Sklavos Gerasimos (1927 - 1967)

He was born in 1927 in Domata (Kefalonia). He studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1950-1956) with M. Tombros. He continued his studies at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, with Georges-Henri Adam, Marcel Gimond and Hubert Yencesse on a scholarship by the State Scholarship Foundation (I.K.Y., 1957-1960), and at the Grande Chaumière with Ossip Zadkine. His sculpture soon turned to abstraction, moving away from anthropomorphic conventions. He becomes well-known worldwide with his very first solo exhibition in Paris, at the gallery of Christian and Yvonne Zervos (Cahiers d 'Art gallery, 1961). That same year he wins the Grand Prix de Sculpture and the Young Artists Award at the 2nd Biennial for Young Artists in Paris. Thanks to his awards, he was able to organize a solo exhibition under the next Paris Biennale (Musée d' Art Moderne, 1963). Also in 1963, he settled in the Parisian suburb, Levallois-Perret, in a studio granted by Baroness de Rothschild. At that very studio, four years later, the fall of a large granite sculpture, entitled L'amie qui ne restait pas (The friend who did not stay, today situated at the Musée d'Art Moderne, Centre Pompidou, Paris) would cause his premature death (Paris, 1967).
Despite his short life span, his work is widely acknowledged, extensive and complete. His sculptures, often of large dimensions, utilize their negative space, with either vertical development of parallel biomorphic volumes, or with deep angled hollows, dug into their surface. He devised a personal technique of oxy-acetylene flame (patented since 1960), with which he melted the hard rocks. He even attempted to achieve similar results by concentrating sunlight through a system of lenses. By ceaselessly researching the material aspect of his sculpture, he aimed above all to highlight its intangible, spiritual existence, the balance between infinite space and chaos.
He organized only three solo exhibitions in Paris (1961, 1963 and 1965), one in Lausanne (Panorama gallery, 1962) and one in Athens (Athens Art Gallery – Hilton hotel, 1966). However, he participated in many important group exhibitions, in Parisian salons, in the Biennale of Sao Paulo (1961) and in the festival Panathenaea of Modern Sculpture (Athens, 1965). Some of his monumental works are situated at public places in France, America, Canada, Brazil and Greece (the marble sculpture Delphian Light, erected in 1966 at the town of Delphi, is one of the most characteristic ones). Immediately after his death, honorary exhibitions were held at the Musée Rodin and at the Cahiers d' Art (1968), while over the following years, more than 15 similar retrospective events were held in Greece, France and Belgium. A retrospective exhibition of his work was also organized by the Cultural Foundation of the National Bank of Greece (MIET) in Athens and Thessaloniki (1998-99).