Valavanidis Yiannis (1939 - 2017)

He was born in 1939 in Athens. He studied painting, printmaking and mosaics at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1957-1963), with Yiannis Moralis, Kostas Grammatopoulos and Ellie Voyla. He was an active member of leftist student associations and he often took part in rallies organized by young people in the ‘60s. His ideology was in line with his choices in art all along. Before the 1967 dictatorship, he was collaborating with the monthly magazine Art Review and was a member of art group ‘A’.
In 1968, he worked in Paris for a year. At the beginning of 1970, along with 4 other young painters (Chronis Botsoglou, Cleopatra Diga, Kyriakos Katzourakis, Yiannis Psychopedis) he formed the art group ‘Young Greek Realists’, presenting figurative paintings with critical comments on social reality, which also served as an anti-dictatorial protest.
In his first solo exhibition (Astor gallery, 1970) there were already works that showed a tendency to investigate in depth the appearance of everyday objects, avoiding the existing colourist techniques or a “typical Greek character” in his painting. His efforts in this direction continued in future years. The characteristic feature of his work is an exhaustive processing of painting through which the theme image is conveyed, either by using photographic documents or by direct observation of the model. He has been developing his painting themes (Tools, Mountains, Faces, Places) in paralel, since the 1980's.
He has presented his work in solo and group exhibitions in Greece and abroad. He has participated in art groups such as the Group for Communication and Education in Art and the Contemporary Art Association. He has taught painting at the Vakalo School of Art and Design (1972-1980) and at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1981-2005), where he also served as Vice Chancellor (2001-2004).
He has also been involved in book illustration and design. His texts on art have been published in many newspapers and magazines.
His retrospective exhibition was organized at the Frissiras Museum in 2005. Since 2007, he is professor emeritus of the Athens School of Fine Arts.