Artist and curator, he constantly embarks on a never-ending inspirational journey through his works.
Text: Evi Kallini
An artist and curator, Apostolos Palavrakis leaves his “imprint” on the international art scene by seeking new places and spaces-in-between through a constantly evolving career in art.
An artist with a complex background articulated by his studies in music and architecture, Apostolos Palavrakis was born in Trikala and currently resides and works in Germany. His relationship with Thessaloniki began in the mid-90s on the occasion of his collaboration with the Lola Nikolaou Gallery.
Nearly a decade ago, Palavrakis contributed to the creation of the Donopoulos International Fine Arts Gallery in Thessaloniki’s Mylos Arts and Entertainment Complex, undertaking the gallery’s overall architectural layout, corporate identity design and exhibition planning. A few years later, he also designed the new Donopoulos gallery in the city’s downtown region. The first exhibition curated by Palavrakis was in Thessaloniki in 2006, featuring rare engravings and original drawings by Pablo Picasso.
For Apostolos Palavrakis, it is the artist’s eye which “permeates” the curation of an exhibition. As he explains, the purpose of his work in the gallery has always been twofold: «To showcase internationally-renowned artists, along with young artists from Greece and abroad. As a curator, I started discovering the local art scene and perhaps this holds greater interest for me.» Even from the onset, he was interested in forming a network of contacts from abroad through his personal acquaintances, in order to enable young artists to reach a wider audience. It was within this pursuit that he curated the exhibition «Ein Augenblick: Four New Greek Artists» at the Beck & Eggeling Gallery in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Walking on new paths
As an artist, he experienced a catalytic change in the early millennium, redefining his creative universe. «I had a breakthrough, nothing seemed to pertain to my work up until then. I began to delve deeper into the idea of fragmentation in art, which was something that had always fascinated me. As of lately, I’ve been consciously following a non-linear course when it comes to form and structure in the art work. τομή Η I allow for the unexpected, that which may seem to derive from the whole yet becomes part of the narrative and it is ultimately the very element that subverts it all», he explains.
At the same time, he changed the materials he worked with. He abandoned the oils, the tarpaulin and focused on large graphite drawings on paper. Now, through a deliberate and sentient restraint of working solely in black and white in their absolute intensity, he has discovered new realms of expression and has returned to his roots, i.e. architecture: «The primary source in the work is usually buildings of a historical background. Going through a process of deconstruction, I discover the elements that characterize them and in turn I isolate them and reconstruct them.» What emerges is a new architectural structure, yet one lacking identity, at least in the sense of an identifiable status. The premise of this process is a rich and ever-augmenting archive of photographs created by the artist himself since the 1980s.
The next step, the sculptures, came as a natural aftereffect: A partial presentation of the sculptures took place in 2012 at Osthaus Museum in Hagen, while a section of these sculptures in their final form was exhibited in Art Cologne during 2017. Aside from the characteristic complexity of the form, the sculptures were distinguished by new molding and casting techniques, the most impressive of all being the silver reduction technique featured on the Aggregat I / Element XIII-XVI piece, which renders a mirror- like effect to the sculpture, featuring special colors with a high level of light absorption. The artist’s six new sculptures, along with their drawings, will be revealed in whole to the public in September of 2018 at the Beck & Eggeling Gallery in Düsseldorf and Vienna (Palavrakis has been collaborating with the specific gallery ever since it opened). Among the artist’s future plans is to exhibit these sculptures on a magnified scale in an outdoor setting which would result in a captivating interaction whereby the surfaces are reflected upon one another, whilst complemented by the natural light. «In essence, the sculpture appears incorporeal. Can you imagine it in the midst of a forest? It’s like creating a void in space.»