Artist’s Curriculum Vitae
Alexis Akrithakis was born in Athens in 1939. From his childhood and teenage years, his unconventional personality affects his life. Expelled from most schools as a “dangerous troublemaker”, he frequents bohemian circles of intellectuals and is mainly influenced by the poet and philosopher Giorgos Makris and Kostas Takhtsis. In 1958, he leaves on a motorcycle for Paris, where he is associated with artistic groups, intensely lives the disorderly life of the existentialist era, is closely associated with Thanos Tsigos and paints.
In 1960 he returned to Greece, was discharged from the army and exhibited his first works in Thessaloniki (1963, Veltsou). A little later (1965) he presents his first important solo exhibition at the French Institute of Athens. He does illustrations for the pioneering literary magazine Pali of Nanos Valaoritis, designs rock music album covers and sets for experimental performances. The characteristic black and white tsik tsik script, dense, lacy and labyrinthine, characterizes his works at this time.
In 1968 he settled in Berlin, with a DAAD scholarship. From 1970 he collaborated with Alexandros Iolas, going back and forth between Germany and Greece and participating actively and successfully in the Greek and international artistic movement. His provocative and often dangerous lifestyle remains an integral part of his artistic identity. His visual work is constantly enriched with a multitude of narrative, poetic and symbolic motifs (such as birds, boats, hearts, planes, arrows and his iconic suitcase), in bright flat colors, as well as collages or constructions made of wood or mixed materials. He is also involved in the illustration and design of objects and scenery.
He returns permanently to Greece in 1984. He is now internationally established but in shaky health. He creates the Circus series (1986) in collaboration with the sculptor Giorgos Lappa, while his painting becomes somewhat more melancholic and sarcastic, without losing its inherent lyricism. Upon his death (Athens 1994), he left unfinished the last section of his works, a series of drawings inspired by his roommates in Dromokaiteio. His retrospective exhibitions were organized in 1997 (Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki and National Gallery, Athens) and 2003 (Neue National Galerie, Berlin). In 2005, a monograph on his work was published.