CULTURE

New landmark in Athens city center

A treat awaits those passing by the corner of Vassilissis Sofias Avenue and Neofytou Vamva Street in Kolonaki: It is artist Christina Sarandopoulou’s sculpture called «Step,» which, situated at the entrance of a large office building, is a pleasant surprise and brings about a change of atmosphere in one of the Kolonaki entrances. The sculpture consists of seven steel balls which are slowly, yet continuously, spinning and are decorated with large fingerprints on their surfaces. Sarandopoulou’s sculpture has many of the features which publicly displayed works ought to be able to claim: It is eye-capturing, it intrigues people’s curiosity, and it can immediately strike a relationship with the viewer, whether it be positive or negative. Sarandopoulou talked to Kathimerini about «Step,» but also about her exhibition which was recently on display at the Pieridis Gallery. Why do we not see more works of contemporary sculpture on display around Athens? Are Greek sculptors hesitant because of the burden of the huge archaeological heritage? I think it has less to do with the level of sculpture and more with the State’s lack of concern. Unfortunately the government is indifferent and opts for art forms it believes are more appropriate for the wider public. I am afraid we missed out on an opportunity with the Olympic Games, we could have embellished the city with more works of art. Artists do not receive the necessary support from the State and they can only rely on themselves financially. They have no motivation other than the need to express themselves. Artists feel awkward, especially now that installations and constructions are becoming more popular and the boundaries between sculpture and painting are fading. They say that in order to love a sculpture, people ought to feel the need to touch it. There are many works of different kinds, that serve different purposes. For example, we must have busts and sculptures that function as bridges to our historical past. The viewer needs to feel a connection with the artwork in order to love it. It is nice to see it change depending on the light and the seasons and to be able to connect it with one’s experiences. In Greece we are not used to forming such relationships. If you raised the question: «What is public sculpture?», most people would answer, «A bust.» Why do fingerprints come up so often in your sculptures? I have been working on them for 15 years. They are a natural pattern that defines the human species and they are also a biological proof of our brain’s existence. Animals leave marks, we leave prints. Fingerprints are nature itself, imprinted on our fingers. At the same time, fingerprints have a recurring motif. Galaxies have a similar shape. Therefore, the prints are related to the small and large scale and to the obvious but also to the secret aspects of identity. On «Step,» the fingerprints are placed on balls that move like the universe.