Constantin Andreou was born in Brazil where he lived until the age of eight. He described this period as a “living and fantastic dream”. According to him, the magical aspect seen in his work stems from those first years.
In 1925 he discovered Greece, the country where his parents originated. That is where he started to draw and sculpt as a self-taught artist. He observed Antique and Classical sculpture, leading him to start working with marble. In 1942 he exhibited at the Panhellenic Exposition in Greece.
Aged 28 he left Greece for Paris where the rich cultural environment and the frequentation of artists nurtured him. He attended classes at the École des Arts Décoratifs (Applied Arts School) as well as at the École des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts School) for a few months. Andreou met Le Corbusier with whom he worked periodically. This collaboration allowed Andreou to have a better understanding of the relationship between architecture and sculpture as much as it gave him a sense of the function colours in space can have. Two questions that remained of the utmost importance in his career.
In his Parisian studio he experimented and tried to develop a new artistic language. He established a new technique of welded brass soon to be the base of his plastic expression. Sheets of brass are cut, hammered and cold-formed before being welded. They are subsequently sanded to eliminate any surface irregularities and to obtain a perfectly smooth texture for light to shine on.
Although his work is was getting more and more abstract with time it still held a sense of reality, giving birth to sculptures evoking the human shape, the female shape in particular, as well as animals and birds.
During his life Andreou has been very prolific, creating many pieces through many technics and mediums. His work was guided by his sensibility, claiming the idea of a poetic art. He participated in a great number of exhibitions in France, Greece, Brazil, United-States, Canada and Japan amongst others.
He exhibited at the Salon d’Automne six times and was appointed President of the sculpture category in 1982. He also took part in the Anvers Biennale (1953) and the Venice Biennale (1966).
Momie Darling, 1997
This sculpture in gilt brass perfectly exemplifies the career of Andreou. First because it shows the artist’s dedication in representing the female body, whether it is in his graphic production or his sculptures. The statue radiates with the poetry, lyricism and sensuality at work in so many of his creations.
Furthermore, we can note the artist’s interest for light, playing with surfaces and creating movements thanks to the alternating smooth textures, sunken parts and stretched brass threads.
Momie Darling seems to be cinched in a corset of stretched brass thread, strips of metal emphasizing the attributes of femininity. Overtly stylizing shapes, Andreou superimposes spheres – her head, breasts, belly, buttock – giving way to a feminine triumph. With her vertical structure, pure and hieratic, she becomes a totem, an idol, a divinity.