George Lappas

Lappas George

Born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1950 and died in Athens in 2016. He studied Psychology at Reed College, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. (1969-1973) and worked in State Mental Hospitals. In 1974 he was awarded the Waston Fellowship to study Indian Architecture and Sculpture for one year in India. He attended classes in architecture at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London (1995) and studied Sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1976-1981) under Yannis Pappas and Yorgos Nicolaidis. He continued his studies in sculpture at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris on a French state scholarship (1984-1985). Worked and travelled in France and the United Kingdom until 1986. In 1991 he received a scholarship from the Cartier Foundation in Paris. He was elected Professor of Sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts in 1992. Since 1995 he worked and travelled in the United Kingdom, the U.S.A. and Japan. Works by him can be found in many imporτant Greek and international private and public collections.

Works

Solo Exhibitions

2018

Encapsulation – Mappemonde – The Secret Book Citronne Gallery Athens (curated by Aphrodite Litti, Tatiana Spinari-Pollali, Yorgos Tzirtzilakis)

2017

Figures and Rucksack with Ears Citronne Gallery Poros (curated by Tatiana Spinari-Pollali)

2016

Happy Birthday Benaki Museum – Central Building (Museum of Greek Culture) Athens (curated by Aphrodite Litti, Dakis Ioannou, Polyna Kosmadaki, Yorgos Tzirtzilakis)

2013

Documents and Sculptural Landscapes Jewish Museum Thessaloniki

2008

Ancient Coins in the Alpha Bank Collection: Contemporary Inspiration for the Sculpture of Giorgos Lappas Alpha Bank Main Building (Ground Floor) Athens

2007

Xippas Gallery Paris

2005

8 Art Space Rethymnon

2004

Sculptures Diaspro Art Gallery Nicosia

2001

Bernier / Eliades Gallery Athens

1998

Haruspex, Elbo and Mr. Sphinx Lehman-Maupin Gallery New York

1997

Luminous Works Galleria Gentili Florence

1997

Man in the Presence of Ghosts Galerie Tanit Munich

1997

Jean Bernier Gallery (Bernier / Eliades Gallery) Athens

1996

Port Warehouse Thessaloniki Yeni Tzami Municipality of Thessaloniki Thessaloniki

1996

Jean Bernier Gallery (Bernier / Eliades Gallery) Athens

1993

The Stance of the Artist Jean Bernier Gallery (Bernier / Eliades Gallery) Athens

1992

Nouveaux Bourgeois Galerie Albert Baronian Brussels

1992

Sculptures Galerie Tanit Munich

1990

Dice Jean Bernier Gallery (Bernier / Eliades Gallery) Athens

1990

Dice Works The Tramway Glasgow

1987

Mappemonde Zoumboulakis Galleries Athens

1985

Paintings Zoumboulakis Galleries

1983

Abacus Zoumboulakis Galleries Athens

1981

Sculpture and Drawings Zoumboulakis Galleries Athens

Press

George Lappas: Figures and Rucksack with Ears

The Overcoming of Boundaries

George Lappas’s posthumous one-man show presents thirty four works, sculptures, studies, and drawings covering the period 1978-2015. These works comprise a unity that focusses first and foremost on the human figure, the principal theme of his creation as a whole. The unity is disrupted or even elaborated by seemingly exogenous elements, which however signal a functional peculiarity of the artist: George Lappas’s starting point and idiosyncrasy are those of a traveller, a voyager. His trajectory has no boundaries, geographic, cultural or national; in similar fashion his resulting artistic creations transcend sensory reality. The trademark of this search to the ends of the known or conceivable world is the emblematic “rucksack with ears”, an indispensable accessory that enables the traveller to hear the merest sound in the human universe.

Large and small-size figures of bronze, aluminium, fabric, plastic, neon lights, make up the sculptural world of George Lappas. They are framed by the exhibition space, which serves as part of a traditional local house. There the “Artist with His Thoughts” converses with shamans, tightrope walkers, jugglers, magicians, divinities. These figures are ‘in motion’ or stationary at the edges of reality, oblivious of the laws of physics and equilibrium. The natural body is abolished; thought, memory, and narration work according to an inner logic, without perceptible consequences. Unexpected materials create a sense of paradox, of the uncanny, recalling unconscious dream connections, undecipherable associations. The dialogue between the Egyptianised Solon relaxing on the banks of the Nile and the figures of his fellow travellers is unpredictable for the viewer, and is based on thematic references that go back to the multiple recognisable starting points of the artist.

East and West operate artistically with distinct traits, though in an original, archetypal composition. The sculptures fetch to mind Egypt and hieroglyphics, India and Brahman temples; they bring out the paradoxical and hint at magic – indications perhaps of nostalgia for the ‘metaphysical’ past at work in the countries of the East. The West, on the contrary, imposes a rationalist tyranny that causes the artist ‘grief of space’. The only antidote for this is the work of Art, the only way to bridge antitheses, to appropriate the unfamiliar – that is, to bring to completion the ‘foreign world’. Not only the shamans and conjurors, the tightrope walkers and acrobats, but also the one legged men and the hanging gardeners narrate through performance the perpetual desire of man to surpass each time his frontiers, whether of the physical world surrounding him or of finite intelligence and knowledge. Under the same transcendental attitude a seat or a star may balance over the head of a figure, extending the borders and the resilience of the body and freely reinterpreting the visible symbiosis of human being and object.

This exhibition attempts to give the most complete picture possible of the complex personality of George Lappas and his long and painful search. He was an artist who “saw many cities of men and learned their way of thinking” (Odyssey 1.3). He gained this experience and conveyed it with mastery and insight throughout his entire artistic journey.

 

Dr Tatiana Spinari-Pollali
Art Historian – Citronne Gallery Director
* From the catalogue of George Lappas’s exhibition “Figures and Rucksack with Ears“, Citronne Gallery, Poros, 2017.