Pavlos Dionyssopoulos

Pavlos Dionyssopoulos

1930 - 2019


Pavlos Dionysopoulos was born in 1930 in Filiatra in the southern Peloponnese. Since he was a child, he started drawing by observing nature and the people around him. In 1947, he moved to Athens and, two years later, he began studying at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Yannis Moralis. In 1954, thanks to a scholarship from the French Embassy, he went to Paris and attended courses at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. The following year he returned to Greece and worked in the fields of theater and advertising. In 1958, he received the Greek state scholarship from the Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY), which lasted three years, and settled in Paris. There he met the Nouveaux Réalistes group of artists and established a friendship with Raymond Haynes. At the same time, he began working with paper strips from magazines with which he created abstract compositions. As he was increasingly inspired by the colors and capabilities of his material, he endlessly collected unused posters from printing shops. In 1963, he met Pierre Restany during his participation in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in Paris. The following year he held his first solo exhibition with works from posters at the Galerie J and, in 1965, he participated in the Paris Biennale. Since 1966, he began folding the strips he used for his pieces and placing them obliquely so as to form three-dimensional volumes with cavities suggesting everyday and common objects, even consumer goods, such as flower bouquets, corsets, sandwiches and more. He then enclosed them in plexiglass, separating them from the real world and highlighting their hallucinatory character. Since then, the delicate treatment of paper, the precision and the elaborate color combinations emerged as key features of his work. Although his choice of subjects and his practice seemed to be in line with those of the Nouveau Réalistes and Pop artists, he never identified with them. He soon became well known in the United States and exhibited in 1967 at the Fischbach Gallery in New York. In 1968, he exhibited his first installation at the Ileana Sonnabend gallery in Paris, with tall columns made of paper and curtains covering the walls. Three years later, he exhibited a series of paper and Jex tampon (steel wool) garments on hangers and coat racks on the walls of the same gallery. In 1972, his first retrospective exhibition at the Kunstverein in Hanover was organized. There, he presented the installations Corridor, Temple, Boutique Men, Forest and Classroom in order for the public to engage with them. In 1973, he began collaborating with Alexander Iolas and exhibited still life pieces to the Galerie Iolas, with sculptural compositions made of paper that were characterized by their realistic manifestation. The same year, he held an event at the Folkway Museum in Essen, where he used glue to draw invisible scenes depicting basketball players and athletes on the walls that suddenly appeared when visitors threw confetti onto the glue. A similar work entitled Football Players, 2000, is currently located at the Athens Metro (Omonia station). In 1979, Vogue magazine published photos with models photographed in front of his sculptures and, in 1980, he represented Greece at the Venice Biennale with an installation of works made of laminated bolduc ribbons. Two years later he participated in Europalia in Belgium and, in 1985, Jana Markova created a film about him for the German television broadcaster ZDF. In 1989, at an exhibition at the Lavignes – Bastille Galerie, he presented artworks with landscapes and the sea, in which poster paper resembles impressionist grass tufts and reflections of light. Since 1990, the subjects of space and the tools used to produce art were added in his works. He passed away in 2019 and his funeral took place in Filiatra. He held numerous solo and group exhibitions in Greece and abroad. Retrospective exhibitions have been organized by the city of Paris at the Chapelle de la Sorbonne (1992) and by the J. F. Costopoulos Foundation at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (1997) in Thessaloniki. His works can be found, among others, at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Hamburger Kunsthalle in Hamburg, MoMA in New York and the Mumok in Vienna.