“Delphic Light” an extraordinary modern sculpture
One of the most incredible works of modern Greek sculpture adorn Delphi. The “Delphic Light” was created by the sculptor Gerasimos Sklavos (1927-1967) during the 1965-1966 period and is erected in the garden area of the “Amalia” hotel at Delphi.
It is a work of art dedicated to the light of Delphi, as the sculptor would say, “Delphi set my soul ablaze”, which was created from the same fire with a special technique.
“Delphic Light” was the theme of the Greek stamp of the Europa CEPt of 1987.
About the sculptor
Sklavos Gerasimos was born in 1927 at Ntomata in the island of Kefalonia and died in 1967 at Levallois-Perret, a Paris suburb in France.
He was a sculptor of “large volumes”, with international recognition and unexpected end. He is considered one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century frequantly descripted as “the greatest sculptor of the 20th century after Giacometti”.
He studied close to Michael Tompros (1950-1956) and continued his studies in Paris with a scholarship from Greek Scholarship Agency (IKY) until 1960. Though his artistic life, he drew inspiration from nature and its elements, working primarily with hard materials (granite, quartzite, marble, porphyry and rarely with iron or wood), creating prominent compositions, especially in the context of the geometric and in some cases organic abstraction.
On a plate of pentelic marble will pave the manifesto of his art:
A’ workshop of sculpture – On Earth or in space with light sun, lightning, fire – self-managed or teledirected – Olympia Acropolis, Delphi – Light the beginning of the creation of the universe – light – movement – velocity = light – interplanetary light – infinite dimensions – Audio recognition in space – SKLAVOS.
Back in 1960 he invented a machine that ejects oxygen and acetylene so he could work and engrave extremely hard stones such as porphyry stone of Egypt and granites of Brittany. The technique was called “tele glyptiki”.
The first distinction for the young sculptor came in 1961 when he won first prize at the Biennial of young artists in Paris. The same year, Christian Zervos organized the first exhibition at the gallery Cahiers d ‘Art of Paris followed by many solo shows during his lifetime and posthumously.
He also participated in major group exhibitions, including Panhellenic exhibitions, Paris Salons, the Antwerp Biennale of Sculpture (1961) and the Sao Paulo Biennale of the same year, the Paris Biennale Internationale des Jeunes Artistes in 1961 and 1963, in which he won first place in sculpture as well as receiving the young artists award, “Seven Trends in Contemporary Sculpture” (Sept Tendances de la Sculpture Contemporaine) in the gallery “Cahiers d’Art”, Paris (1963) and the international modern sculpture exhibition “Exposition Internationale de Sculpture Contemporaine” at the Rodin Museum (1966). His work has also been posthumously presented in major group exhibitions.
During 1965-1966 creates the famous sculpture of Pentelic marble “the light of Delphi” which was erected at Delphi. He writes about this work: “In Delphi, my soul illuminated. What rules is light. You must run because the light is little and it will end. Run, run, the light spreads itself and you’re alone”.
The following year he held his last solo show at Hilton Athens, while creating the sculpture of gray granite “A friend that did not stay there” that will prove fatal to his life. On the evening of January 28, 1967 there was no light in his art studio because of a scorched security. Trying to climb in the bedroom on the top floor, he stumbled to the massive sculpture. The sculpture twisted and fall on him, crushing his chest and neck. Gerasimos Sklavos was killed by his own creation!