Theodoros Papadimitriou

Theodoros Papadimitriou

1931 - 2018


Theodoros Papadimitriou also known as the sculptor Theodoros, was born in Agrinio in 1931. He spent his childhood and school years in Agrinio and in the nearby village of Agios Vlasios in close contact with nature and the pre-industrial rural culture. He was present during the destruction of the village during the German occupation and also experienced the destruction of his family house during the Greek civil war. During the period 1952-1957, he studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts, in the workshop of Michalis Tombros and, after the completion of his military duties, he continued his studies from 1959 to 1962 at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts and at the Academie du Feu in Paris with a scholarship from the Greek State Scholarships Foundation (IKY). He started exhibiting in Paris, where he remained after his studies. His commitment to sculptural communication through the visual and tactile characteristics of the material and his interest in the public nature of sculpture were evident since the first series of works he exhibited in the early 1960s, such as the Delphiques and Portals. The sculptures of this period were mainly made of metal and provoked the viewers with their texture changes on their surface and the feeling of precarious balance. In 1965, he was awarded the Rodin Prize for his participation in the Salon de la Jeune Sculpture with the work Midnight Alarm. Although already being a successful sculptor with a recognizable and shaped artistic identity in Greece and France, his transition from radicalized Paris to Greece and the Colonels' dictatorship was catalytic for his artistic development. In 1969 Theodoros held a retrospective exhibition in Athens (Retrospective 62-69, Nea Gallery and Kennedy Hall) and then claimed that his work reached a “turning point”. His following exhibitions at the Studio of Contemporary Art of the Goethe-Institut (Sculpture For Public Participation – Participation Prohibited, 1970), the Desmos Art Gallery (Instead of a Sculpture, 1972) and the French Institute of Thessaloniki (Confronted Retrospectives 1963-67 & 1968-74, 1975) attempted to re-frame the concept of sculpture in the era of mass media. In these exhibitions, he presented works from the series Manipulations that utilize various media such as photography, oral speech, printed texts, live action, film and video. In the series Manipulations, Theodoros gradually contrasted the sculptural object's communication capabilities with those of print and audiovisual mass media claiming the survival of artistic discourse in the public sphere. Works from this series were also presented in group exhibitions such as at the International Design Conference in Aspen, Colorado (Manipulation I – For A Spectator Alone, 1973), while he was in the United States with a scholarship from the Ford Foundation, the Marrieta Rialdi's Experimental Theater (Two Sculptural One-act Plays, 1976), the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels (Manipulation XXX – variation B’, 1982) and with the Tele-manipulation ,1976. In 1977, he designed and co-ordinated the series of events Hypotheses for a Museum of Contemporary Art which was held in three parts at the Desmos Art Gallery. In 1980, he was elected professor of plastic arts in the Department of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens, where he taught until 1998. In 1984, he held a large retrospective exhibition at the National Gallery (Journey’s Marks – Traces of Touch, Objects) and, in 1986, he performed a large-scale field intervention on the ramparts of the church of St. George in the castle of Rhodes (Re-Place – Re-Search). From the 1980s onwards, Theodoros regularly wrote for large circulation newspapers, published collections of art and culture essays (A SCULPTOR IN THE MARKET PLACE, Ipsilon publications, 1981, JOURNEY’S MARKS –TRACES ON THE SAND OF WORDS, Estia publications, 1984, TRACES, Kastaniotis publications, 1988, A SCULPTOR ON THE AIR, Ipsilon publications, 1989). He also participated in a radio program of the The Third Programme of the public radio station of Greece's state broadcaster (ERT) entitled “The Other Thought” (1988-1989). His works can be found in private collections and museums such as at the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, but also in public places and buildings such as at the Athens Stock Exchange (Rising Index, 2007), the Syntagma Station in the Athens Metro (The METRO Clock, 2001) and on the facade of the Hellenic Olympic Committee (Olympic Diptych, 1996). In 2009, he held a large retrospective exhibition at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (A-LOGOS, A-TOPOS, A-CHRONOS). In 2012, the book JOURNEY’S MARKS – RESEARCH IN ART & CULTURE was published by the publications of the National Technical University of Athens, where Theodoros' artistic work was presented alongside his teaching work and his studies on urban and public space. In his last exhibition entitled JOURNEY’S MARKS –TRACES OF STUDIES – 1947-1962 in 2016 at the MIET, the sculptor's early designs were presented, which revealed the importance of the human figure in his work. Following his death in 2018, the continuation of his spiritual work has been undertaken by the Interdisciplinary Center of Sculpture, Architecture and Communication under the title “CiBA – Cities in Balance”, which aims to improve urban conditions through art, architecture and communication.