Moustakas Vangelis (1930)

Born in Piraeus in 1930, from a young age he designed and made forged objects at the machine shop where his father worked. He worked at a pottery workshop and at the Kerameikos earthenware company where he learned the art of clay. After that he studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Michalis Tombros (1950-1954). He participated systematically in the activities of the Castalia cultural society (with Parlavantzas, Argyrakis, Negrepontis et al) and taught drawing and colour at a private school. He continued his studies on a Greek state scholarship at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence (1960 – 1964), where he trained in printmaking and decoration. He travelled throughout the world, studying the art of earlier times as well as the contemporary trends.
He presented his first solo exhibition at “Stoa Technis” in Athens (1958). Much of his subject matter was influenced by the painful memories of WWII and the Occupation as well as by the death of his younger brother in a fighter plane crash (1955), after which the theme of the falling Icarus recurred in his work. His sculpture is mainly anthropocentric and often inspired by the typology of the ancient Greek tradition. However, along the way he adopts elements from contemporary trends such as surrealism, expressionism or constructivism and develops a varied visual idiom. His oeuvre comprises freestanding sculptures, monuments for public spaces, multiple-figure compositions and reliefs on wood and plaster. He often employs the cire perdue technique and generally makes good use of his deep technical knowledge and the expressive potential of each material, placing emphasis on motion and the spirituality of his figures.
He has also practised painting (mainly coloured drawings), illustrated books and designed medals. He worked for the restoration of Byzantine Antiquities in Thessaloniki, and taught as visiting professor at Duke University and Temple University, Philadelphia (1970). He has received numerous awards and distinctions.
He has presented his work in many solo and group exhibitions and participated in major international events (Moscow 1957, Zagreb 1964), the Biennale of Alexandria (1968; 1st prize in Sculpture), the Biennale of Sao Paolo (1969), etc.
One major example among his numerous monumental creations for public spaces is the monument to “Alexander the Great” in Thessaloniki (1971-74), which comprises a mounted statue, the surrounding area and a relief depicting the “Battle of Issus”.