Michael Michaeledes

Michael Michaeledes

Greek / British
1923 - 2015


Michael Michaelides was born in Nicosia in 1923. After the end of World War II, he began studying fine arts and architecture at the University of Milan and at the Polytechnic of Central London. The works of his youth, when he was still a self-taught painter, were thematically focused on sunny depictions of rural life. Since 1954, when he settled in London, he gradually shifted towards gestural and abstraction paintings which were characterized by a different handling of color and light. At the time of his first solo exhibition at London's Leicester Galleries in 1959, his work was structured by multiple layers of dark ink or color on paper and canvas. During the early 1960s, he focused on minimal intervention painting, where curved formations penetrated a predominantly empty painting surface. In 1963, he participated in a group exhibition at London's Hamilton Galleries (that would later be renamed Annely Juda Fine Art), the historic London gallery with which he collaborated until the end of his life. From 1965 onwards, he began to form his characteristic artistic practice of embossed, stretched and often white canvas. He went beyond the conventional limits of painting through the sculptural use of the canvas and gradually began to create large-scale wall-mounted compositions with cultural references to the cultures of antiquity, their mythology, geometric formations and modernism movements. In this direction, he represented Greece with large installations at the Venice Biennale in 1976, along with Aglaia Lyberaki. Until his large retrospective exhibition at the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation in Nicosia in 2012, he had held over 30 solo exhibitions in Europe and participated in over 60 group exhibitions around the world. His works can be found in many public and private institutions and collections as well as in museums such as the National Gallery – Alexandros Soutsos Museum and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, the European Cultural Centre of Delphi and the A.G. Leventis Foundation. He died in London in 2015.