Stephen Antonakos (1926 – 2013)
Stephen Antonakos ( 1926 – 2013)

Mit großer Trauer geben wir bekannt, dass Stephen Antonakos am 17. August 2013 aus dem Leben geschieden ist.

Wir alle von der Konrad Fischer Galerie möchten seiner Familie und allen Angehörigen unser tiefes Beileid aussprechen.

Stephen Antonakos Tod im Alter von 86 Jahren kam plötzlich und unterbrach ein aktives künstlerisches Leben, das in den 1950er Jahren begann. Bekannt ist er für seine abstrakten, dreidimensionalen Neonarbeiten, die seit den 60ern bis heute entstanden. Antonakos bezeichnete seine Arbeiten als „reale Dinge in realen Räumen“ und schloss damit die Illusion, Symbolhaftigkeit oder Repräsentation aus. Die Aktivierung des Raumes sowohl durch die Kunst als auch durch den Betrachter, die spezielle architektonische Anordnung der Formen liess die Neonarbeiten über Jahrzehnte für Raffinesse und
manchmal auch für spirituelle Kraft stehen.

Neben den Neon Arbeiten entstanden Künstlerbücher, Reliefs, Collagen, Arbeiten auf Papier und Transparentpapier, oft gefaltet, zerschnitten, zerknittert. Unlängst zeigte er zerknitterte Blattgold – Papierarbeiten, die seine Tradition der Untersuchung des Lichts fortsetzten.

Eine Auswahl seiner zahlreichen Ausstellungen in den USA und in Europa wären z.B. “Ten Outdoor Neons, Fort Worth,” 1974; Documenta 6, 1977; “Chapel of the Saints,” 1993, Rhodes; Venice Biennale, 1997;
Marzona Collection, Hamburger Bahnhof; A Retrospective, 2007-8,
Athens, org. by the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation; and “The Search,”
2011, Elefsina. Shows in 2013 include paper work at The Drawing Room,
East Hampton; the early “Pillows” at Lori Bookstein Fine Art, Chelsea; the 1965 “Hanging Neon” in “Dynamo” at the Grand Palais; and “4 Directions” at the Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin.

Über 50 Arbeiten im öffentlichen Raum sind unter anderen in Athen, Bari, Dijon, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, New York, Odessa, Tel Aviv, Tokyo und Seattle installiert.

Arbeiten von Antonakos sind in vielen internationalen renommierten privaten und öffentlichen Sammlungen vertreten wie Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The National Gallery in D.C., and the National Museums of Contemporary Art in Athen und Thessaloniki.

2011 wurde sein Lebenswerk von der National Academy of Art and Museum sowie der Greek American Foundation ausgezeichnet.

Antonakos wurde am 1. November 1926 in einem kleinen griechischen Dorf in Lakonien geboren. Er kam im Alter von 4 Jahren mit seinen Eltern Thomas und Evangelia und seinen Brüdern Bill, Peter und Tony und seiner Schwester Kanella nach New York. Antonakos hinterlässt seine Frau Naomi Spector und seine Tochter Evangelia Mary Spector, eine Mathematikerin und seinen Sohn Stephen B. Antonakos, einen Musiker und viele liebende Angehörige und Freunde.

Stephen Antonakos (1926-2013)

It is with great sadness that we mark the death of Stephen Antonakos on Saturday, August 17, 2013.
An extraordinary artist and an exceptional friend, Antonakos will be profoundly missed by the many people whose lives he touched.
We will never forget his rigorous mind, generosity of spirit, and warm smile.

All of us at Konrad Fischer Galerie extend our deepest sympathies to the Antonakos family and those they hold dear.

Stephen Antonakos, 86, died suddenly August 17th, interrupting a life in art active since the 1950s.

Known for his abstract, spatial work with neon from 1960 to the present, Antonakos defined his work as “real things in real spaces” — avoiding representation, illusion, symbolism. The activation of the space occupied by both the art and the viewer, and the crucial architectural placement of forms, were defining characteristics of decades of work that redefined neon as capable of great formal subtlety and, often, spiritual power. In addition to the neonwork,there are Artist’s Books, reliefs, collages, prints, and an enormous history of drawings on paper and vellum — often folded, cut, layered, or crumpled. Recent series of cut or crumpled gold leaf sheets continued his investigation into questions of light.

Since the 1960s he has exhibited in New York and across the US and in Europe in hundreds of shows. Among the outstanding exhibitions were “Ten Outdoor Neons, Fort Worth,” 1974; Documenta 6, 1977; “Chapel of the Saints,” 1993, Rhodes; Venice Biennale, 1997; Marzona Collection, Hamburger Bahnhof; A Retrospective, 2007-8, Athens, org. by the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation; and “The Search,” 2011, Elefsina. Shows in 2013 include paper work at The Drawing Room, East Hampton; the early “Pillows” at Lori Bookstein Fine Art, Chelsea; the 1965 “Hanging Neon” in “Dynamo” at the Grand Palais; and “4 Directions” at the Konrad Fischer Galerie, Berlin. Over 50 Public Works have been installed in such cities as Athens, Bari, Dijon, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, New York, Odessa, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, and Seattle.

Antonakos’s work is represented in numerous private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The National Gallery in D.C., and the National Museums of Contemporary Art in Athens and Salonica.

In 2011 he received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Academy of Art and Museum, and from the Greek American Foundation.

A modest man of great gentleness and sensitivity, he made bold, original investigations into the open experience of form, color, and light in space.

Antonakos was born November 1, 1926 in the small Greek village of Agios Nikolaos, Laconia. He often mentioned remembering the sunrises there. He came to New York at the age of 4 with his parents Thomas and Evangelia (Gregory), his brothers Bill, Peter, and Tony, and his sister Kanella. He is survived by his wife Naomi Spector, his children Stephen B Antonakos, a musician, and Evangelia Mary Spector Antonakos, a mathematician, and many loving relatives and friends. We will miss his energy and his warmth.

Photograph: Eleni Mylonas, 2012