Athanasios (Thanasi) Papapostolou is a sculptor who divides his time between the Washington DC metro area and Madison WI. He received an M.F.A. from the Graduate School of Figurative Art of the New York Academy of Art, a B.F.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, a 4 Year Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and has studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, Italy.
Thanasi is a contemporary figurative sculptor whose work synthesizes classical forms with the conceptual experiential movement of the present through the placement of figurative and architectural pieces in dialogue with one another. His sculptural installations challenge perceptions of figurative art by removing the human figure from the viewer’s day-to-day experience and re-positioning it within a controlled context. His major exhibitions are characterized by the use of the human figure to explore notions of idealism (of form, structure, and human emotion).
In addition to life-size statues and contemporary installations, his work includes table-top pieces, reliefs, and portrait busts. His keen observation of the human form and complete command of the technical skills of sculpture allow his work to possess a unique grace and sensitivity. He is also a master draughtsman who focuses, in particular, on figurative and architectural studies.
His work can be found in various private collections in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Greece as well as art institutions such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He has received grants from the New York Academy of Art as well as the prestigious Cresson Grand Tour Grant for study in Europe and has held an Honorary Fellowship in the Art Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a member of the National Sculpture Society.
Eikona/image is a sculptural installation which confronts the dilemma/crisis of self-projection in today’s socially-oriented world. Entering the gallery, the viewer steps into a contemplative space, where controlled lighting recasts the mind from the outside world and refocuses the senses away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Amorphous herms mark the way through, delimiting the area of the installation, whilst prompting reflection on the relationship between anonymity and individuality.
As one proceeds, the fleshy, corporal nature of human existence comes more sharply into focus. A male and female herm flank Eikona and emphasize different aspects of the human experience. Eikona herself is an exploration of the tension between idealism and realism, a life-size figurative examination of the universality of human beauty that is transcendent of gender, race, or class. Experienced together the pieces explore the phenomenon of image making as a vital human impulse and the use of the human form as a body for external and internal reflection. Through the redirection of contemporary and classical figurative sculptural forms within the installation context, this installation poses the questions: Who are we? Who do we wish to be?
Anamnesis (recollection) explores the intimate relationship between figurative sculpture, space, and the viewer. A life-size statue is placed within a specially designed architectural space (a cenotaph) that serves to animate the figure and control the experiential properties of its viewing. The male figure, drawing on the morphology of classical art, has an androgynous stance that explores the idealism of form. Placed in a cenotaph under a shaft of light from above the figure is transformed from an individual statue into a philosophical vehicle for reflection that takes its inspiration from Plato’s discussion of eidos (beauty, form, nature). The quasi-religious setting of the cenotaph—that, here, is designed to follow the founding principles of classical architecture: of symmetry and continuity, of order, of the parts resembling and completing the whole—provides a contemplative space that serves as a bridge between a corporal reality and a pure sense of being.
Figure studies from life provide an excellent way to refine understanding of anatomy and hone the rendering of human form. It is the fundamental skill of the classically-trained artist.
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VisArts, 155 Gibbs Street, 2nd floor studios, Rockville, MD 20850