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Akrithakis Alexis
(1939 Athens - 1994 Athens)

His interest in painting manifested itself during his student years but he never took formal lessons. His acquaintance with the philosopher Giorgos Makris, however, was decisive and led him to a systematic involvement with art. During 1958-1960 he lived in Paris where he met Alberto Giacometti and other important figures and became close friends with Thanasis Tsingos. In 1968 he went to Berlin on a scholarship from D.A.A.D. remaining, all in all, until 1984. There he met Konstantinos Xenakis and came into contact with dancing and theater circles, rekindling his interest in the theater.

In 1965 he had his first solo show at the French Institute of Athens which the critics received with reservations. This was followed by other solo presentations in various European galleries, that of Alexandros Iolas among them, as well as participations in group exhibitions in Greece and abroad, while in 1998 his work was presented in a retrospective at the National Gallery.

A restless and rebellious figure, Akrithakis rejected all forms of compromise and made art out of life itself. His first stage of work includes linear compositions, in black-and-white, the so-called "tsiki-tsiki", created by starting from a chance dot on the paper. Later he began to use specific expressive symbols, such as the sun, fire, eye, bird, heart, helicopter, airplane, row-boat, and the arrow and created compositions with intense color contrasts and outlines; there was also the suitcase, a repeated symbol of eternal escape. In a later stage, employing new or used wood and incorporating various cheap materials on its surface, he created wooden constructions, which he then enhanced by painting on them and adding little lights, mirrors and plastic flowers. At the same time he did a series of collages while in 1986 in cooperation with Giorgos Lappas, he created his "Circus". On a more limited scale, he was also involved with the illustration of books and made sets and costumes for theatrical performances.