Open Box exhibition by Michalis Katzourakis at Roma Gallery presents a series of works of the 1968–1970 period. These are minimalist works in two or three dimensions, most of which went on public display in the artist’s solo exhibition at Goethe Institut in 1969. Specifically, Open Box features two maquettes on handmade paper, of 1968; a large-scale painting with folding parts and a Plexiglas sculpture, of 1969; a series of small sculptures, of 1970, reconstructed in 2002; and an open box (Box, 2008) of painted aluminium and acrylic mirror. The underlying concept in these artworks is unfolding packaging boxes and reconfiguring the form of a cube to create closed or open shapes and forms. Discussing his works of that period, Katzourakis notes that he was intensely concerned with the interplay of pattern and colour, as well as with developing a personal vocabulary. The geometric shapes he experiments with provided ‘infinite possibilities of composition despite their predetermined limits. By arranging and reconfiguring these elements, Katzourakis seeks to achieve new, autonomous, integrated forms.
Michalis Katzourakis was born in Alexandria in 1933. In 1938 his family moves to Athens. In 1951 he graduates from the Athens College and goes to Paris to study painting under André Lhote and drawing and poster design under Paul Colin. He returns to Athens in 1955 and begins to work as a freelance graphic designer. Between 1960-1967 he acts as art advisor to the National Tourist Organization (EOT). From 1962 to 1974 he runs the K&K Athens Advertising Centre, together with F. Carabott. In 1965 he is awarded the Golden Cross of the Order of the Phoenix for his out-standing contribution to Greek design, and In 1968 he becomes member of ΑGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale). His graphic design has received seven Rizzoli awards for the best Greek advertisement, an honorary distinction by the Art Director’s Club of New York, the 3rd award in the Brno Biennale and a first and second award in the international Tourist Poster Competition of Livorno. In 1973 he and his wife Agni Katzourakis, also a graphic designer, established AM Katzourakis, an agency specialised in interior design. His work in graphic design was presented in 2008-2009 in the exhibition Design Routes (Benaki Museum / Pireos St Annex, Athens and Cultural Foundation of the National Bank, Patras Cultural Centre (2008); Macedonian Museum for Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki, 2009). His paintings are exhibited for the first time at the Payne Gallery in 1955 and then at the Athens Art Gallery in 1967. In 1969 he presents two- and three-dimensional minimalist works at the Goethe Institut in Athens. Between 1970 and 1977 he creates works made of polystyrene sheets, designed for industrial production on the basis of detailed plans and intended mostly for installation in specific sites. In 1976 he joins the «Processes-Systems» art group, and in 1977 he starts to explore the multiple possibilities of mixed materials in two- and three-dimensional works. An exhibition of paintings, constructions and sculptures made from 1965 to 2001 was hosted at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in 2001 and the Athens School of Fine Arts in 2002. His works can be found at the National Gallery of Athens, the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, the Jewish Museum of Greece, the Musée Matisse in Cateau-Cambrésis, France, and in public and private collections in Greece and abroad.