Stephen Antonakos’ new works in gold and marble is on display – for the first time ever – at the renowned Konrad Fischer Galerie Berlin in Germany.
The exhibit, which opened on March 8, is called Four Directions and will run until April 20.
A Greek American artist, Antonakos’ work has been exhibited internationally for five decades in over 250 group shows and 100 solo shows, including a major retrospective in Greece and the United States in 2007. More than 50 of his large scale public works have been installed in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.
A pioneer in the field of neon light, his sculptures can be found at museums in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Tacoma, Denver, Amherst and Atlanta.
Born in a mountain village in Laconia, Greece, Antonakos immigrated to the United States with his parents when he was just a baby. He grew up in New York and began painting and working with neon in the late 1950s.
His work is related to Minimalism in its intention to be seen as “real things in real space in the here and now”. He has a particular interest in bringing the architecture and the space of the site into the viewer’s experience
Since the early 1960s Antonakos’ geometric forms in neon have been exhibited in his Canvases, Panels, Walls, Rooms, and outdoor Public Installations. Throughout, the interaction of light and space has been central. A formalist, but not a didactic one, he calls his work “real things in real spaces”.
The Konrad Fischer Galerie Berlin has reconstructed a classic neon Wall from 1977. This work is titled Fragments of a Circle and it’s 3m by 5m and exemplifies how the work’s engagement with the proportions of the room is as crucial as the internal relations of its elements. This is visible also in the exhibition’s second and third Directions.
Begun in 2011, framed works of gold leaf on Mylar and Tyvek – whether cut or crumpled – may be seen as further rich explorations of reflected light within a determined space. No less than the two brand-new gold leaf Volumes, these radiant planes are not images, but objects.
Another, even newer material for Antonakos is the white marble of “Interlock 1”. Deeply incised with incomplete circles and squares that hold light and shadow, this work sits on the floor and leans on the wall, manifesting both the consistency of the artist’s concerns and their great visual and material variety.