He studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1934-1939) with professors Konstantinos Dimitriadis and Michalis Tombros. In the 1930’s, he became deeply interested in the intellectual currents of the day and joined the Greek Communist Party and the group “Neoi Protoporoi” [Young pioneers]. In 1945, he went to Paris to continue his studies with Jean-Paul Laurens and Marcel Gimond. In 1950, he was expelled from France and settled in Hungary, where he became member of the Artists’ Society, received numerous awards, including Excellence in Arts. In 1964, his Greek citizenship was taken away only to be recovered in 1975, and in 1978 he finally moved to Greece.
His work was presented in solo and major group exhibitions in Greece and abroad, such as the 1946 Salon d’Automne, the Salon de la Jeune Sculpture (1948) and the Salon des Tuileries (1950) in Paris. He also participated in Hungarian art exhibitions; in 1979, a retrospective of his work was held at the National Gallery in Athens and at the Patras Municipal Gallery in 1995.
A prolific sculptor, Memos Makris worked in bronze, lead, stone, marble and clay, with the human figure always representing his starting point. His personal style was shaped by diverse influences – his Greek origin, his life in Paris and Hungary as well as his teachers’ styles. His oeuvre comprises busts, with an emphasis on capturing the sitter’s inner world; full figure sculptures, reflecting the precepts of archaic art as well as his apprenticeship in Paris; geometrically simplified, rounded nudes; reliefs, statues and monuments, either blending the above elements or in an expressionist vein; finally, a series of cacti – his only non-anthropomorphic subject.