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The face reflects the immense art tradition of Europe

Text and work by Loukia Richards. Photo credit for Christ II: Christoph Ziegler.

The icon, an indispensable element of the Christian Orthodox visual tradition, inspires my series “Icons”.

The presence of the saints faces and the role of the icon in the religious rituals is not just art history for me, but part of my everyday life in Greece.

Man is the creation of a loving God: this is the icons message that act as mediators between God and man. The strict rules of icon painting, rooting in the pictorial traditions of Greek antiquity, turn their making into a sort of “art asceticism” – the latter meaning both meditation and exercise.

In my jewellery series “Icons” I replace the traditional techniques – encaustic, mosaic, fresco – by embroidering saints portraits on paper while I follow the rules that determine shapes, colors and archetypes.

The “Icons” series is my attempt to catch the intensity of the moment when the contact between man and God is activated through the worship of the icon. The eyes of the saints reflect the intensity and directness of this experience.

What is the European cultural tradition without the image of the human face? The face, in its manifold representations in the Orthodox tradition, still serves as a bridge between the physical and the metaphysical. My “Icons” series, on which I have been working since 2009, reflects the need to deal wih this art heritage and actively preserve it.

Loukia Richards is WERT/voll co-curator.



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