George Vakirtzis (1923-1988)

George VakirtzisBorn in Mytilene, George Vakirtzis studied arts in the Art School of Athens and at the École des Beaux-arts of Paris, France, where he chose to specialise in graphic arts and the art of engraving. He held the position of art director for ‘Scouras Films’ and the advertising company ‘Gnomi Anonymous’, as well as collaborating in the visual department with ‘Finos Films’, the Greek Tourist Organization and the Summer Festivals. During that time –from 1945 up until about 1964, he created numerous giant posters for Athenian movie-houses, as well as a large number of posters for consumer products, films, theatrical plays, lectures and social issues. His descriptive technique, relied on the use of intense, vivid colours, rejuvenated and updated the promotional aspect of cinema and the street-poster in such a way as to attract and at the same time show respect for the public he was addressing. This innovative conception of advertising depiction took what was considered to be a cheap form of painting to a brand new, exceptional, artistic and ideological plateau.

From 1964 onwards, Vakirtzis became involved in the creation of a series of modern expressionistic works of social nature with man as the dominating theme in order to express his ideological beliefs and negative attitude towards the over commercialisation of his art work. These works of art are defined by a strong anti-war, humanistic, socially groundbreaking, and critically sarcastic style. This period indicates his repulsion towards the giant poster, along with a shift towards a spiritual and artistic independence. Totally representative of this period is Monologue, a piece of work that uses an intensely realistic critical point of view to expose a major social problem of our times: inner loneliness and the inability to communicate, i.e. the reclusiveness of man.