Yannoulis Halepas

Best known for his sculpture, Sleeping Woman (1877) at the First Cemetery in Athens, Yianoulis Halepas (Tinos, 1851-Athens, 1938) is one of Greece’s most important sculptors. He studied at the School of Fine Arts in Athens and the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich. His early work reflects the conservative spirit prevalent in the late 19th century. He later turned his back on academicism and became more daring, concentrating on an investigation of form and composition and allowing a certain expressiveness to enter his work. He led a tempestuous life, interrupted by a 13-year period spent in Psychiatric Clinic of Corfu.  In 1901 he returned to Tinos but produced no work until after the death of his mother in 1916. Virtually no work from this period was completed in marble. Clay models have survived and of course, countless drawings.  His preferred themes include subjects taken from ancient Greek mythology but also allegories, religious themes and portraits.  Recent exhibitions include: 2nd Athens Biennale (2009), Kalfayan Galleries (Thessaloniki, 2011/ Athens, 2010), Retrospective at the National Glyptoteque (Athens, 2007).

 

One can say without hesitation that drawing is the thread that passes through the whole of Halepas’ work, in terms of sculpture as well as personal expression, as a total and as a partial impression of this conception in a creative and artistic process. In his work, drawing exists and is developed consciously and systematically as a proposal, as a reconsideration of space and time, as a processing of life and memory, as perception and reconsideration of the world and reality and as a redefinition of the limits of meaning. Drawing becomes an unexpected approach to revealing him. It becomes conscience and the surfacing of his thought process and the cohesion that contains meaning beyond pre-decided concessions and pre-existing codes. These unprecedented functions that are activated by his drawing establish a drastically uncompromising and revitalizing relationship with 20th century Greek and European art. […]

 

Between Van Gogh and Artaud, Medardo Rosso and Brancusi, Rodin and de Chirico, Matisse and Giacometti, Halepas (after he exited the Corfu Mental Hospital, 1902, until his death, 1938) in an unparalleled way the issue of the continuity and discontinuity of form, the problem of continuity and discontinuity of man with himself, the organized imposition or the tragic rupture with family, with man’s history and mythology, his language and practices, his geography and artistic space, with his own life and its meaning.

Denys Zacharopoulos

 

 

Excerpts from the text of Denys Zacharopoulos, “The Drawing of Halepas or The Reconnection of Mind” in the book Yianoulis Halepas – 142 Freehand Drawings, Myron Bikakis & ypsilon/books, Athens, 2007, pp. 13, 20.

Photos

Drawings on pages of a ledger, Private Collection, Athens, Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki
Drawings on pages of a ledger, Private Collection, Athens, Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki
Drawings on pages of a ledger, Private Collection, Athens, Courtesy Kalfayan Galleries, Athens-Thessaloniki

Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennial), 2011 Biennale de Lyon