Philolaos Tloupas

Philolaos Tloupas



Philolaos Tloupas, who is known as Philolaos, was born in Larissa in 1923. From a young age, he expressed his interest in painting and sculpture while at the same time he occupied himself in construction, assisting his father in the family furniture business. In 1945, he was accepted to the department of the School of Fine Arts (ΑΣΚΤ) in Athens, however, in 1947 he stopped studying and served his military duties in Larissa. In 1949, he was demobilized and he continued his studies at the School of Fine Arts under the teachings of Michael Tombros. During the same period he frequented at Thanasis Aparti’s laboratory. The following year he completed his studies and moved to Paris, where he attended courses at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and Marcel Gimond’s workshop at the École des Beaux-Arts. His earliest sculptures are classic busts and figures. In 1951, he continued his education in ceramics at the Claireau Center for the Arts in Saint-Rémy-lès-Chevreuse, where he remained for several years and even began to lecture. He then permanently abandoned the production of realistic forms. He started to focus his attention on the behavior of matter in relation to the gradual structural and morphological development of abstract sculptures. Since 1953, he has been experimenting with various materials such as stone, wood, lead, iron but most importantly with stainless steel due to its flexibility. In 1955, he received his first order, a relief for the Café de la Régence from the chromatographer Jacques Filacier. In the late 1950s, during the creation of a female sculpture-portrait, he observed the unexpected centrifugal tendency of the material, resulting in an encounter of the diagonal axis with the vertical axis, a moment which led him to new experiments and new morphoplastic pathways. Since then, in his sculptural process, he suggests an alternative balance of axes, which results from the function of the form itself. Since 1957, his work orders were increased and since 1961, the architect Andre Gomis proposed to him various collaborations for the formation of monumental sculpture compositions. The most important one being the construction of water tank complexes in Valence, a project that began in 1963 and ended in 1971. Ten years later this particular design was distinguished in the COGEDIM competition as the best architectural outdoor-sculpture of the 1970s to 1980s, and today it is a reference point for 20th-century environmental sculpture. Philolaos then collaborated with more than forty well-known architects and made more than 80 biomorphic sculptures of cement, stainless steel, and washed concrete for public spaces mainly in France but also in the cities of Volos and Larissa and Thessaloniki. For each one of them, he set up models, studied their behavior according to environmental proportions and at the same time he architecturally shaped the space as a result of his love for nature and his desire for the harmonious coexistence of functionality and art. In addition to his monumental works, he has continued to create organic sculpture forms since 1970, as well as surreal animals, furniture, objects, embossed paintings from parched and torn wood as well as jewelry for classical theatrical works. He also became responsible for the configuration and construction of the places where he worked and lived. In 2010 he passed away in France. He has exhibited his work at solo exhibitions at art venues such as Argos (1964) in Nantes, Galerie A (1964) in Paris, Merlin (1964) in Athens, Schneider (1966) in Rome, 427 Lovett Blvd (1988) in Houston and Musée de Valence (1991). He has participated in a number of major group exhibitions in museums and art institutions including the Petit Palais (1953), the Musée d’Art Moderne (1962) and the Center Pompidou (1982) in Paris, as well as the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum (1992) in Athens. He has also participated in international institutions such as the Antwerp Biennale (1953), the Salon de Mae (1954-1981) and the Salon de Jeune Sculpture (1958-1967) in Paris, the Sao Paulo Biennale (1965) and many others.

Read also the article: Philolaos’ Residences and Workshops