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GEORGE PETALAS (Greece, Athens b. 1944 / act: Athens)

George Petalas George Petalas is a self-taught artist. For his talent in art he relied on an inner aesthetic instinct, originating from his childhood spent on the island of Mykonos. One of his central concerns is the aesthetic of objects and of his surrounding environment. Mykonos' architecture, combined with the landscape's natural beauty, had a lasting impact on his art. His aesthetic instinct is clearly visible at his private residence, built in the Messara valley of Heraklion on the island of Crete, which has been featured in architectural reviews.

Petalas turned exclusively to sculpture in 1987. His sculptures combine fragments from Greek popular tradition with obsolete material from modern industry. Thinking of Comte de Lautreamont's (1846-1870) idea of uncanny beauty - "a chance encounter of an umbrella and a sewing-machine on a dissecting table"; - the art of Petalas falls by its nature in the tradition of surrealism. In his art, he makes use of his extensive experience as an antiquarian and a collector. He rids beautiful things of their original context and appropriates them in unusual arrangements according to the dictates of his subconscious and imagination. Petalas salvages artefacts from trash, underlines their uniqueness, and ensures the posterity these objects were calling for by giving them a new appearance.

To great acclaim, the first personal exhibition of Petalas took place in 1989 at the Cultural Center of the Athens Municipality. This success was followed by a series of solo exhibitions at the Municipal Gallery of Thessaloniki in 1990, and of Palaio Faliro in 1991. From 1994 to 1998, his work was periodically exhibited at the Odysseus Elytis Hall of the Municipality of Athens. His most recent exhibition was in 2002 at the Centre of Visual Arts G. Karydes in Philothei. During this time, Petalas has also had regular exhibitions at the Municipal Gallery of Mykonos Island.

[Megakles 03/2005]

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