1950-1955 Study Period

The study period includes life drawings and studies inspired from nature (still lifes, landscapes, nudes, portraits, e.t.c). The artist’s ease in drawing is definitely obvious in his early works, as well as a clear indication of his wish for simplification.

1958-1961 Rome

This period is the key to understanding his entire work. At this stage the origins and the progression of his professional development are being defined. He seeks new ideas and options and shapes his own artistic language. The artist has already found its mark and the ambiance of his artistic style. More specifically, this period includes oils and drawings; his interest is focused on the observation of natural phenomena and the laws that govern their natural transformation. Morphologically, the works of this category are characterized by a high mobility; while in terms of technique, the plastic art space is created by colourful thick paints poured directly from the tube and spread all over the canvas. Typical examples of these works are found in the unit bearing the general title "Walks", “Metamorphosis”, or “Nimbus”.

1961-1963 Paris

During this period the artist attempts to create a special plastic space using the work itself as a medium. To achieve this result he uses many small canvases as “building” materials, constructing a multilevel painting. Obvious is the “playfulness” of the whole construction. As ​​the artist himself stated, he came up with this idea from the element of one canvas on the wall which continued on a second one situated on top of the first and creating thus the impression of volume. As a result, these small paintings partly covering one another became elements of a larger composition, creating their own plastic space with the potential of evolving and changing constantly. A different version of this concept allows a wall to wall development of canvases, and a momentous transfer -of the canvases- from the surface of the wall to the floor (unrealized idea). As a result, the artistic work is revealed as an active and growing organism, which discloses indefinite, new and interesting variations. The series of works known as "Omogenesis" belongs to this category along with a complete series of works realized through the use of a variety of materials such as pencils, Indian ink, colored crayons, tempera and watercolors. The artist’s philosophy and poetic essence could be recognized in these works.

1965-1971 Period of spiral writing

The artist creates a writing of free gestural patterns in flowing movement, which evolves across the surface of the white background. This results in an endless sequence of sensitive optical correlations. This writing is tested in various versions, with determinants and coordinates the following top three works:

a. The Cubes (1965): This work echoes the toy as well as the structure, as a building unit of plastic space. The artist has captured these cubes as a simple structure toy, which, according to the player’s movements and the random correlations of cubes in space, offers each time a wide variety of combinations and new visual solutions.

b. Roman Pictural (1968): Roman Pictural promotes the wide dissemination of artistic content and rejects the individuality as a unique proof of authenticity. Using as a basis the structure of a "cheap" pocket book, the "Roman Pictural" is a listing of visual impressions, a visual narration of free linguistic associations, of which the plot develops sequentially through the ever-evolving flow of spiral writing. One should note that the «Roman Pictural» constitutes an interesting and unique artistic proposal worldwide.

c. Calendar (1971): The calendar is an artistic concept of the time flow, exploring the meanings of the ephemeral and the permanent, the finite and the eternal, the here and the beyond. The project was simple and ingenious at the same time. On a cube, with 50 cm sides, 5,500 sheets were placed imprinted with spiral writing, and in a subtle gradation of colours and a variety of hues. The work was designed to gradually disappear with the daily removal of a page, to vanish as a common calendar.

1975 Votive offerings

Dimitris Condos, using a combination of painting and sculpture, created a series of objects which served as votive offerings. These works are charged ideologically and carry explicit references to the social and political events of the '60s and especially the populist slogans of the era and the flamboyant style of the Military Junta (Dictatorship 1967-1974). In these works the artist uses the mechanisms of fanaticism and piety to highlight various phenomena of social divergence, or to comment on the influence of the new enforcement powers upon large social groups. These new powers, engraved on small metal plates of offerings, substitute classic worship symbols. The relationship with the subject depicted on the metal plates is analogous to the one encountered in the idol-worshipper system. The artist considers these critical matters with a skeptic and ironic eye, as one can witness in works like “The Greens”, “The Horseracing”, “Happyhair”, “Soccer Eleven”. Sometimes he uses the directness of a daring harsh language, as it is done in the triptych "Farmers, Workers, Students” or in the “Legs”. The works are made of different metals (aluminum, copper, brass) and "decorated" with additional diverse materials (beads, mirrors, necklaces, headbands, etc.). All the votive offerings were engraved and cut by the artist himself.

1993 Tribute to the Full Moonset

The last work of Dimitris Condos is a series of nine (9) silk-screens (1st edition, Publications "Paratiritis" 1993, Offset Technique, 150 numbered prints) referring to the moon as a subject. Ιn a poetic and highly sensitive way, the artist presents the entire cycle of the lunar phases, from the moment the new moon occurs until it wanes and the light is completely gone. More specifically the Album “A Tribute to the Full Moonset” consists of eight silkscreens and one poem, operating as a complex narrative consisting of images and discourse, following the passage of the moon in all its successive phases. The artist exhibited his work in the gallery “Paratiritis” in 1993 in Thessaloniki.
In September of 2011, his daughter Vagelio Condou reprinted the Album at Anestis and Nikos Kiriakidis Graphic Art Studio, “Graphicon” (Athens), in 31 numbered and 5 E/A Giclee Prints, printed on Hahnemühle’s Museum Etching 350 gr. Paper. All the new series carry the artist’s printed signature and his daughter’s original signature; they are numbered and certified.

1974-1975 Unrealized artistic projects

Dimitris Condos was particularly interested in exploring the popular culture and grasping the Greek popular tradition. Maybe he was seeking to give a Modern Greek identity to the ideology of pop art. The Votive Offerings and his ideas Super Market and Kiosk, which he never completed, are in accordance with this line of thinking.

A. The Supermarket: The Supermarket is ideologically connected to the “Votive Offerings” but in a broader sense. Dimitris Condos’ ambitious idea was to create a real Art Supermarket. This would serve as a giant department store, arranged as a real supermarket, with products and by-products of culture. On the shelves of this quirk Mall the fanatic art “consumer" could find not only modern varieties of art in mass production, but also mass re-productions of ancient civilization “goods”, highlighting in this way the decline of moral values and the commercialization of everything. Congruent with this commercial "exploitation" was the idea of canning all the ancient tragedies, transforming the intellectual value and leverage into cheap decorative ornaments. Piero Manzoni, who in 1961 created 90 small cans of garbage sealed with the text Artist’s Shit, commented ironically on the overrated art. Condos, on the other hand, had a clearly broader social goal, to awaken the people, to comment on a society which shamelessly and on a daily basis converts its values into cultural trash. Condos had a radical – and unfortunately always up to date – idea, which, were it realized, might have given a new dimension to the history of mass pop culture.

B. Kiosk: Following the idea of commercialization and cultural transformation, Condos wanted to ​​build a Kiosk, a newsstand, where everything in it – newspapers, magazines, refreshment cans, chocolate and candy wrapping paper, etc – would be drawn and designed by the artist himself, using his characteristic spiral writing. Its study and construction, though lower in cost than the “Supermarket”, failed to be realized. Thus, many individual elements from the above two proposals, passed eventually to the ''Votive Offerings”.

C. Chess: Chess is a concept based on the typical intellectual game along with the viewer’s participation as an equal co-art player. This artistic approach aimed at redefining the intellectual identity of the game. Unfortunately, the project was never completed, but there are clear indications of the size and shape that the artist had imagined, and some samples in plaster of the key figures and pawns.

D. Karagiozis: Karagiozis is the main character of the tales narrated in the Turkish and Greek shadow theatre. The name “Karagiozis” is from the greek word “Καραγκιόζης”, borrowed from the Turkish word “Karagioz” which means “dark eye”. It is quite unclear how the artist wanted to use the figure of Karagiozis, and how he wanted to use and integrate it within a contemporary artistic proposal. We know, however, that during the Junta, Condos wrote a script of satirical nature based on the shadow theatre, in which the main character is “Karagiozis”. This was presented to students in the Polytechnic University. Enigmatic, also, remains the creative use of the “Karagiozis” figure in two sculptural versions, with recognizable references to the original popular model. The first one is a small 17cm bronze figure and the second one is an enlarged 120 cm figure in plaster. This second version is quite interesting because, due to the unique element of its gigantic size and the overthrow of the traditional scale, it differs from the original pop model and acquires its own intriguing presence.

This closes the circle of the Dimitris Condos’ creative process phases. Condos started his artistic progression with the investigation of nature (physis = φύση) and the observation of natural phenomena, and finally ended with the devaluation of everything and the meta-physical transformation of the market economy.

Excerpts from D.Condos' Retrospective Catalogue which was published for the Retrospective Exhibition that was held at the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art at Thessaloniki in December 2007.

Art Curator / Texts : Maria Kotzamani (1936-2012)