DENYS CHEVALIER

Denys Chevalier, Art Critic, founder of the Salon de la Jeune Sculpture, 1968
Zongolopoulos, XLV Venice Biennale, 1993

In terms of plasticity, the sculptor' s sensitivity is not only left in the personification of certain elements on flat plaques but also in their arrangement in solid volumes due to an instrumental method of development, which is as inevitable as the sprouting of leaves on a branch. Thus, the words of lexis, if you will, even Zongolopoulos' s speech have been affected by an emotional factor which is identical and at the same time effective. However, there is also another aspect of the artist' s plastic expression where I have noticed the traces of an unusual sensitivity. I would like to refer to the blanks that penetrated his "theme" like silence, like breath pauses, like punctuation. 

Since then, rhythm has had, in sculptor' s language, the significant place of an aesthetically promoting factor, an active motive, and to be more specific, a link whose role is to join the various phases of plastic development.

This is the reason why I suggest we should attribute the grand memorial to the heroic women of Zalongo to that unusual method of processing, although this is a work of an obviously anthropomorphic character, which had been studied by the sculptor since 1954 but was realised in 1960.

Homogeneity in structure is not sufficient to define a work as art. A real work of art cannot be lifeless; it has to feel like a vivid organism. In Zongolopoulos' s sculpture this is rhythm, as mentioned above, these are various rhythmic patterns. The sculptor instills the doubt and complexity of sensitive rhythmic patterns, which enliven his forms, into a deeply realistic unity produced by the morphological material that simple molds generate. Therefore, by repetition, succession or contrast, Zongolopoulos instills life into his material allowing light to run within like blood.

Indeed, the artist' s self-control, intellectual rigor and clarity of expression enable us to define the principles of his art.

It is this close relationship between the spirit and its materialization that mainly impressed me in Zongolopoulos' s latest works, which include not only the monuments he produced in Salonica or elsewhere, but also little models and sculptures.

For some years now I have noticed that, apart from a clear determination of volumes and a restriction of the number of the main forms, the artist has been dynamically working out the allocation of blank and non-blank spaces.

With the purity and stripping down of his original idea, with his economy of expression and the geometric rigor of his statements, the artist belongs to the first rank of contemporary artists who are struggling to create a sculpture that is based not on an immediacy influenced by the fluctuating trends of the times, but rather on something permanent belonging to both the past and the future.