Motorcyclist signed in Greek and dated '72' on the reverse oil on canvas 176 x 130 cm.
Ranking among Greek arts most famous and compelling images from the last quarter of the 20th century, Theofylaktopoulos solitary motorcyclists convey a sense of freedom and adventure and an enduring spirit of perennial escape and passionate, unending youth. When riding my bike, says the artist, everything swims in motion -outer and inner- and reality is shattered, transformed into pure energy flowing through my muscles, my nerves, my hands.1
Looming out of a dark, monochromatic background and headed directly for the viewer at full throttle, this impetuous biker from the early 1970s epitomizes the pictorial qualities that established Theofylaktopoulos reputation as a prominent exponent of European neo-expressionism long before it became a mainstream trend in the 1980s.2 By using intense lines, vehement brushwork and gestural application of paint, the painter identifies the expressive power of his materials with his own inner energy and expressive thrust.3
1. Quoted in Makis Theofylaktopoulos, exh. cat., Municipal Gallery of Rhodes, Olkos publ., Athens 1987, p. 25. 2. See H. Kambouridis - G. Levounis, Modern Greek Art - The 20th Century, Athens 1999, p. 232 3. See M. Christofoglou in Dictionary of Greek Artists [in Greek], vol. 4, Melissa publ., Athens 1999, p. 22.