Costas Tsoclis

Costas Tsoclis

1930 -


Costas Tsoclis was born in Athens in 1930. From an early age and until 1948 he worked as an assistant in movie poster workshops alongside Stefanos Almaliotis, Giorgos Vakirtzis and Vaggelis Fainos. From 1948 to 1957, he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts in the workshop of Yannis Moralis and then, with a scholarship from the Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY), he went to Rome in order to pursue his postgraduate studies at the Scuola delle Arti Ornamentali. He remained in Rome until 1960 and formed the group Gruppo Sigma together with Vlassis Caniaris, Yannis Gaïtis, Dimitris Condos and Nikos Kessanlis. During his stay in Rome, he abandoned representational painting and shifted towards intense gestural abstraction and incorporated other materials on his canvases such as charcoal and cement. In 1960, he settled in Paris and began creating sculptural wall objects that are perceived by the viewer as three-dimensional through optical illusion techniques. In 1968, he started collaborating with Ileana Sonnabend Gallery and, during the period 1971-1972, lived in Berlin with the support of a D.A.A.D scholarship, while later he collaborated with the art dealer Alexander Iolas. He returned from Berlin to Paris but, since the mid-1970s, he lived for increasingly longer periods of time in Athens where he returned permanently in 1984. In 1985, he presented Harpooned Fish at the Zoumboulakis Galleries, the first work of “living painting” as this pioneering practice of combining painted canvas with video projection was termed. The Harpooned Fish and the Portraits, a series of 5 “living paintings”, were presented the following year at the 42nd Venice Biennale, where Tsoclis represented Greece. Evolving his practice, Tsoclis presented Medea, a 45-minute triple-synchronized video projection on an installation made of paintings and rocks at a church in Troyes, France, in 1990. In 2001, a large retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens and, in 2009, he made an overall presentation of his living paintings in a former factory on Piraeus Street entitled Living Painting 1985-2009. In 2011, he founded the Costas Tsoclis museum in Tinos, where cultural events are organized every summer. In 2012, he made an on-site installation on the island of Spinalonga entitled Τsoclis, you the last leper. In 2017, he participated in the exhibition ANTIDORON. The EMST Collection at the Museum Fridericianum as part of Documenta 14. His works can be found in many public and private collections and public places, such as at the metro station “Ethniki Amyna”, where an installation of his has been located there since 2000. He lives and works in Athens.