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School News > School News > Thank you for the donation of Art "JM Harlequin" by VASSILIKI

Thank you for the donation of Art "JM Harlequin" by VASSILIKI

Our special thanks to international sculptress and painter VASSILIKI and her family for her generous gift of art to St Catherine's.
21 Jan 2021
School News
JM Harlequin
JM Harlequin

Thank you to the international sculptress and painter VASSILIKI  and her family for their generous gift to St Catherine's, the "JM Harlequin", which is part of the artist's wordwide installations "The City of Games" 

The “City of Games” by the sculptress and visual artist Vassiliki is considered to be the biggest in scale contemporary art installation in the history of art. Two thousand sculptures and an one thousand square meters interior and hand painted space named “The Temple of Colours” had been selected by the Municipality of Paris, London, Athens, Aichi, Martigny, the Ministry of Culture and Civilisation of France, the Camden Arts Council in Great Britain in order to be exhibited in spaces of great importance like the historic Place de La Bastille in Paris with more than four millions visitors. The monumental kinetic installation was inaugurated in 2000 by the Mayor of Paris M. Jean Tiberi at the presence of the Prime Ministers of every European Country.

THE ARTWORK JM HARLEQUIN Material: casted in fibre glass and painted by hand with aviation & marine DuPont coating in four layers

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the international sculptress and painter Vassiliki for her generous gift of art to our school, which will be part of St Catherine's heritage for the next generation and beyond. Click here to see a video of the beautiful artwork, which welcomes our students and staff into the foyer of the new Upper School building and enjoy the photo gallery below. We look forward to sharing this fabulous piece of art  in our main entrance of the Upper School, when the time is right for you all to start visiting us again.

VASSILIKI (Vassiliki Benopoulou), born in Athens in 1960, is a visual artist and sculptor internationally renowned for her enormous kinetic installations as well as for her conjectural interventions. Exceptionally talented and motivated, is an artist with interdisciplinary academic background. She studied Greek, English and American Literature at the Kapodistrian University of Athens, Fine Arts at the American University of La Verne and the International School of Arts in Italy. Nicolas Carone was the professor who inspired and encouraged her mostly while Pierre Restany became her mentor and supporter during a critical period of her artistic career.

Philosophy and every aspect of Theosophy developed by man throughout the centuries have been the passionate interests of her study and research. The philosophy that has been imprinted on her art is defined by the artist herself with the latin word “Divinitas”, especially on her paintings and sculptures of her first cre- ative period (1976-1996) which represents a conceptual adaptation of the divine in the human intellect and emotional impact.

The divine of the human nature and the psyche, as defined by the Greek philosopher Aristotle, have played an exceptional role in Vassiliki’s idea of human integration within the framework of a philosophical and spiritual code and not of a religious one. It continued to play a prominent role even in the creation of her immense kinetic installations.

The idealistic inner beauty and harmony of the human beings is Vassiliki’s reality. The negative personal and universal incidents of life make her turn into utopia quite often, creating her own vision towards the world, embracing every aspect of life with the strongest belief in the victory of the positive inner powers over the negative ones. She dares standing up towards the catastrophes, the conflicts, and the contradictions, experiencing them as the only way of self development.

In her paintings as well as in her installations, Vassiliki has documented the productive dialogue between art and life through everlasting cultural and spiritual figures and symbols. Her work as a whole is defined by coherent, autonomous thematic evolutionary units, and it forms a creative polyptich, which reflects genuine existential awakenings and a philosophical contemplation on man and the divine.

Profoundly homocentric Vassiliki’s art signifies the continuation of a route dedicated to the mystery of existence through symbolism. In the devout environment of her installations-environments which extend to areas of over 3.000 square meters, she combines her artistic proposal with the everlasting concern of inner balance, and man’s position in the universal whole.

Man’s ultimate goal, as it is expressed through the dynamics of her sculptures, is the struggle which aims at accomplishing the unity of all conflicting powers.

Daring and concerned, Vassiliki continues her speculation and pursuits of the transformation of the image revealing the new interpretation of her work consisting of elements from Commedia dell’ Arte (The City of Games 2000). The mystagogy of self-knowledge was and remains to be the most important aim of Vassiliki’s art. In her first monumental installations the artist has been working with the mirror on cross-shaped sculptures discrediting or entrapping the fragmented idol’s representation while giving priority to frugality and clarity of sculpturalexpression.

An artist of a rare intellectual sensibility, Vassiliki combines a strong motivation for advancement and progress with high professionalism and a constant search for perfection with thoroughness, while implementing her energetic temperament in order to innovate.

Her installation The City of Games (2000), is considered to be one of the biggest in scale installations, composed by two thousand sculptures, all painted by hand with an astonishing geometrical, almost compul- sive, accuracy, a plethora of colors, shapes and endless arabesques flying into the air and outlined by the figures of Dancers, Acrobats, Guards and the Harlequins -the dominant figure of the City-through swings, the wheel, balls and other machine-made and kinetic devices. Following the inspired “Stavroschimites” (1997), referring to the form of virtue through its embodiment in the human figure, Harlequins emerge as a key symbol of the artist’s approach toward life, death and the divine through the creation of her ideal beings. The characteristic multi-colored diamond shape costume of Harlequin, the protagonist of Commedia dell’ Arte, is the primary motif of The City of Games.

A magestic «stage» with all the necessary paraphernalia promising the trip to the magic world of imagination through the unknown, behind which lurks the danger of balance, the City of Games is an independent, integrated and self-sufficient environment. It carries along its visitors due to the grandness of its extension and the indescribable game of the senses. Dressing up its surroundings, the diamond shape evolves into an enigmatic game of colour combinations that is based on the optical experience and perception.

The “Temple of colors” is certainly the biggest three-dimensional painting in the history of contemporary art so far, covering a surface of 2.000 square meters, all painted by hand.The color tones, the combinations as well as the diamond shapes are almost never perceived to be the same. This differentiated optical perception is due to functions and stimuli of the human brain. A game of dizziness and intoxicating «hypnotism» accompanies the acrobatic attitude of the brain this time. Vassiliki perceives all these masks as the undertaking of incompatible standpoints in life, a walking on thin ice, being the achievement of a sensitive balance and paying its price

During one of the most troublesome period of her adventurous life (2004-2010) she devoted her never-ending creative impulse to a deep research in the human embraces which gave birth to her sculptures, installations and paintings under the title “Being together”. Balance, passion, unity, harmony, even romance give an end to the human conflict during the “Being together” procedure. Feeling unable to face reality during that period of her life, as a conscious survivor turns to utopia for healing herself in order to come back (2014-2015) with one of her most esoteric and humanistic works under the title “I Believe”. An installation composed by paintings, sculptures, environments and performances and all the elements of artistic expression like music, poetry, prose, light which made Vassiliki one of the most accomplished total artists in the contemporary art with an exceptional record of visitors at her exhibitions.

Her most recent work, still in process, was born throughout an extreme experience of hers concerning her personal struggle to deny reality towards the life-threatening condition of a beloved person and to try beyond any limits to search from every aspect of view the contradictory powers both within herself and the interaction with the other. Love for Vassiliki is a state of being and not just a feeling. She narrates her new story in terms of a personal diary with principle heroin herself, expressed by the figure of a young girl, and a chair which is used by the artist as means of elevation, reinforcement, balance, collapse, freedom, presence and absence together.

“The chair of V” is born on canvas and celebrates her secret power and identity into the form of a sculpture which will be dominant in the coming new installation under the title “I Believe”.

Vassiliki has presented her work in individual exhibitions worldwide attracting more than 2.000.000 visitors with her kinetic enormous installations. She has been honored with distinctions and awards. Most of her works are exhibited permanently in public spaces while others belong to private collections. She lives and works in Greece and Italy.

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