Stelios Faitakis (1976 – October 6, 2023) was renowned for his large-format paintings that evolved within the young Athenian graffiti scene of the 1990s. A graduate of the Athens School of Fine Arts, Faitakis used the techniques of Byzantine icon painting to create complex and elaborate visual metaphors questioning the values of contemporary society. During his short life and through his rich oeuvre, Faitakis broke new ground, combining contrasting narratives and traditions. Through his purely personal style, he has been recognized as one of Greece’s most important contemporary artists.

His intention was to offer viewers an opportunity to escape what he perceived as the strict rationalism of our times, as dictated by science and technology and the mechanization of human contact. Through his anthropocentric works, filled with surrealist elements, allegories and paradoxes, Faitakis creates enigmas while using irony, drama and metaphors, always in a harmonious balance.

Conceited Science, 2020, mixed media on wood

Rooted in the rich tradition of Byzantine art, Faitakis sought out and used a variety of artistic means from different backgrounds, including Mexican monumental painting, Tibetan art, Japanese manga, the Flemish school of painting and others, without reducing himself to a barren reproduction of other styles.

Thematically, the essence of his work is the study of the so-called “human condition”, which is linked to unanswered existential questions. In this context, his work draws on religion and spirituality, philosophy, other art forms, science, human interaction, history, etc., bringing all these elements together to create a complex narrative.

The Happy Slave, 2014, mixed media on wood

Faitakis’ works have been featured in various solo and group exhibitions in Greece and abroad, including: the 1st Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (RIBOCA1, 2018), Antidoron, exhibition at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens (EMST), in the context of Documenta 14, Kassel (2017), Right to the Future  at MISP – Museum of the 20th and 21st Century Art in St. Petersburg (2017), TEMPLON, exhibition at the Museum of Byzantine Culture, Thessaloniki (2017), Shared Sacred Sites, exhibition at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art (MOMus), Thessaloniki (2017), a large-scale mural on the façade of the Danish Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale (2011), and Art in the Street, exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA).

Paid in Full, 2019, mixed media on canvas

In 2016 Faitakis presented a mural project on the Palais de Tokyo building in Paris inspired by the May ’68 protests, in the context of Lasco Projects # 6, curated by Hugo Vitrani, drawing comparisons with contemporary socio-political unrest around the world. Particular attention was paid to the building’s structure, as the painter adapted his composition to the museum’s architectural elements, underlining the historical relationship between painting and architecture.

XtC, 2019, mixed media on wood

Stelios Faitakis’ most recent solo exhibition took place in 2018 at the Galerie Rabouan Moussion in Paris titled “Scientific Dogma”.

Source text and photos: Stelios Faitakis Facebook page

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Translated from the original article which appeared on Grèce Hebdo (Intro image: In the Service of Progress, 2018, mixed media on wood)