Searching for harmony in a one-dimensional world – The art of Erietta Bordoni

Shortly after my visit to Erietta Bordoni’s studio, I received a clarifying message from her in which she tried to explain her artistic intentions: “I hope you understand that my goal in my work is to bring harmony, as much as possible, given the our contradictory, meteoric reality, maintaining our state of equilibrium. That’s why I marry these different materials. And that for me art is purification and healing, as it has been for millennia.” Indeed, as I had the opportunity to find out for myself, Bordoni’s works emanate peace, balance and harmony, which are also present in the Greek landscape. Not by chance, in our conversation the artist was quick to mention Matisse, who occasionally gave his works to friends to make them feel better. Likewise, Vordoni’s ultimate goal is painting that has a healing and regenerating power painting capable of evoking pleasure, mirth and exultation.

Erietta Bordoni’s works contain clear references to Epicurean philosophy: on the surface—woven from contrasting materials—we find passages from the Tetrapharmacus, the most characteristic of which is: “It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living with prudence and dignity and fairly”. In fact, this handwritten message sounds the alarm, addressed not only to the viewers of Vordoni’s work, but also to every modern person who is searching for the true meaning of life. Let us not forget that, according to Epicurus, the reverse is also true, which is implied by the words: “…just as it is impossible to live wisely and honestly and justly without living pleasantly.”

Vordoni’s painting warns and protects. Her paintings work like a talisman for those who own them and can enjoy them every day. Her painting is humanistic, but with a strong metaphysical aura. It is visionary painting based on empathy and an aversion to self-centeredness. The artist creates multiple spaces that literally—due to the reflection of her materials—as well as metaphorically, mirror ourselves in a state of emotional alertness. Looking at these complex spaces and the spectral figures that inhabit them, you get the feeling that time stretches out like a dream. You can see people embracing, their eyes fixed on the light, absorbed, magnetized, enchanted by the beauty of the landscape. You distinguish flowers, carnations and blue tulips, butterflies and horses, which have symbolic power. In Vordoni’s works, man is depicted in a state of flight and spiritual quest, sometimes presented as a modern Icarus, as a superhero flying in the sky and sometimes as a lone horseman, thus conversing with Picasso’s archetypal figures.

If we wanted to summarize the main characteristic of Erietta Bordoni’s painting, we would say that it is the search for harmony in a one-dimensional world dominated by excess, selfishness and greed. Her work is characterized by contemplative mood, dialogue, (restrained) eroticism, tenderness and lyricism (one thinks of Marc Chagall). For Vordoni, the ideal of beauty is not an abstract—and nowadays misunderstood—idea. On the contrary, it is an essential component of art and contributes to its understanding. And it is precisely this ideal that runs through Bordoni’s painting – a painting created with particular sensitivity, care and devotion.

Christopher Marinos
Art Historian

The totems as landmarks, as “Hermai” that establish the entrance to houses and temples, as boundaries of the path to each journey, are also a symbol of the occupation of a space that would otherwise have no masters. therefore it would not be defended by anyone The concept of occupation – protection of marking boundaries, of leaving traces, is the
antidote to excessive consumption without energy mutation In Bordoni’s work, the combination of the archetypal demarcation symbol with the epitome of a mystical figure, brings back the sense of the sublime of Byzantine art, the idea of the “image”, in conjunction with the ancient tradition of statuary .

Emi Varouxakis

Erietta Bordoni, in her last exhibition in May 2012 in Milan, speaking about her work, said the following: “I think we live in a time where everything is pending. Where we are called to marry and harmonize contradictions and contrasts so that we can live in harmony. To express this era on transparent materials, in an “immaterial space” gliding in metallic sparkles,
touching the softness of a velvet, pressing the porous surface of a burlap, my work is born. A piece of work
often three-dimensional, where opposites fall in love, marry and between textures and matter allow a journey in the dream. I paint with oil, I draw with charcoal, with ink, I leave traces that emerge from collective memories or from those that surprise me, enchant me and I want to protect them from the sweeping passage of time.”

Milan, Italy 2010

The art of Erietta Vordoni

The color – above all – in the painting of Erietta Bordoni reveals, unfolds the secrets of forms, ideas that often compose an underground dramaturgy.
The shape is not sharp, it always manifests itself with some implication: suspicions and whispers of thoughts, momentary impressions which come from the real world, to be transformed into a peculiar metaphysics.
The models, whether they are people, horses, trees, plants or just a seat somewhere between chaos and actual landscape (landscape memory), are enveloped in the diffused light of her colors.
I have been following the transformations of Erietta Bordoni for a long time now, since the Paris years, at the end of the 20th century, and I wonder how she manages to combine post-impressionism, expressionism and poetic allegory!
Her Eras range from the harsh design with the lush color of her works such as the Titans (cycle of great power) and later to the philosophically sparse with few colors of her other cycle (I would call it the “theme of solitude and self-concentration”), to culminate in the gardens of Epicurus, with the giant plants, of strange unreal worlds.
Her recent creations unfold epic images, of a humanity in flood and exile, groups of people, in search of innocent places, where the creator Erietta Bordoni leads us to new thoughts of mystery and riddles.
The visual effect and “harvest” of her works makes me think of some parallels with other figures of European painting, especially the French post-impressionists Pierre Bonnard (in the peculiarity of liquid colors in closed spaces) and Edouard Vuillard, in the rendering of colors of nature (the garden of Epicurus) with its own style, purely personal, unconventional and playful.
Finally, if we would like to accompany her works with music, I think Igor Stravinsky would be ideal: a multifaceted iconographer of the subconscious.

Christopher Christofis

Playwright – director, poet
Karolos Koon Drama Award 2021

Women’s memory is the center of Erietta Bordoni’s research, who finds references to the ancient world from her own imagination. Her totems, objects spread out in space like wandering souls, come to life from the countless images that mark them and are identified with endless episodes of a personal history. They are not individual moments but points of a collective history, words of a complete discourse.
Art is the landing in a dance without limits but clearly defined by the desire not to die.


…In her latest work, Bordoni raises key questions about the role of Art in recognizing a quality of existence that will transcend any form of earthly concerns. To be in harmony with the universe we must have an accurate sense of proportion, and in this spiritual state the human form functions as a central point of reference from which all our actions radiate….
Erietta Bordoni’s painting manages to represent the exact moment of balance, preserving it in the future where we will need to remember it again.

Dan Cameron
Director of the New Museum, New York excerpt from the catalog of the solo exhibition “There” Athens, May 1996

Her work is a hymn to the fragility of touch and the sensuality of painting. He does not paint descriptions and narratives, but mental states, sensations and impressions. It speaks of the immateriality of life, the beauty of the ephemeral, the precious of the occult. A work that invites us to internal reflections.

Florent Bex
Honorary Director of the Antwerp Museum of Contemporary Art

I try to imagine Bordoni’s work over time. I ask her how she imagines it working during it. “I would mostly like it to work in a friendly way.. he replies “To see passers-by stop and sit down. to chat with the sitting girl. to look for a break from the summer heat. to live with him. As I was leaving I remembered two verses by Goethe: ” If you want to gallop towards the infinite, then cross it within limits on either side of it…” And I walk away, leaving behind me the “Sky Hunters” of Erietta Bordoni, exploring the limits, galloping joyfully towards the infinite.

Iris Kritikou
November 2006