: "Theofilis [...] is a snatcher of the visual gaze, ingeniously embodying the various versions of plasticity and expression, as a virtuous player and an alchemist of pictures" [Avgi newspaper, 03/12/1995].

Christos Theofilis has supervised the following remarkable limited albums: A Drawing of Christos Theofilis, with text by Costas Stavropoulos (Collection Editions, 1995); Shadow Theater: Two-Drachma Editions, with pictures by Evgenios Spatharis and an introduction by Christos Theofilis (Collection Editions Antenor, 1995); Lazareto, with painting by Christos Theofilis and introduction by Costas Stavropoulos (Collection Editions Iaspis, 2000); The Flower of Oscar Wild, with painting by Christos Theofilis (Collection Editions Iaspis, 2000); The History of Shadow Theater, with Puppets from China and Java and painting and text by Christos Theofilis (Collection Editions Antenor, 2002); Shadow Theater Puppets from China and Java: Loukas Loukakis Collection, with two drawings by Christos Theofilis and introductions by Angela Tamvaki and Loukas Loukakis (Collection Editions White Black, 2002); Homage to Oscar Wild: Icono-Graphy of a Portrait, with texts by Vassilis Anastassiou, Manos Vernardakis, Dimitris Potamitis and Paris Takopoulos (Collection Editions White Black, 2002); Yannis Ritsos: Aeas & Moonlight Sonata (Collection Editions White Black, 2002); Yannis Ritsos: Romiosyni, with introduction by Evgenios Spatharis and Christos Theofilis (Collection Editions White Black, 2003); and Yannis Ritsos: Epitaph, with introduction by Roula Kaklamanaki (Collection Editions White Black, 2003).

Christos Theofilis continues to live and work in Athens, Greece.

[Megakles 08/2007]

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