Biographical note

I was born in 1930 and passed my childhood years in an Athens of summertimes, full of flaming noondays, yellow, arid, dangerous, poor, Hellenocentric, fascistic. Between the ages of ten and fifteen I lived through the war, the German occupation, then the civil war, the desperate struggle for survival in a world of the dead, the maimed, the wretched, of unscrupulous and debased beggars and traitors, but also of proud, lapsed communist fighters. From fourteen to eighteen I worked like a slave, as assistant to important scenic artists of the cinema. Eighteen years old, I entered the Athens School of Fine Arts where for six years I was taught conventional academic Art, without elevated aesthetics and under desperate economic conditions. But I did know friendship and erotic love, and I supported them with superlative enthusiasm and passion. At the age of 24, I began obligatory military service and thus lost two of the best years of my life. In those two lost years, however, I did two or three wonderful paintings, I learned Italian, and was awarded a three-year national scholarship that allowed me to leave Greece as a cultural emigrant.
In 1957, I married an interesting and beautiful woman, Fania Kaplanidou, who was academically and socially far more developed than I was, and I owe her a lot, because until her death in 1968 she helped me to stand on my feet and she gave me our only daughter, the continuation of my material existence. For eleven years we lived together the miracle of Rome and of Paris.
But there, in about 1964 or '65, something inside me changed without my being able to define it (my patriotic responsibilities perhaps) and while everything until then had been for me, both in my life and in Art, coincidental and spontaneous, suddenly it all became conscious and deliberate. I began to control my emotions, my desires, my work. And then, unexpectedly, came success.
A success that I owe to Michael and Ileana Sonnabend, but also to certain art dealers who believed in me. Belgium, Italy and Germany supported me and began to buy my works, to write about me, and to organize exhibitions, to become my friends. The French, however, were wary of me. In all the vast Parisian world of Art, I made only two friends. José Pierre, at the beginning of my career, and later, Pierre Restany. The others were mere acquaintances.
In 1971, I left for Berlin where I lived, worked, and exhibited for eighteen years in a different reality.
So, from 1971 to '72, I lived with Eleni (my co-worker and the mature love of my life) and my daughter Maya, together as a family in Berlin on a DAAD scholarship. When I returned to Paris there came into my life a person of fateful importance to my international career, Alexandre Iolas, who would then leave my life in 1986, shortly before his death. In 1973, Eleni and Maya returned to Athens and, for twelve whole years, I lived between Paris and Athens, gradually neglecting my international presence and emphasizing my presence in Greece.
Was it a mistake? From one point of view it surely was. But from another, perhaps not. What would have become of me if I had lived as a perpetual exile in Paris or New York? And what did I actually do in Greece, among genuine friends and enemies? That question will never be answered and will always torment me.
Since my decisive return to Greece in 1985, I have done many pieces. Some good, some fair, some bad. Among them some twenty have assumed the responsibility of preserving my name and, I would like to believe, preserving the Greek contribution to universal Art during the years I have lived, and yet live.
But there comes a time when the today, the present day, has no more room for you, or when it doesn't want you, and its images change and interchange so rapidly that you don't have time to record and refine them. Yesterday alone seems unmoving, like a pillar of salt, and thus permits you to see it, to comprehend it, and to work on it. Tomorrow will perhaps give you some time for observation, until it falls upon you like an avalanche and carries you away, burying you. At one time it was you who became the present, the today, or so you thought. And you were assured of a place in the past, transformed from a living organism into a typically indicative arc, usually deceptive, therefore hopeful. Because every accurate prediction kills the unexpected. And isn't it only and always from Art that we expect the unexpected?

In 2010, the Museum that bears my name opened in Tinos. There (with Chrysanthi Koutsouraki who directs the Museum) we curate and exhibit a different period of my work, which helps my self-knowledge and brings me into contact with a different public that I hadn't known until then. I mean people for whom Art is either a rare luxury or something that doesn't concern them, or at least hasn't concerned them. But these people are sometimes moved by my work and by my writings, and they don't hesitate to say so and to show it.


1965 Athens: Hilton Gallery 1969 Ghent: R. Foncke Gallery Cologne: Werner Gallery 1970 Paris: I. Sonnabend Gallery Milan: Sant’ Andrea Studio Ghent: R. Foncke Gallery Brussels: Defacqz Gallery Cologne: Hake Gallery 1971 Brussels: Palais des Beaux Arts Athens: Goethe Institut Berlin: Springer Gallery Frankfurt: Lichter Gallery Cologne: Reckermann Gallery 1972 Ghent: R. Foncke Gallery Berlin: Ehemalige Galerie Des 20 Jahrhunderts Dusseldorf: Kunsthalle 1973 Athens: Iolas-Zoumboulakis Gallery Paris: Alexander Iolas Gallery 1974 Bielefeld: Marzona Gallery Milan: Alexander Iolas Gallery 1975 Thessaloniki: Ζ.Μ. (book-object) Gallery 1976 Milan: Studio Sant’ Andrea Brussels: New Smith Gallery Paris: Alexander Iolas Gallery Athens: Iolas-Zoumboulakis Gallery 1977 Athens: Desmos Gallery New York: Iolas Gallery Cologne: Der Spiegel Gallery 1978 Hydra: Miranda Gallery Berlin: Nothelfer Gallery Bern: Aktionsgalerie Bern Brussels: Gogeime Gallery 1979 Milan: Studio Sant’ Andrea Athens: Desmos Gallery 1980 Alexandreia: Sala Comunale d’ Arte Contemporanea (Ι) Athens: Miranda Gallery 1981 Thessaloniki: Ζ.Μ. Gallery Athens: Horaisma Gallery 1982 Bergamo: Dossi Gallery Brussels: Michel Vokaer Gallery 1983 Athens: 3 Gallery Athens: Pierides Gallery New York: Iolas Gallery 1984 Athens: Intervention in Plaka Thessaloniki: MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art Athens: Artio Gallery Athens: Zoumboulakis Gallery 1985 Athens: Zoumboulakis Gallery 1986 Costas Tsoclis, Grecia - XLII Esposizione Internationale d' Arte Venice: La Biennale di Venezia Arte e Scienza 1987 Rhodes: Castello 1988 Athens: Zoumboulakis Gallery Rome: Arco di Rab Thessaloniki: MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art Patras: 3rd Patras International Festival Stafidapothikes Paris: Beau Lezard Gallery 1989 Athens: Zoumboulakis Gallery Paris: FIAC (individual presentation) Troyes: Cadran Solaire 1990 Los Angeles: Mixografia Rome: Arco di Rab Brussels: Pascal Polar Gallery Treviso: Villa Domenica Athens: Zoumboulakis Gallery Ghent: Stenboch-Fermor Gallery 1991 Athens: Ekfrasi Gallery Thessaloniki: French Institute & Artforum Gallery Patras: Epikentro Gallery Cyprus: Argo Gallery SOLO ΕΧΗΙΒΙΤΙΟΝS 142 143 1992 Athens: Agathi Gallery 1993 Thessaloniki: Milos Brussels: Pascal Polar Gallery Vasilia: ART FAIR Athens: ART FAIR Athens: Kreonides Art Space Santorini: Vedema 1994 Brussels: Park Tourney Solvay Patras: Epikentro Gallery 1995 Thessaloniki: Lola Nikolaou Gallery Andros: Petros and Marika Kydoniefs Foundation 1996 Rome: Palazzo delle Esposizioni Perugia: Rocca Paolina Center Athens: Kreonides Art Space Copenhagen: Art at home Athens: Epikentro Gallery Athens: Contemporary Art Center Ileana Tounta 1997 Thessaloniki: Milos Thessaloniki: Lola Nikolaou Gallery Athens: Eumenous Stoa 1998 Athens: Astrolavos Gallery 1999 Thessaloniki: Lola Nikolaou Gallery Piraeus: Astrolavos Gallery 2000 Prato: Centro per l'Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci Athens: Astrolavos Gallery Athens: Underground Park - Installation at the metro station, Ethniki Amyna 2001 Syros: Municipal Gallery Athens: National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens: Frissiras Museum 2002 Thessaloniki: Lola Nikolaou Gallery 2003 Istanbul: Tophane, Mimar Sinan Fine Art University Florence: Palazzo Strozzi Berlin: Bewag Athens: Ikastikos Kiklos 2004 Athens: National Museum of Contemporary Art – Transcultures Athens: Ikastikos Kiklos 2005 Thessaloniki: In the framework of the exhibition «Cosmopolis», Museum of Modern Art-Costakis collection 2006 Athens: “Conclusive Oedipus”, Benaki Museum Thessaloniki: “Objects – Situations 1970”, Lola Nikolaou Gallery Delphi: “Irene”, Cultural Amphictyony, 2006, European Cultural Centre of Delphi Tinos: “Reflections”, Monasteries, Exomburg Festival 2007 Athens: “Draft” - Ikastikos Kiklos Kavala: “Oedipus”, Municipality of Kavala – 50 Years Filippi Festival 2008 Athens: Astrolavos Gallery 2009 Piraeus: “Living Painting 1985-2009”, Sholion 2010 Istanbul: “Prometheus’ imprudence”, Sismanoglu Megaro Andros: “1930…”, Petros and Marika Kydoniefs Foundation 2012 Spinalonga: “Τsoclis, you the last leper” Visual and social intervention on the island of Spinalonga 2013 Athens: Presentation of the Spinalonga intervention, with speeches by Bruno Cora, Katerina Koskina, Nikos Finokaliotis, by the artist, artworks and video-documentary presentation at the Athens Concert Hall (Megaron). Event coordinator: Efi Andreadi 2014 Athens: "Vandalism as a source of inspiration", Astrolavos Gallery "Artemis" On the occasion of the Greek Presidency of the European Union, the Organizing Committee for the «Greek Semester 2014 at CCR, Ispra, SalaVeratti, Musei Civici Varese 2015 "Tsoclis 85 Elements for the creation of potential masterpieces", Athens Concert Hall (Megaron) 2017 Luxembourg: "Variations sur l'origine du monde", Sofronis Arts,  Paphos: “Ten Points of Vision”, art installation at Petra tou Romiou (Aphrodite's Rock), participating in the programme "Paphos - European Capital of Culture” Tinos: “The Sea As I Remember It”, Costas Tsoclis Museum
2019: Triple presentation of the work and thought of Costas Tsoclis in the church of Santa Verdiana, in the Florence School of Architecture. His speach, titled "Anche in fine, come in principio, il Logos sara", followed the performance "Tsoclis: Ourselves". Tinos: “Traces of Art”, Costas Tsoclis Museum. "C. Tsoclis. Artworks", Golden Gallery by Kapatays, Nicosia, Cyprus. 2020 Tinos: “Prayer”, Costas Tsoclis Museum

Group exhibitions

1956 Athens: “9 Yound Artists”, Athens French Institute U.S.A.: “Young Artists of the Near East” 1957 Athens: Panhellenic Exhibition, Alexandria Biennale 1959 Rome: “Salome dentate” Napoli: “Gruppo Sigma”, Galleria San Carlo 1960 Athens: Panhellenic Exhibition Paris: Salon des Realites Nouvelles Helsinki: “Peintres Grecs” Bologna: “Gruppo Sigma”, Galleria Il Cancello Thessaloniki: “Caras – Condos – Tsoclis” Athens: “Three new painters ΑΤΙ” 1961 Paris: “Salon des Realites Nouvelles” Paris: “Salon du Mineur – La mine et ses peintres” 1962 Paris: “Peintres et Sculpteurs Grecs de Paris” Biarritz: “Grand Prix de Peiture de Biarritz” Hydra: “Caras, Condos, Pavlos, Tsoclis”, Small shape 1963 Athens: “Kaniaris, Condos, Pavlos, Tsoclis”, Stegi Grammaton & Technon Thessaloniki: “Kaniaris, Condos, Pavlos, Tsoclis”, Techni Paris: Biennal Paris: L’ oeil de boeuf Athens: Panhellenic Exhibition Athens: “Young Greek Artists”, ΑΙCA 1964 Brussels: “Peinture Greque Contemporaine”, Palai des Beaux Arts Athens: “9 Greek Painters”, Hilton Gallery 1965 Sao Paolo: “Surrealismo & Arte Fantastica”, VII Biennale Paris: Biennal Paris: Salon des Comparaisons Athens: “Panhellenic” Athens: “Parallel transformations”, Astor Gallery Athens: “Object”, Merlin Gallery 1966 Belgrade: “4 Artists Grecs”, Umetnicki Paviljon 1967 Sao Paolo: Biennale Montreal: ΕΧΡΟ Paris: «Biennale de Paris» 1968 Berlin: “Avant-garde Griechenland” Athens: “Plastic Research”, KTE Art Gallery 1969 Frankfurt: “Avant-garde Griechenland” Paris: Creuze Gallery Athens: “4 contemporary views”, KTE Art Gallery 1970 Stockholm: “Surrealisme?”, Contemporary Art Museum Paris: 3eme Salon International des Galeries Pilotes Belgium: Galerie Ad Libitum “Pop Art”, Knokke Casino Communal Paris: “XI Salon Grands et Jenner d’ aujourd’hui”, Pavillon Baltard 1971 Paris: “Painting and Objects”, Galliera Museum Cologne: “Der Geist des Surreasismus”, Baukunst Cologne: Galerie Klang GROUP ΕΧΗΙΒΙΤΙΟΝS 144 145 1972 Stuttgart: Szene Berlin 1974 Knokke: “4eme Foire d’ Art Actuel” 1975 London: “Eight artists – eight attitudes – eight Greeks” Athens: “Art”, Macedonian Culture Society, “Greek painters of the 20th Century” 1976 & 1977 Paris: “Les Boites”, Α.R.C. – Rehn, Cultural Center Paris: “Daily Bull” Fondation Maegt, St. Paul de Vence – A.R.C. Aachen: Studio du Passage 44, Brussels, Newe Galerien Rome: “Scatola”, Gallerie dell’ Oca Roma Biennale de Charleroi, Fine Arts Museum, Kassel Documenta 1977 Warsaw: Wystawa Wspotezeruej sztuki Grechiej 1978 Athens: “Pictures of Greek Art”, Zappeion Brussels: Kunstwerken verwozven door de statt 1976-1977 Palais des Beaux Arts Dublin: “Contemporary Greek Painters” 1979 Athens: “Pictures of Greek Art", Zappeion 1982 Brussels: “Europalia Grece”, Palais des Beaux Arts Troyes: “Fasianos – Filolaos- Tsoklis”, Maison du Boulanger Nicosia: Exhibition of Greek painters Bergamo: “Verum-Factum”, Galleria Dossi 1983 Bari: “Dans la lumiere du Surrealisme” 1986 Athens: “Athens in Berlin”, Goethe Institute, Pierides Gallery Athens: “Physiognomy of Post War Greek Art”, Municipal Gallery Todi: “III Mostre Internazionale d’ Arte” 1987 Hannover: “Art ware Messe Ce Bit” Dusseldorf: “Landesmuseum und Wirtschaft” Athens: Panhellenic Art Exhibition 1988 Crete: “Art Symposium”, Minos Beach Rhodes: “Greek Art of the 20th century”, Rhodes Municipal Gallery 1989 “Odysseus”, Premiere Croisiere d’ Art Contemporain MTS 1990 Seoul: Seoul International Art Festival Hannover: Art Ware Paris: “Rencontres Internaitonales art – cinema, art – video” Brussels: “Collection Goldschmidt”, Musee d’ Art Moderne 1992 Madrid: ARCO ‘92 Athens: “Tsoclis – Stathopoulos”, Agathi Athens: Ionic Centre for Scientific, Cultural and Spiritual Study 1993 Liège: «Valises», Contemporary Art Museum Athens: «Art 1993» Metsovo: “The Tree”, Averof Gallery Basel: Art 24 ’93 Torino: “Art is life, so the By’s” 1994 Delphi: “European Sculpture Meeting” Corfu: “Practices of Patriotism”, National Gallery, Corfu Branch Paris: Biennale International du Film sur l’ Art, Centre G. Pompidou Metsovo: “The Tree”, Averof Gallery 1995 Erfurt: “Configura”, Dialog der Kulturen Metsovo: “Fish”, Averof Gallery Nicosia: Pierides Gallery, Art Center 1996 Copenhagen: “Containers 96” & “Art at Home” Athens: “Cult ‘96” Ileanna Tounta Contemporary Art Center, (Absolute) Rome: “Messaggeri degli Dei”, Pallazo delle Esposizioni Perugia: “Trilogia 6 Tsoclis-Niesch-Silvestone”, Rocca Paolina Larisa: “Trash”, Contemporary Art Center 1998 Athens: “Contemporary Greek Art – three generations”, Tel Aviv Contemporary Art Museum, National Gallery Tokyo: “Electronically yours”, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum Agrinio: “Tradition and Avant Garde”, Municipal Library of Agrinio Larisa: “Contemporary Greek Art”, Beltsios Collection 1999 Bucharest: “Hellenic painting 1950-1999” 2000 Hannover: “…Auf den handen wanderst du …” Trikala: “Ruptures & Convergences”, Beltsios Collection 2001 Tinos: “Symeonidou – Tsoclis”, House of Exhibitions Mykonos: “Performing Views”, Ydrotechnon Gallery 2002 Rethymno: “People - Faces – Forms”, Center of Contemporary Visual Creation of Rethymno Larissa: “All Fashioned - Painting in Greece today”, Contemporary Art Center Hydra: “Greek Artists Artworks” Thessaloniki: “Contemporary European Art – the art of the Balkan Countries- Museum of Modern Art” Κalabaka: “The Pioneers”, Beltsios Collection, Contemporary Art Center Hydra: “Visual Impressions”, Historical Archive - Museum of Hydra Athens: “Visions and Binds”, Music and Arts Centre Athens: “11 Greek Painters create”, Town Hall Prato: “Nuove esposizioni”, Museo Luigi Pecci 2003 Athens: “The shock of ’70”, To Milo Artspace Berlin: “Eine Buhner Fur Dionysos” 2004 Leverkusen: “The Greek Art Today”, Bayer Culturabdeilung Athens: “7 Χ 7”, EMST Athens: “Interculturalism”, EMST Athens: “Musical Mirrors”, Sarantopoulos Allatini Mills Istanbul: “8 Greek, 8 Turkish artists”, Hagia Irene Thessaloniki: “8 Greek, 8 Turkish artists”, MOmus Thessaloniki: “10 galleries of Thessaloniki”, MOmus Athens: “Athens By Art”, Dionysiou Aeropagitou pedestrian area Athens: “Greek Art of the 20th century”, Auction, National Hellenic Research Foundation Thessaloniki: “Cosmopolis”, MOmus 2005 Delphi: “Columns and Pillars”, European Cultural Centre of Delphi Beijing: “China meets Greece” Athens: “The years of defiance: the art of the 70s in Greece”, EMST Kuweit: Funoon Gallery – Abdullah al-Salem Area 2006 Moscow: “Routes of Greek Painting”, Moscow Music Hall Athens: “Greek artists in Germany, German artists in Greece”, Municipal Gallery Athens: “The Cyclades Through the Lens of 20 Contemporary Greek Artists”, Museum of Cycladic Art 2008 Beijing: “Transexperiences Greece 2008» 2009 Athens: “38 artists for peace”, Zappeion 2010 Genoa: “Isole mai Trovate/Islands never found”, Palazzo Ducale Thessaloniki: “Isole mai Trovate – Islands never found”, MOmus Saint Etienne: “Isole mai Trovate/Islands never found”, Museum of Modern Art. 2012 Athens: “Odysseus Elytis world, Poetry and Painting”, B. & M. Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music 2013 Athens: Portrait- Documentaries Photos and interviews of three great artists: the visual artist Costas Tsoclis, the author-translator Dimitris Dimitriadis and the author Stelios Ramfos. Interview to Thanassis Lalas, Hellenic American Union Delphi: European Cultural Centre of Delphi Athens: “C. P. Cavafy – Painted: 40 Contemporary Greek Artists”, B. & M. Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music 2015 Città di Castello PG: "Αu rendez- vous des amis", Fondazione Palazzo Albizzini Collezione Burri, Italy Crete: Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete Thessaloniki: Contemporary Art Center Athens: Athens Conservatoire (2016) 2016 Athens: “Urgent Conversations: Antwerp – Athens”, EMST Athens: “Flying Over the Abyss”, NEON Organization St.Petersburg: “Genii Loci. Greek Art from 1930 to present”, Manege Central Exhibition Hall Thessaloniki: “Odysseas Elytis: Poetry and Painting”, Teloglion Foundation, AUTh 2017 Luxembourg: "Variations sur l'origine du monde", Sofronis Arts Kassel: “ANTIDORON- The EMST Collection”, Fridericianum Museum, Documenta 14 Athina: “George Seferis. When the light dances, I speak justly”, B. & M. Theocharakis Foundation Paphos: “Ten Points of Vision”, art installation at Petra tou Romiou, participating in the programme Paphos - European Capital of Culture 2019 Thessaloniki: “George Seferis. When the light dances, I speak justly”, Teloglion Foundation, AUTh