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Alekos Fassianos

Alekos Fassianos

Greek
1935 -

Biography

Alekos Fassianos was born in Athens in 1935. His mother was a philologist and his father a military orchestra conductor. From an early age he visited post-Byzantine churches because of his grandfather, who was a priest, as well as archaeological sites and museums with his mother. He painted by himself until the age of 17 and the influence of ancient Greek culture and religious icons is evident on his early works. From 1956 to 1960, he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts and focused on painting under Yannis Moralis. He then began to use color more freely and to abandon graphical perspective in his paintings that were thematically related to Greek history and culture. His first exhibition was held at A 23 Gallery in 1957. During that time, his paintings depicted military men in colorful costumes and round faces in gardens that looked like parodies. Later, these forms became more abstract. In 1960, he was awarded a scholarship from the French Government and studied lithography at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Clairin and Dayez. At the same time, he held a studio in Athens with architects Antonis Kepetzis, Nikos Stephanou and Vassilis Sperantzas, which, until 1967, operated as a collective atelier, and a social and cultural space. In 1963, he returned to Athens and exhibited at the Zygos gallery. In 1966, he exhibited oil paintings and 3 metal reliefs at the Merlin 25gallery. During that time, both through the elaborate use of color or of lines, his work depicted everyday stories and images of people familiar to him presented monochrome as blue, red and golden figures that showered the neutral background. These figures’ form had references from black-figure and red-figure ancient Greek vases. During that same period, the motifs that characterize his work appeared for the first time and took different variations, such as the boys in profile on horseback, a watermelon with a fly on a table, cyclists, smokers, naked couples, people with scarves, neckties, hats, striped pajamas and wavy hair. In 1967, he moved to Paris where he lived for the next 35 years; however, he often visited Greece. The launch of his international activity was marked by the exhibition at the Galerie 2+3 in the same year. Since 1968, shows of his were held in Munich, Hamburg and Zürich and collaborations with Paul Facchetti and the Zoumboulakis Galleries followed. Since 1971, he started working mainly with Alexander Iolas and the Beaubourg and La Hune galleries in Paris. At the same time, he was engaged with lithography, stage design and writing. In 1989, inspired by Byzantine painting, he introduced the golden background to his paintings and created the series Icons, in which he summarized mythological themes; he exhibited the series at the Beaubourg gallery. In 1995, he married Mariza Kalogeropoulou and, in 1999, he was awarded from the Academy of Athens. In 2000, he created works for the Athens Metro at the Metaxourgeio station. He has been living and working permanently in Greece since 2002 and, in 2010, he was awarded the Légion d'honneur (Officier des Lettres et des Arts) by the French Government. Throughout his career, Greece has been a constant source of inspiration for him while he preserved an expressive idiom characterized by morphological simplicity with references to Greek folk art, ancient pottery painting, archaic aesthetics as well as shadow play. He has illustrated literary books for poets and writers such as Elytis, Tachtsis, Cavafy, Aragon, Apollinaire and others, has handcrafted posters and stamps using his drawings, engravings and sketches and has designed sets of major classic and modern plays. His works can be found in collections in Athens, Europe, as well as in Tokyo, New York, São Paulo and Melbourne and more than 70 solo exhibitions of his have been held in Greece and abroad. He has participated in many group exhibitions and international events such as the São Paulo Biennial (1971), the Venice Biennale (1972), Europalia (1982) in Brussels and others. His last retrospective exhibition took place at the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum (2004) in Athens. He lives and works in Athens and Paris.