Dekoulakos Elias (1929 - 1998)

He was born in 1929 in Athens. He studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts, in Andreas Georgiadis’ studio (graduated in 1956), and he also studied with Spyros Papaloukas (in his private studio) for two years.
His first works were part of the aesthetic vibe of the '50s, but by the early ‘60s he had turned to abstraction. His first solo exhibition (Zygos gallery, 1963), demonstrated the process of this shift, which bore an ideological tint: the adoption of abstract forms by a painter with leftist political beliefs was something extremely daring during that time, or at least that was the case in Greece.
The need to criticize the social and political reality, soon made him give up abstraction. This change of direction was the product of mature thought and informed choice, something that applies to his entire course as an artist. This gradually led to a striking form of photographic realism with the airbrush technique and politically symbolic content. The presentation of these works in 1973 caused the interference of police and was considered one of the most ground-breaking artistic demonstrations against dictatorship. At the same time, he was involved in photography itself, as a means of creating images.
The photo-realistic style dominates the next phase of his work as well, where the simplified large forms (fruits and metal pipes) depict symbolically the conflict between man and nature (1979). Shortly after, he turns to more complex expressive mediums, constructions and installations, whilst maintaining his intense and often scathing vein in full (1984).
Meanwhile, he had been elected professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1982). Teaching art was something that concerned him since the days he taught at the Athens Technological Institute (1960-1968), and later on, at his private workshop (1969-1972). He finally resigned his post (1988), disagreeing with the conditions that prevailed at ASFA at the time.
The latest shift in his painting was manifested a few years later, when he exhibited the large landscape compositions of his hometown, Mani (1992), paintings of rich colour volume and texture that little resembled his previous works.
He was a member of the art groups ‘Alfa’ and ‘Group for Communication and Education in Art’, as well as a member of the Association of Contemporary Art.
A decade after his death (Athens, 1998), a retrospective exhibition for both his painting periods was organized at the National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation (2008), as well as an exhibition of his coloured photographs (2009). A monograph on his work was also published (2009).