Joannis Avramidis

1922 Batumi, Georgia 1922 - 2016 2016 Vienna

Joannis Avramidis was a contemporary Austrian-Greek sculptor. He was born to Greek parents in Batumi on the coast of the Black Sea in 1922. There, he studied at the public school of art from 1937 until 1939. From 1939 until 1943, he lived in Athens, and in 1943, he would eventually go on to live in Vienna. Avramidis studied painting at the Akademie der bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) in Vienna as a student of Robin Christian Andersen and Fritz Wotruba. Avramidis achieved his international breakthrough in 1962, where he represented Austria at the Venice Biennale. In 1965-1966, Joannis Avramidis was the head of the figure drawing class at the academy in Vienna. During the following two years, he was a visiting professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste (University of Fine Arts) in Hamburg. From 1968 until 1992, Avramidis directed the master class for sculpture at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts.

Joannis Avramidis’ famous bronze sculptures

The artist is particularly famous for his partly life size and larger than life bronze sculptures that embody normative aesthetics. A lot of his works are exhibited in public spaces, e.g. in Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Athens. Avramidis mainly worked with bronze according to plaster models; he would later apply synthetic resin, or massive aluminium as well as copper and other materials. Joannis Avramidis’ sculptural work primarily refers to the human form and even in its maximum state of abstraction continues to maintain its reference to human shape and posture. His focus, however, is not the silhouette, but the “inner space of the body“ (1) – a strongly compressed and condensed body, which, even if applied in plurality, produces a compact form. Without sexual characteristics and a rounded off surface, his figures turn into de-individualised members of a group of columns merged into one. The artist only assigns physical features through a stylised, horizontal segmentation. His figural compositions unfold like trees up in the air. The tree as an autonomous subject would also occur in his work. In the 1960s, Avramidis increasingly followed up on the depiction of bodies in movement. The artistic examination of dynamics would eventually manifest itself in his reclining figures. Avramidis, who was married to sculptor and poet Annemarie Avramidis, died in Vienna in 2016.

(1) Werner Hoffmann, Avramidis. Der Rhythmus der Strenge (The Rythm of Strictness), Munich 2011, p. 10.