Constantin Xenakis

Constantin Xenakis – Abstraction – mixed technique on cardboard

Constantin Xenakis

Symbolic abstraction

Date : 1960

Dimensions : H : 38 cm ; L : 25 cm

Material : Cardboard

Condition : Good condition - pinholes in the corners, slight damage to the edge of the board

Conditions & disponibilité: available - unframed


of work

Black and red symbolic abstraction

The abstract work of Constantin Xenakis, created in 1960 using gouache and ink, is a vigorous exploration of chromatic and gestural dynamics. The dominant colors of brown, black, and orange confront and complement each other in an expressive dance of energetic brushstrokes.

The vivid and luminous orange background forms the canvas upon which a series of brown strokes and brush marks are applied with palpable force. These imposing and assertive brown marks seem to tear through the underlying orange, creating a visual tension between the two tones. The interplay of brown and black adds depth and shadow, accentuating contrasts and providing structure to the composition.

The materials used, which do not mix, generate intriguing surface effects. Small drips appear where gouache and ink meet without blending, adding a subtle yet significant texture to the work. Far from being distracting, these drips enrich the visual complexity of the painting, evoking the unpredictable and spontaneous nature of artistic creation.

The energy of the piece resides in these brown brushstrokes, which seem to burst from the orange background with raw vitality, while the blacks frame and support this dynamic interaction. Through this piece, Xenakis captures not only a moment of movement and force but also a contemplation of the interactions between colors and materials, offering the viewer an intense and immersive visual experience.

Related works : Explosive landscape

Technique mixte par Constantin Xenakis
Technique mixte par Constantin Xenakis

"When anger overcomes anger and transforms into anger for anger's sake, that is to say, when it encounters peace, then the fusion of the two gives birth to a work of art, free from emotion and vile symbolism, ..." Notes - Constantin Xenakis

Constantin Xenakis

(Cairo 1931 - Greece 2020)

Constantin Xenakis was a Greek poet, sculptor, and visual artist born in Cairo, who permanently settled in Paris from 1955 onwards, while dividing his time between Paris and Athens starting in the 1990s. A notable representative of postmodern art, he is recognized for his works imbued with semiotics, combining various codes and letters from different alphabets and objects according to his distinctive style. Born into an Egyptian family, he left Cairo at the age of 21 for Paris, where he studied interior design and architecture until 1961 at the École Supérieure des Arts Modernes and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. During the 1970s, he taught fine arts in Paris and Berlin, while organizing numerous international exhibitions.

From 1980 onwards, Xenakis increasingly incorporated signs and symbols into his works, using Egyptian hieroglyphs, Greek and Phoenician alphabets, as well as Japanese characters, which he enhanced with a variety of colors. In 1986, he was honored with the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France, and in 1996, he received the Prix Delmas from the Institut de France. A critic of globalization and the overabundance of information in the modern world, his work aimed to create a universal and transcendental expression.

In Greece, several of his works are housed in the National Gallery of Athens and the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessaloniki. One of his pieces even adorned the office of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, underscoring the significance of his art in the Greek cultural landscape.


  • Exposition au pavillon français de la Biennale de Paris (1963)
  • Exposition « Light and Motion » au Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris (1967)
  • Exposition internationale « Expansions et Environnements : Le Décor Quotidien de la Vie », Musée Galliera, Paris (1968)
  • Exposition collective internationale Superlund, Suède (1969)
  • Exposition « Lettres, signes, écritures – Des constructivistes russes à l’époque moderne » – Musée de Malmö, Suède (1978)
  • Exposition « Cartes et visages de la Terre » – Centre Pompidou, Paris (1980).
  • Rétrospective au Musée national d’art contemporain, Grèce (2003)
  • Inauguration officielle du musée par la ministre de la Culture grecque Lina Mendoni du Musée Constantin Xenakis à Serres, Grèce Musée Constantin Xenakis (

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