The Start

“Entire life springs from a centre,
Which  undergoes diffusion.”
Auguste Rodin

Steps of Life constitutes Christina Saradopoulou’s latest voluminous unity of works, which reveals to us the starting point in her visionary achievements. In 2003, she created an installation entitled “Steps of Life- First Step”, combining durable stainless steel with video’s immaterial image. Without adhering to morphological classicism or strict realism, she opts for the potency of abstraction, imagination and transcendence. Form and rhythm blend happily in her present installation of huge dimensions (500x500x300cm.), thus boosting the correspondence between form and content, and the fusion of form and feeling. The solid shape of her material and its incorporation into space taxed her abilities, before her artistic concept became a plastic symbol of inner feeling and truth. First Step initiates us to a provocative conception of coexistence of sculpture and video, thus enhancing the notional existence between the principal steel material and the austere constructional form with the video projection of a newborn baby. The work’s geometric layout is based on neatness and symmetry. The sculptress is a persnickety planner and a studious executor. Her composition is an ensemble of sings, sizes and linearities, articulated to refer to a reality. Thus, it becomes a canvas, a design, by which to reproduce life and explore the dynamics that define it. She essays to contact protohistory, which she affiliates with existence. By all accounts, the installation’s semantic culmination is what engrosses her attention. As such, she attempts to abolish or extend the borders between art and life. Her goal is obvious: life’s gestation, vitality, life’s revelation and perpetuity.

Saradopoulou’s every artistic endeavour is subject to a rigorous exploration. She wants to track out sculpture’s complex paths and use a code more mystical and less confessional to map out personal feelings. Thus, she resorts to dreams and things not bargained for, by creating works usually of monumental dimensions, actuated by the breath of life. Their kinetic makeup (Sisyphus, Step, et al) reveals aspects of our times, an age of intense rivalries and provocations, whereby abundance and/or greatness brush aside paucity and/or littleness. Her imposing three-dimensional spheres, riddled with fingerprints, allude to the uniqueness of each personality and the world’s complex nature. She plays contemplatively with her work’s empty and covered surfaces, by way of gaining that transparency which overtly eliminates and creates a sculpture that develops equally between its inward-looking and its conspicuous existence. The sculptress has assimilated the importance of vacuity in the compactness, opaqueness and heftiness of steel, associating her morphoplastic quests with her early creative years, when she assiduously explored transparency on her sculptural propositions, in her effort to establish a wholly individual expression. From 1984 to date, Saradopoulou has presented numerous examples of her work, all evidence of how deeply she has fathomed the meaning of art.

First Step expresses the continuance of her quests, and introduces us to an evocative conception of her sculpture’s coexistence with the picture of a newborn baby. The work’s development relies on neatness and symmetry, linearity and curvilinearity. Two rhythms familiar from prehistoric art: the straightness of Being and the curvature of Eternity. Two paramount powers in the forms’ inner being. Her sculptural activities presuppose the existence of dozens of sketches-cum-studies, formulations of her ideas and visions. The work’s architectonics with its diagonal straight lines produces an artistically dynamic spatial form. It would appear that with the passing of time the sculptress is hell-bent on becoming simpler, more concrete and discernible. Her forms opt for free fantasy and expressive austerity. Rhythm, harmony and beauty are the tenets she held, for to follow her own path and promote her ideals.

Saradopoulou does not imitate, does not copy, but composes or goes along with unexpected contrasts. The given gives way to the relative, and rationale to liberal expression. The sculptress presents for the first time video projections, inspired by her oeuvre’s familiar milieu. It concerns Step, her huge piece of sculpture in Athens, with its seven large spheres riddled with fingerprints, traces of man. Once again one observes the artist’s anxiety to capture time, life’s momentariness, motion. To a point, I feel Henry Moore’s dictum goes hand-in-hand with the evolutionary adventure of her sculpture, which expresses man’s passion for life: “There is a functional difference between beauty and the power of expression. The purpose of the former is to please the senses, whereas the latter possesses intellectual vitality, which for me is more appealing, and goes beyond feelings.”

Steps of Life were inspired and created for the support of the Society of Volunteers Against Cancer, with the kind patronage of Janssen-Cilag Pharmaceutical Company, to whom we all extend our warmest thanks. We also give our thanks to the Second Program of the Greek Radio (ERT, ERA 2) and Kosmos, Hellenic Broadcasting, for their promotional sponsorship. Last but not least, we wish to express our gratitude to the Mayor of Glyfada, Stelios Sfakianakis, and the Vice President of the Municipal Enterprise for Development and Culture, Petros Georgopoulos, for their interest in and support of the activities of the Pieridis Museum.

Takis Mavrotas
Director, Pieridis Museum