SCULPTURE PARK - 1st SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM 1999
THE THREE SCULPTURE SYMPOSIA OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF LIMASSOL
The three Sculpture Symposia, these major cultural events of the Municipality of Limassol, have transformed the city’s coastal embankment into a Sculpture Park, where people enjoy works of art while strolling along, resting or watching their children play.
I believe, therefore, that, with these Symposia, the Municipality of Limassol has offered a priceless gift, to the present as well as the future generations. Limassol has entered the new millenium having been substantially embellished and upgraded.
An environment of good taste and elegance means no doubt an improved quality of life. We shall therefore be perennially interested in aesthetic improvement, in close cooperation with our artists.
Looking over the results of the Symposia I feel, as Mayor of Limassol, proud and fully justified. I am convinced that these sixteen works of art, in stone, metal, concrete and marble will remind us all that the Sculpture Symposia, organised by the Municipality, have established firm foundations for sustaining the development of fine arts.
I would like to thank and congratulate the fifteen artists and their assistants for their work and for their devotion and enthusiasm, working in adverse weather conditions and sweating under the excessive summer heat at a time when others were enjoying the freshness of the beach.
I would also like to extend my warm thanks to the Presidents and the members of the Municipality’s Cultural Committee, and the Fine Arts Committee for their contribution toward the successful conclusion of the Symposia.
In particular I wish to thank the Municipality’s Cultural Services for having successfully taken up the great burden and responsibility for such a demanding and important event.
Last but not least I would like to thank the Cultural Services of the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Cyprus Tourism Organisation who have funded this edition.
Warm thanks are also extended to Alpha Bank for sponsoring the installation ‘Framed Views’, Aristos Philis Printers for sponsoring the sculpture ‘Sacrifice’, Ioannou and Paraskevaides Company for sponsoring the sculpture ‘Synthesis’, the Lanitis Group of Companies for sponsoring the installation ‘Birth’, the Limassol Committee of the Cyprus Association for Parents of Many Children for sponsoring the sculpture
‘Mother’, the family of Pambos Zenios and the artist Thodoros Papayiannis for donating the sculpture ‘Female Figure’ in memory of Stefi Zeniou.
I also express my appreciation to all who have embraced the Symposia and have contributed in one way or another to their realisation.
Dr. DEMETRIS KONTIDES
THE SCULPTURE PARK AT LIMASSOL’S COASTAL EMBANKMENT
The summers of 1999, 2000 and 2001 were landmarks in Limassol’s cultural evolution, with the organisation by the Municipality of three successive Sculpture Symposia, destined to transform a key spot of the city into an open air museum.
Cypriot, Greek and international artists, in particular artists from twin cities, were asked to take part. These were the Cypriots Nikos Kouroussis, Kyriaκos Kallis, Helene
Black and Maria Kyprianou, the Greek sculptors Thodoros Papayiannis, Yiorgos
Houliaras and Kyriaκos Rokos, from the twin city of Ioannina, Yiorgos Tsaras, Manolis
Tzombanakis and Costas Dikefalos, from Thessaloniki, Herakleion and Zante respectively, Christos Riganas from Kalamata and Vassilis Vassili from Northern Epirus. Participants were also the German Victor Bonato, the Israeli Saadia Bahat and the Egyptian Ahmed El-Stoahy, from the twin cities of Niederkassel, Haifa and Alexandria.
For the entire summer the coastal embankment was turned into a huge open-air workshop, a place of vivid creation in the plastic arts, communication and dialogue between the fifteen sculptors and their spectators, who had a first hand and unique experience of the artistic process, starting with the transportation of the blocks of stone and other materials to the place of work, on to the struggle waged by the sculptors for the transformation of matter into energy and finally to the assembling and permanent placing of the works.
With a ritual-like repetition of their motions, early each morning, after breakfast in the nearby hotel, the artists crossed the seaside avenue to the field of battle, lined up their tools and set about their daily task, which only ended late in the evening.
Unsuspecting pedestrians and neighbours, who had earlier been protesting at the deafening noise and dust raised by the tools, having witnessed the transformation of the materials, became regular visitors to the Symposia, offered the artists their care, expressed their concern for the sculptures and found out, many of them to their surprise, that these were not monuments to heroes, leaders, or national poets.
Artists and students of fine arts attended the Symposia and some of them participated actively in the sculptural process.
The placing of the works along the coastal embankment has turned this much frequented spot of Limassol into a Sculpture Park, lending it a particularly aesthetic
dimension, given that these sixteen sculptures, in stone, metal, concrete and marble, were created in order to converse with the scale, size, composition and generally the dynamic of the landscape as well as the mentality of its people.
Scores of people go about these works as part of their daily routine, sit beside them, touch their edges and treat them like companions in their stroll. Children play with their curves, cavities and protrusions, which impress themselves upon daily experience and gradually register in the collective memory and consciousness of the city.
Dr. NADIA ANAXAGOROU
Director of Cultural Services of the Municipality of Limassol
1st SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM
The Cultural Wave, the sculptural translation of the energy of the waves and the currents in a stormy sea, which washes out civilisations as well as conquerors throughout the centuries, is the offering of Costas Dikefalos to Limassol. It is a libation of thanksgiving and propitiation to the sea, which commands the fate of this land, in the crossroads of nations and continents.
Suffocating within the bounds of an easy and tried solution, the artist from Zante, with his revolutionary heptanesian temperament, looks for adventure with matter which, in a totem-like manner, will fit into the entire dynamic of the place and the psychological make-up of its people.
The two huge blocks of stone, six and a half metres long, are the most stout foes that Costas Dikefalos has chosen from the material available. He thus ensures that his effort will reflect the long and protracted struggle waged by Cypriot Hellenism against the culture, language and religion of successive conquerors.
Being an expert on the attributes of stone he eventually succeeds in thoroughly mastering it. A sharp form thus emerges, in pain and sorrow for the grave and fatal blows dealt upon the Greek heritage by the Turkish occupation of northern Cyprus. Having chosen the spiral form as the driving force for his creations, Costas Dikefalos imparts a masculine dynamic in his work, asserting an upright and uncompromising posture, which survives and evolves in perpetuity.
A skilled sculptor, the artist is transformed into a wizard of the sea in order to infuse into the guts of the stone a revolving rhythm which copies the cyclical surge of the wave and the coiling of the sea-shell.
The elongation of form into eight self-contained entities has endowed it with the mobility of a living organism and has multiplied its dimensions giving it a colossal-like effect.
A sculpture predestined to stimulate the senses, to raise queries to swimmers out at sea and to passers by the coastal avenue, to assess itself through its abstruse and unfamiliar form. It invites the beholder to read the rectangular trapezium of its form, inherent in the sharp lines of its pyramid-like volumes, which cut the horizon like knives, filling empty spaces with the universe and the sea. A rectangular, integral, cultural Hellenism is thus imposed upon the mosaic of nations and cultures, of locals and aliens, who, on a daily basis, surround the work, penetrate its openings and lean upon its corners.
The cultural wave of Costas Dikefalos thus assumes a distinct timeliness. It becomes a monument of resistance, devoted to Cyprus, its history and civilisation, merging with the stability of the rocks and counterposing its presence against the port of pilgrims and invaders.
The driving force in Kyriakos Kallis’ sculptural installation is the bull’s head, in which the artist, has, as if by magic, injected something of his own body and soul. Struggling ceaselessly with stone, beneath the scorching sun, he has succeeded in imbuing the bull with the sweat of his creative agony and exaltation, instilling in him reason, question and emotion.
The bull – not therefore by chance – becomes a dominant element in the theme of Kyriakos Kallis who, having been born in Dali, in a family whose main preoccupation was cattle breeding, knows in infinitesimal detail the bull’s anatomy and behaviour.
The bull’s form, therefore, constitutes the axis in the installation which the artist has composed upon the spacious bed of grass on the coastal embankment. With a human-like mellowness in his features – eyes, forehead, chin, nose and ears – the bull faces the sea absorbing huge reserves from the waves’ force. The bull also receives and emits an incessant energy through the depths of the earth, upon which he is directly embedded.
Like a contemporary thinker the artist identifies with the bull, as symbol of passion, earth, sexual instinct and fertility.
Acting upon impulse he listens to the tremours of nature, and intuitively observes the signs of the times. He is thus transformed into a wizard who forebodes and traces omens.
The sculptural creation is transmitted within a cross-like structure whose texture combines the earthly robustness of the stone with the airy ductibility of the blade.
The bull’s stone head, upon the top of the synthesis, casts its penetrating glance toward the sea, across the horizontal course of the blade, suggesting a perpetual wandering upon the earth. Through the stone dome of Christianity the worldly march gushes out of the spout, toward communion with the sea and with eternity. The stone anvil, of Hephaestus’ handicraft production and Prometheus’ spiritual ingenuity is an implement for realising the essence of human existence: creation.
The vertical curved blade is the alternative route, an excursion to heaven. An oriental stone shrine on one side, in the shape of a woman’s bosom, refers almost by intuition to India, in a transcendental journey of mind and sense. A stone gate is set on the other side, as if pointing toward a runway for taking-off beyond the finite world.
The installation, at the coastal embankment, functions like a stage, where someone awaits, any moment now, for the performance of a ritual and an act over time.
DIALOGUE WITH TIME AND SPACE
The minimalist sculptural creation of Nikos Kouroussis carries within its unadorned and graceful simplicity a significant conceptual load.
The abandonment of ancient civilisation, in the way it was impressed upon the artist, following a recent visit to Amathus, is depicted in an articulate proposition, a cry of denunciation and a social statement.
The deconstruction of the work in its semantic and structural components follows the clue of an open dialogue with time and space, which develops through a series of contradictions in matter and in form.
Two different elements coexist and converse with each other within two disparate shapes, recording both rivalry and intercourse between the ancient and the contemporary, the old and the new.
The traditional, natural element of the stone is inevitably worn out due to the teleological erosion, the salinity and humidity of the sea and also due to human neglect towards the ancient civilisation. It thus stands in contrast to the modern, industrial material of stainless steel, which remains immutable and conveys in its solid texture the eternal truth and value of classical spirit.
The stone is worked from the cube of rationalism to the soft curvature of the cylinder and is reshaped into a column in the process of change, a feminine form, professing the fertile civilisation of Amathus which survives through the centuries. Metal is cast into a triangular shape, transmuting in its austere geometry the contradiction of modern civilisation. Its steely sharpness violently treads underfoot the eastern necropolis of Amathus, a large part of which has been buried beneath the uncontrolled spread of build up areas.
The primordial triangular form by its inclination, opens up lines of communication between the sculpture and the elements of nature, which transcend the limits of space and time and blunt their contradictions. The horizontal line of the triangle is tangential to that of the sea’s horizon and stretches out with it in a journey towards infinity, thus counterpoising with this posture the contrast between the immortality of the ancient spirit and the natural decay of its monuments. The vertical line of energy and the diagonal line of force launch, as they vanish into the universe, the perpetual surge and continuity of classical education in contemporary philosophic and scientific thought.
The triangle of evolution is set free and unconstrained to lean upon the stone column of tradition, to draw from the condensation of its wisdom and flow into tomorrow like the steel structure of a ship.
Thodoros Papayiannis has entrusted in his work the
quintessence of the formalist perfection, a result of his long excursion in the theme of two figures fusing into a binary unit.
He builds his volumes with stoic concentration and relieves them of sterile realisms. The artist carves the stone with a sharp eye for outlets of light through incised edges and rough, vertical, horizontal and oblique cuttings.
Nearly three metres of Limassol stone are thus turned into a composition of two figures, where one appears to emerge out of the other and also to be absorbed into it, through a plastic osmosis which points to the fascination of the myth, an inclination toward a transcendental uplifting, where bodies and heads are elongated out of proportion, thus paying a tribute to Cyprus and its world.
The figures refer to historical or mythological archetypes, embodying the first proprietors of the island, as well as the multidimensional conceptual pattern of Greece and Cyprus through the ages. They can be read as an ode to the missing persons of Cyprus and all those who, having lost their loved ones have nevertheless preserved the warmth of their presence in a fusion of life and remembrance.
In the main, however, the two forms praise the culmination of union, which is the erotic intercourse of the couple, as a perpetual social and cultural nucleus.
With its unadorned, doric, almost unbending form and the functionality of its primordial shape, the sculpture acquires the easily remembered hue, which according to Thodoros Papayiannis, a work of art should possess in a public and much frequented spot, like the coastal embankment of Limassol.
Born out of the hands of a contemporary master of stone, the work carries in its composition and texture the clarity and density of Cypriot art and seems to have been excavated out of the depths of the land of Cyprus.
The gates of Yiorgos Tsaras are a tribute to the histocical and cultural connection of the twin cities of Thessaloniki and Limassol.
Being in fact a symbol of communication these gates, set against the sea horizon, signal the entry into a new era of creative coexistence between men, societies and cities.
The utilisation of industrially processed metal gives a contemporary form through a retrospection to the ancient Greek geometric structure, ever in search of rhythm and harmony. Within the gates, located in an apparently asymmetric relation to each other, there is an inherent, though prima facie unseen, symmetry created on the basis of the golden mean number. A number, which takes us from the Pyramids, the Parthenon and the ancient Greek sculptures to the architectural propositions of Le Corbuiser.
The work is a synthesis at three levels: an epic or main part, made of the two parallel gates, a dramatic lower part, with the inclined gates and a lyric part, where free elements insert themselves in wave-like shapes. Obviously, both the parallel and the inclined gates entail a plastic independence, which would allow, without any loss, for their separate existence. Their coupling, however, enriches the structure with multiple readings and aesthetic interpretations. The leaning gates, in collaboration with the ones pointing obliquely downwards, enhance the notion of a third dimension in the work while at the same time develop a pace culminating in the full display of the erect gate.
The gates, the solid geometric patterns of the rectangular, human and cultural space and time, are painted in the black colour of existential being. Grafted upon them are the fluid elements of the waves in red, the colour of love, passion and philosophy, which generate art, science and religion. These red waves, serving as vehicles of emotion, are a break with the rectangular logic of the sculpture, adding an ethereal finesse to the rigid limits of geometry.
Two gates - two histories of cities, in a sequence of reconciliation with nature's elements: the geometricity of the work being recorded upon a background of vertical lines of palm trees and a diagonal flow of red waves marching along the waves of the sea.