ARTNEWS – Interview to Zeta Tzioti
TITLE: Erietta Vordoni: Greek artists are gladiators in the art market. They strive and fight as distinct units in the international art scene.
The acclaimed painter Erietta Vordoni invites us to meet “In the light”, through her exhibition of the same name, which opens these days at the Evripides Art Gallery. This is a series of new, imaginative works that she created in the last two years, that they function “like talismans for anyone who has them in their home and can enjoy them every day”, as the art historian Christoforos Marinos very aptly points out in his text in the exhibition catalog.
With clear references to the Epicurean philosophy, which she artfully integrates into her “canvases”, Erietta Vordoni searches for the true meaning of life. Her works exude peace, have a therapeutic effect on the recipient and are characterized by a mood of escape into a dream world, where harmony, humanity, emotion, love, awe and rejoice prevail.
We met the award-winning visual artist shortly before the opening of her exhibition and talked about her new work and the role of Greek collectors in the art market.
Interview to Zeta Tzioti
– How did you choose the title of your exhibition?
– The title of my exhibition is “In the Light”. After the darkness of confinement due to Covid, and of isolation in general, the answer to these difficulties was to take a huge dive into my being, to find the essence of life, my balance and to then emerge into the Light. This is how the title of my exhibition was born.
– In all sections of your works, light plays a special role. Sometimes it spreads across the canvas, sometimes it focuses on a scene. Tell us about the importance of color in your work?
– Indeed light always plays an important role in my work. We live in a bright, transparent country and it would have been impossible for this abundant light not to affect my psyche. My temperament is a positive one, I believe that our purpose, despite the endless difficulties that arise in life, is to focus on the good things that happen to us, and above all on the fact that life is a divine gift, a light. Often in my current works there is a light source.
This can be the projection of our own light, our need for aspiration and development, the soul opening that we have achieved and can be achieved, if we have a positive goal that sheds light upon us to make it happen. Color expresses emotion. Cool colors –like light blue and other shades of blue– make you dream, escape, travel and give you depth. Warm colors, like pink, red, ochre, sepia, produce a sense of intimacy, create warmth, and often calm you down. The relations between the colors achieve the effect, manifesting the emotions you want to express.
– Your canvases capture elements of the Epicurean philosophy in its search of the true meaning of life. What does Epicurean philosophy mean for you, for your work, for your everyday life?
– If we reflect on our lives, we see that in the moments when we are happy with ourselves and the world around us, we are good and fair persons, full of love, who instinctively follow the words of the philosopher Epicurus. I believe that happiness goes hand in hand with mental balance and acceptance of the self and of the others.
Today, we are all isolated, stressed by the economic crisis, even by the threat of war. The Epicurean philosophy enjoins us to make peace with ourselves, to accept and love the world around us, to stop being materialistic, to respect nature, respect friendship, realize our limits, all of which demonstrates that the Epicurean philosophy is most certainly relevant today. It is this philosophy that led me to self-awareness, matured me, influenced my daily life and hopefully furthered my work as well.
i would like my paintings to fill the viewer with the inner peace that comes AFTER analysis and knowledge
– The figures in your canvasses are in constant motion in the void. They can move freely, continue in a straight line, collide, diverge, or unite to form composite bodies…
– My mental freedom and my need to fly above and beyond the physical limits is what perhaps led me to the creation of these multiple spaces, which, metaphorically, and due to the nature of the materials, mirror the viewer in a state of emotional alertness. I think that when I paint, space and time change, and expand as in a dream. Often my figures hug each other with their eyes fixed on the light, enchanted by the beauty of the unique landscape.
– What is the purpose of your works? Do you think they have a healing effect, that they fill the viewer with peace?
– My goal is to charge my works with as much positive energy as possible. I use symbols that have a beneficial effect on our unconscious. Even the relations between the materials can create a sense of well-being, and even better, “heal”. I want my works to fill the viewer with the peace that comes after analysis and knowledge. To act as talismans.
– The rising trend in the art sector is based on blockchain technology and is bringing changes to the art trade and the economy. How do you see new artistic expressions like NFTs?
– This is a rising trend based on technology, especially in the post-Covid era where communication happens online. I believe it is still in an experimental stage. The work of art for me is not an intangible image, but a work with body, textures, hues, energies, that act directly on the viewer. With the dizzying speed at which technology is advancing nowadays, I want the human race not to forget that our DNA needs bodies, physical contacts, rhythms that follow the beat of our hearts. I wouldn’t want technology to obliterate these human needs, but help them, letting these art forms work side by side with them.
– Do you think that the art market in Greece will improve in the coming years?
– Although the Mediterranean basin in general, and Greece in particular, traditionally produce visual artists, the Greek artists are often exceptional, although they are not yet an exportable product; neither the state nor our collectors care about this up till now, and unfortunately have an endless xenomania (though with bright exceptions such as George Stathopoulos). Foreign collectors support and promote their artists, and help them to establish themselves, and the value of their works rises exponentially. Greek artists are like gladiators, they strive and fight as distinct units in the international art scene.
Having received several important awards in France, I had the good fortune to have the support of the French Ministry of Culture which sent my work to various museums and international exhibitions. I hope that Greek collectors will overcome their suspicion towards Greek artists, understand their value and support us in the coming years in order to improve the art market in our country.
INTERVIEW TO Stephanos Tsitsopoulos for ATHENS VOICE 08.11.2022, 21:43
Erietta Vordoni- In the Light: The portrait of a lady
The artist talks about her life, and reveals some of the secrets hidden behind her landscapes and their protagonists.
Erietta Vordoni: Interview with the artist for the exhibition “In the Light” at Evripides Art Gallery.
The paintings of Erietta Vordoni’s latest are connected to the body and constitute the core of her constant quest in her painting. From the Paris years of the last century, to the present day when she is interviewed in her studio in Athens, her style and concerns have been established through a completely distinct manner: fluid colors, subconscious mental reflections, enigmatic allegories, whispers, innuendos and philosophical metaphors. Tangible, human, but also metaphysical at the same time, the frames of the “In the Light” unit continue, as Anastasia Papamanoli observes, “is the search for harmony in a one-dimensional world dominated by excess, selfishness and greed. Her work is characterized by a contemplative mood, dialogue, (restrained) eroticism, tenderness and lyricism reminiscent of Marc Chagall”. For the curator Christoforos Marinos, the new paintings of Vordoni also act “like an amulet for those who possess them and can enjoy them every day”.
I asked her to briefly review moments, people, places and ideas that defined her life and development, but also to unlock the secrets of these landscapes which are inhabited by mysterious people and horses, enigmatic butterflies, flowers and birds. She did it and here are her words: She complied, and uttered the following words:
I was born in Athens in a garden city called Filothei. I was sure, though I had never traveled anywhere, that the place where I was born was the most beautiful in the world. From my earliest childhood I liked to play with colors and shapes, and sat for hours in front of pieces of paper, white or colored, making collages, paintings, animals out of plasticine. The space around me and inside me was filled with figures, flowers, birds. This habit continued into adolescence, and so I decided to move forward as an artist in my life despite all the objections of my parents. I went to the Athens School of Fine Arts. I had the great fortune of having as teachers the founding father of modern Greek painting, Yannis Moralis, and Vassilis Vassiliadis, both of whom also introduced me to the art of scenography and costume design.
At the age of 18, before I really learned the basic rules of sculpting, I took part in a competition for the sculptural decoration of one underpass below Syngrou Avenue. The competition was open to all artists. I won the competition and worked with unskilled workers on the underpass between Efessou and Ayion Panton streets. There, were born swallows that danced, ran, showed direction and inclination. A relief of 1,400m2 was thus created.
Later, educated and mature, I did my second public work, entitled “Sky Hunters” on Kifissias Avenue, where Filothei borders Psychiko. I created a sculptural composition that emerges from a pool of water. There is a young aluminum boy balancing on a metallic blue ball, trying to find his limits. Behind him is a seven-meter copper tree trunk, symbolically blossoming by spewing water, with swallows flying about, impelling the viewer to fly over the grand avenue of what is perhaps his life. A young woman sits on the pool terrace facing out, inviting the viewer to sit next to her and become part of the work.
I graduated from the School of Fine Arts with an award for the entirety of my work. With a scholarship from the Academy of Athens I found myself in Paris at the Ecole Superière Nationale de Beaux Arts. Previously, I had been awarded an atelier in the Cité des Arts on the Seine, so I had plenty of space to work. I left Athens, bathed in transparent light, to find myself in the City of Light. There I continued my studies in sculpture at César’s workshop and painting with Leonardo Cremonini. Very soon, after taking part in various exhibitions, I managed to get the 1st Painting Prize at the International Salon de Montrouge in Paris. When I handed over my project, while chasing my 2 years old son to dress him, I fell down the stairs of the house and ended up in the hospital, so I couldn’t be at the opening of the exhibition at the Salon.
I remember that we had to return to Greece right after the opening and at some point, one evening they called me from Paris to tell me that I was very impolite, because while I won the 1st Montrouge Painting Prize and they prepared a whole reception to honor me, I didn’t have the courtesy to warn them that I wasn’t going to pick it up. I fell from the clouds. When they called me to announce this, the person who answered the phone thought, not knowing French, that they were referring to the insurance cost of my project. Immediately afterwards I returned to Paris and received the award and the award money, but unfortunately I missed the experience of the ceremonial reception that is so honorable.
A few months later, in the late 90s, the French Ministry of Culture awarded me a lifetime studio and started sending my work to various museums in France and abroad. Suddenly, while my life was so creative and the support from the state and the galleries was getting bigger and bigger, we had to return as a family from Paris to Greece. Fortunately, I had established strong relationships of friendship and appreciation with galleries in France, England, and Switzerland. As I had an atelier in Mont Parnasse, I was often given the opportunity to work in Paris as well, and the collaboration with the galleries continued, so I wasn’t isolated in Greece.
In Athens I had a new atelier. All white, with sole companions the paints and the endless different materials I use, the books, the music and here and there my judge and assistant, my son, who has an opinion since he grew up in studios and art spaces. Today he is still one of my best advisors.
For me painting is purification, a healing process. I believe that painting has energy and is capable of conveying thousands of thoughts and feelings to you. With Art in general, communication is essential because it can enter directly into your soul and often into your unconscious.
Knowing that we live in a transitional age, where there is great fragility, everything is up in the air, in question, there is a crisis of values, an economic crisis. For these reasons, I started painting on transparent materials. Nowadays, we are asked to marry the endless speeds and electronic communication with the dynamic need of our DNA for rhythms that follow the beat of our hearts. For all these reasons, I seek to harmonize contrasting materials. I like to marry the hardness of metal with the tender warm surface of velvet, the memory of a lace, the shine of a bead, and thus I paint with oil on a different “canvas” each time and the work is born.
The withdrawal and isolation imposed on us by Covid forced me to dive deep into my “being”, find my balances, the essential lost values, such as honesty, morality, justice, which, according to the philosopher Epicurus, is the source of endless happiness, of pleasure. I started painting huge flowers that symbolize the majesty of nature. People became small among them. The words of Epicurus run through these works. I often like to paint horses that symbolize good fortune, butterflies that represent the soul, lonely trees like offerings, people watching the coming of light in dreamscapes where time and space expand. My goal is to charge my works with positive energy as much as possible so that they work like talismans.
The color expresses emotion, cold colors, light blue and blue, they take you away, they calm you down. Warm colors, like reds, pinks, ochre, sepia warm you up, they create warmth. From the way you combine the colors, you get the feeling of what you want to express each time. As I move forward and mature, as I paint, the light inside me and around me becomes more dense, intense, revelatory, sweeps along all my senses, enchants me. People, shapes, nature, all swim in the light, the climax is coming. The journey of life in Art continues…
Interview of Erietta Vordonis by Phoebe Paraskeva (First Topic) 2022
1. How does Epicurean philosophy influence your work?
In a difficult time after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC where everything was meteoric, the principles and values had dissolved and the world lived in a permanent insecurity similar to ours Epicurus 364-270 apart from other proteins to be one is happy to be honest, moral and just, the reverse is also true.
In a few words, the philosopher tells us that to be happy we must be good within ourselves and with those around us and that happy people are automatically positive and balanced with everyone and with nature.
Epicurus’ philosophy influenced me to take a deep dive into my being and make many corrective moves.
It influenced me to be positive about life and its values and in this way to find my inner light.
Hence the title of my current light show.
My goal is for my works to have positive energy and be bathed in light as much as possible.
Huge flowers often appear, thus making reference to the garden of Epicurus, to nature where man is small in front of its greatness.
2. What role should art play in an age when man is lost behind technology?
Art for me is another perhaps more essential way of communication. It speaks directly to emotion, to the unconscious, stimulates thought, often works as a catharsis and medicine.
It reminds us again that we are human beings who feel, pulsate, live.
3. Your works are dominated by a peculiar technical understanding. By what criteria do you choose your subject matter? By what criteria do you choose your subject matter?
Because the purpose of my work is to harmonize as much as possible with the contradictory, meteoric reality while maintaining our balance, that’s why I marry different, disparate materials in my work.
I weave a canvas where I try to harmonize, for example, the hardness of metals with the soft tender surface of a velvet, the memory of a lace… and again there I paint with oil and the work is born.
My subjects are usually symbolic, for example in my last work a blue tulip sprouted by itself in some of my works.
I later searched to find out why I draw it almost obsessively and I learned that this flower symbolizes the calmness and Peace that we need so much these days.
Symbols come in a few words by themselves, they exist in our collective memory.
Like the butterfly that symbolizes the soul.
The horse good luck.
The bright pink after the gold and later the pearly white light symbolizes our need to unite with the creator.
The cataract the liquid element the purification.
4. Color and emotion. How do these two elements harmoniously combine in your work?
Emotion is symbolized by color.
Blue, for example, takes you far away, travels you. Warm colors warm you up and create joy.
You instinctively harmonize the colors accordingly to express your truth.
5. What role does allusion play in your works?
I like to say as much as can stimulate the imagination, the creative thinking, the emotion of the viewer to take him further.
I don’t like to express myself dogmatically, I love the viewer’s dialogue with my work.
It’s often what you don’t say that matters the most.
6. What is that element that turns a work of art from a two-dimensional illustration into an aesthetic masterpiece?
I believe its truth. The amount inhabited full of energy is the work Ta if its truth is so strong that it can be a transmitter of thoughts and a source of emotions in the viewer.
This is essentially the reason that makes a work a masterpiece beyond and above fashions, it makes it immortal.
7. How should the artist see the phenomena of his time and how to express them through his art?
The artist, if he is authentic, feels, experiences, willy-nilly, his era.
It is good to keep our strength our axis in the knowledge of an often negative reality. To try to open ways to the light, to our essential truth that can act therapeutically, give us happiness and why not purification.