Apotheosis - Lekakis Michael

Lekakis Michael (1907 - 1987)

Apotheosis, 1964 - 1972

Oak, elm, pine, 241 x 108 x 47 cm

Donated by the artist

Inv. Number Π.5957
On view National Glyptotheque

The son of Greek immigrants, Michael Lekakis was born and raised in New York yet maintained close ties with the Greek community.

His artistic propensity manifested itself in the late 1920s but Lekakis never had any formal training. After World War II, he began to work exclusively in wood: oak, elm, pine, rosewood, cherry and mahogany. He pruned and coaxed the trees in the garden of his Long Island studio into shapes that he later translated into artworks. Thus he combined the random and the artistic will with the process of abstraction through carving. His sculptures have titles either borrowed from classical Greek tradition or with symbolic content, but they are always Greek. The formal display of his completed work always includes a base. Frequently made out of a different type of wood, these bases are sculptures in their own right.

Lekakis’ unique relationship to his material reached its culmination in “Apotheosis”. A pine trunk supports a roughly hewn piece of elm. Three oak trees placed upside-down, their roots tangled in the air, form three imposing, motionless figures – trees, graces or dancers – their arms raised in some ritual or ecstatic dance.