Born in Athens in 1949, he graduated from the Athens Technological institute (Doxiadis School) in 1972 and moved permanently to Paris, continuing his studies at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts U.P.6
(1972-1976)and the École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Paris-La Villette(1976-1990). He was an assistant to Costas Tsoclis (1976-1981) and the sculptor Takis after 1982, taking part in the construction of the
Signals in the Place Defense in Paris.
Early in his career he created in-situ conceptual installations on the rhetoric of the image and experimented with painting on glass, always in conjunction with space. His participation in the exhibition-in-progress “To Pierre and Marie”, which unfolded from 1982 to 1984 in an abandoned cathedral in Paris, was a milestone in the evolution of his trademark work. Here Tzivelos first introduces the element of light in luminous devices and glass globes with enclosed objects, establishing a dialogue of the works with the reflections from the stained-glass windows. After that, light was to become the materia prima of his sculpture.
In 1986, in his first solo exhibition, “Pyro”, at the Medusa Gallery, Tzivelos leaves the room in darkness and turns it into a mystagogy of austere, self-illuminated sculptural forms set on the floor. The red light is symbolically equated with fire, alluding to the alchemical transmutation of matter and the idea of the artist-magician-alchemist. Alchemy, Greek mythology, philosophy and cosmology are intertwined in the typical, symbolic installations of iron, light and wax (or resin) which emerge in the space like “magic signals”.
Also since 1986, Tzivelos works on another series with insects projected on the wall using a simple flashlight. This ‘intangible’ series is presented in his first Parisian solo exhibition at the Ταμείο Παρακαταθηκών in 1989. As with his sculptures, these projections are based on the Heraclitian idea of coinciding opposites: light-darkness, presence-absence, beginning-end. The same philosophical principle informs “Lights-Fossils”, a series of round black-and-white drawings, joining his entire oeuvre like a thread. The drawings were featured in the last solo exhibition of his life in Paris in 1993, at the Galerie Renos Xippas, along with the “Room of Fire”, the unorthodox realistic sculpture “Bird’s eye view” and the monumental kinetic installation “Dynamo”. They were parts of a comprehensive visual narrative around life, death, rebirth, recycling, the perpetual transmutation of matter, the universe and the black holes. All these were subjects of almost obsessive interest to the artist, who listened to the entire world in his sensitive and poetic manner.