Of Greek origin, Charles-Athanas-Stratos Papadopoulos is known to all by the use of his third given name. Stratos was born in 1953. Very young, he turned to architecture where many of his achievements will serve him in the construction of his imagination and his artistic making.
In 1972, he created his first paintings, during his free time, in parallel with an important trading activity. 1983, marks his first attempts at sculpture. First on wood with the appearance of triangular shapes and in the same vein, in 88, he participated in the casting of his first bronze “Sapho”, in figuration transposed from geometry into space.
First flights and exhibitions
On the same themes, between painting and sculpture, his search for style will become a consuming passion that will soon capture him full time. From the 90s her work will be noticed by the director of the Pharos gallery in Marseille, intrigued by the unusual stylistic approach for the time, will exhibit some of her works permanently. This recognition was confirmed a few months later, in the heart of the historic center of Avignon with the Vernissage gallery, which will organize the first sculpture exhibition. Shortly afterwards and still near the Palais des Papes, the Charton gallery, mainly specialized in contemporary Provençal painting, will showcase a Stratos painting which will provoke, by its quirky style, a real surprise in its public of art lovers . From the outset, three major regional galleries have been able to detect this raw talent, which is as atypical as it is promising.
And why not Moscow?
His first major solo exhibition abroad took place in 1991 at the Novosti press agency in Moscow, where this French artist had seduced with his modernity and the poetic tenderness that emanated from his work. Incidentally, this was the last Moscow exhibition of the Soviet federal era!
First Stratos gallery
In 1993, he opened his first personal gallery in Nîmes, especially dedicated to his bronze mutants with geometric symbols and multicolored patinas. These pieces already illustrated the concept of the family resonating with his paintings, in the same search for simplicity and spiritual elevation.
Stratos enchantment !
From then on, curves will take precedence over lines and angular shapes: “One morning, I wake up after dreaming that I was swimming in the middle of dolphins …” This is how the artist discovers the plot of his legendary saga family, with its heroes from the depths of the sea, eager for freedom. Improbable humanoid hybrids, peaceful in principle, beneficial in essence, they cultivate in all simplicity an art of living of a smarter, more harmonious and voluptuously playful society.
In this joyous lineage, where the artist sculpts and paints his emotions, his works develop a style, a calligraphy as singular as it is original and unique, which is written in curves and echoes of the poetry of his precious messages. They indulge in the caress of gestures, the sweetness of the glances exchanged and attitudes sublimated by tenderness.
Between Saint-Paul de Vence and Avignon
In 1995, after Nîmes, Stratos with his wife Brigitte, indispensable support and essential partner of all his artistic endeavors, created the Stratos gallery in the famous rue Grande in the old village of Saint-Paul de Vence. It will be the immediate success and recognition of a new and loyal audience. Since then, its spaces have always been open to the public for more than 25 years in this mythical village. Soon Brigitte will open a second gallery in the heart of the city of the Popes in Avignon and will also supervise it until her transfer to the new workshop-showroom near their home. A place technically equipped to produce all of his works.
Thus, since 95, both in France and around the world, its exhibitions and major events can be counted in hundreds of adventures. Among the most notorious: Lausanne, Stockholm, New York, Beirut, Monaco, Munich, Ghent, Geneva… And in France in the most beautiful sites: Sarlat, Aigues-Mortes, Nice, Vallauris, Corte, Uzès, Agen, Arcachon, Ile de Ré… and the most emblematic: Paris, Courchevel, Saint-Tropez, Honfleur, Megève… A success just as confirmed in the most prestigious galleries of the Place des Vosges in Paris, Saint-Tropez, Honfleur, Nyon in Switzerland…
Smile, you are loved!
To mark with a white stone that of “The Art of Happiness”, a great moment in Gémenos within the framework of “Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture”: 12 of his monumental sculptures were distributed in a mysterious space closed, totally obscure.
As the visitor progressed, with each work a sound and visual system was triggered and regulated multicolored lighting rhythmic between music and dreamlike exegesis. Sandy Tournier, poet and art critic left this comment: “To enter the Universe of Stratos is to be caressed with softness and colors. Smile, you are loved! “
"Amore mio", "For you mom", "The gift", "Happy family"
This “Stratos-Art-Love” spirit of its titles is found just as much in its open-air exhibitions, where monumental sculptures are distributed in the heart of the Cities. They have been crisscrossing France since the first “sculpture spring” in Arcachon in 2015, with 12 monumental works around the port. Since then, Agen, Nice, Saint-Raphael, Briare, Moissac, Perros-Guirec, Bonneville, Praz-sur-Arly (on the ski slopes facing Mont-Blanc) have welcomed these florilèges engraved in the stainless benevolent and beneficent universe of the artist.
From softness to shared pain:
"The tree of life in Toulouse 2012"
If Stratos has always celebrated love, tenderness, family, peace and harmony between people and nature in his creations, he wanted to share the extreme suffering of those who have known the horror was in 2012 in Toulouse. After refusing private funding, he made a point of offering a sculpture over 4 meters high, installed in the courtyard of the Ohr Torah College and High School, specially created in homage to the victims, it is this message as powerful as it is dignified and poetic, that the artist has sculpted in the softness of clean lines and the durability of steel.
Wall sculptures: like flying fish ...
His figures today swap the canvas and twirl in space, in polychrome wall sculptures. Half men, half fish, they frolic between earth and sky in a playful round where enchantment is the master of the game.
“Defend me! "
For the protection of elephants
On the white background of the canvas appear improbable flat areas with multiple and monochrome shapes in bright colors, they twirl and articulate. The image of an elephant shattered in the spirit of subtly orchestrated Japanese calligraphy. The idea will arise at Stratos, in 2020, by watching a report on the elephants who gathered around the remains of one of their congeners stripped of their tusks and they gave him, like a ritual, a dignified and silent farewell. This triggered the artist’s search for new works.
This hopeful fisherman cannot stop letting his imagination run wild in the space of future works and suggesting “words that are said with the eyes”. His gaze is always on the future, for new plans … drawn on the comet of his fabulous dreams.