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by Archaeology Newsroom

You Cannot Chat With Death

Alexis Akrithakis was the most subversive, susceptible and surprising artist I ever met. His art was his life and his life itself was his art. I always remember him moving at the extreme limits of the game, “because only then the work becomes excessive and gain inwardness”. Criminality was for Akrithakis a component of life, since for him crime is a tender story: “ Art is a very dangerous and unhealthy craft. Art is your tragic life and the world’s ugliness that surrounds you…artists carry impairment in them. The role of the artist, not of the painter, is to overthrow every kind of establishment. There is no veneration of art today, but only respect for the painters who socialize … fuck of them off”. Akrithakis passed his life seeing his friends taking their own lives. He himself had chosen a suicidal way of living, because he believed that an artist’s life should be a continuous protest; “painting is an occupation like that of a haberdasher. Art embodies the problems of people who die alone in the streets…”. An offspring of the prominent Stantzou-Fix family and a student of the “aristocratic” Leonteios high school, he run away from his Athenian home in the age of sixteen. He had cracked beforehand the safe of the textile industry of his German mother, located at Gazi behind the Poulopoulos Hat Factory, and fled to Thessaloniki. From there, having exchanged drachmas to Deutsche marks, he drove to Paris on a four stroke motorcycle. He never saw his parents again. In Paris he studied painting in the Grand Chaumiere Academy; the subject of his Ph.D. thesis, supervised by G. Kandylis, was “Painting and Town Planning”. In order to earn his living he became a Peugeot test driver in Africa. He traveled a lot in Europe and visited most of its cities. Tsingos was his friend, while even Keith Haring acknowledged Akrithakis as the pioneer of his own style from whom he “borrowed” some of his symbols. In his stroll in the world he relied on his wife Fofi and on his patron Alexandros Iolas whom he adored. His life was a continuous shock and an accelerating whirling. He was at the same time a primitive wild wolf and a most tender human being….