George Lappas Benaki Museum
A sculpture from the Happy Birthday exhibition of George Lappas. Photograph: Why Athens

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: a sculptural exhibition of George Lappas

Where: Benaki Museum
When: On now - 20th November, 2016
Why Go: To see the last works of a great Greek sculptor

The DESTE Foundation, in collaboration with the Benaki Museum present an exhibition and tribute to the work of the late Greek artist George Lappas (1950-2016), one of the most important Greek sculptors of the 20th century.

Throughout his career, Lappas developed his unique visual oeuvre, dealing with fundamental human emotions of tragedy, catharsis, enigma and destiny. Titled “Happy Birthday” after a series of sculptures with the inscription, the exhibition showcases the artist’s most recent and unfinished work, in a linear display that Lappas himself placed “cinematographically” in his studio to suggest a film narrative, complete with plots, episodes, takes, cuts and edits.

The exhibit is not a retrospective, but focuses on the power and energy of Lappas’ research into the human condition as a way to enrich our perspective. His craft’s popular appeal was achieved through experimenting with the human form, and showing fundamental emotions, with strong absurd and ironic elements in the narrative.

George Lappas Benaki Museum

Works from the series Invitations, Exorcisms and Pastry Sculptures, 1989-1991, 1998-2016. Photograph: Why Athens



Born in Cairo, Lappas studied psychology and worked in various psychiatric hospitals in the US. He studied sculpture and architecture in India on scholarship and further studied architecture in London and art at the Athens School of Fine Arts before completing his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, on a French scholarship. He worked in the UK and France before becoming a professor at the Athens School of Fine Arts and took up residence at Paris’s Foundation Cartier of Contemporary Art.

George Lappas Benaki museum

Photograph from left: George Lappas by Stelios Skopelitis, centre: birthday sculpture from Invitations, Exorcisms and Pastry Sculptures, 1989-1991, 1998-2016 & right: George Lappas by Yiannis Kokkalis

Lappas participated in biennales and exhibitions around the world including Paris, Sao Paulo, Venice, Glasgow and Berlin. His last solo exhibition Documents and Sculptural Landscapes (2014) for the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki was part of the city’s 4th Biennale of Contemporary Art.

‘Happy Birthday’ curators: Dakis Joannou, Afroditi Liti (late artist’s wife), Polyna Kosmadaki and Giorgos Tzirtzilakis.

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