Saturday 11 February 2012

The Flow of Life, Stella Bakatsi

My previous post on Attilio - which included photographs of some of Stella Bakatsi's work, (who was featured in this blog on February 14, 2011) - reminded me of the first exhibition of her work I went to. I looked up photographs I had taken at the time and  decided to do a post on that exhibition even though it was in 2007, as she is my favourite Greek ceramicist, and the exhibition was stunning. Is this cheating? I don't know, but I really wanted to revisit that exhibition and have a record of it.

The exhibition was called 'Roes', 'The Flow of Life', and was staged in 2007 in Red Gallery, Takis Street, Psirri, Athens.

Bakatsi's inspired abstract forms were extraordinarily dramatic and huge in size. Four of the sculptures were vertical, cascading down from above. Some were horizontal as if on a slab or examination table. Most of these sculptural works were composed of serial, bead-like elements: is it to suggest prayer beads, or are they suggesting molecular, microscopic cells (something that is of great interest to Bakatsi)? While entirely abstract, her sculptures evoke narrative-like qualities.

This is what Bakatsi says about this work: "When I started shaping with my hands the small spherical pieces of clay, I felt as if, by this repeated movement, I were counting my moments, as if I were counting life itself. It was something like a purification, an exorcism. I was led deep down into the paths of self consciousness, to insights into the nature of human existence: Body and Mind - Outside and Inside."

The vertical sculptures

"At first I made four works focusing on a part of life, from 'Youth' up to 'Ultimate Moment'. I had to give form to my thoughts and the materials I used were clay and thread. I named the clay Body and the thread Spirit"


Nioti, Youth, (stoneware clay, waxed thread, wire), 1997,  height 240 cm

"In Youth, where the beauty of the body is at its height, I used a lot of colour, hiding in its interior the spiritual part".

looking closer


Orimotita, Maturity, (stoneware clay, waxed thread, wire), 1998, height 240 cm

"In Maturity, the 'outside' - the Body - has little colour as its beauty is starting to fade away, whereas the 'inside' - the spiritual part - is rendered with vivid colour to signify the flow of energy".


looking closer


Sto Metaihmio, At the Turning Point, (stoneware clay, waxed thread, wire), 1999, height 240cm

"At the Turning Point the body has obviously deteriorated, leaving more space for the mind to dominate."

looking closer


Metavasi, The Ultimate Moment, (stoneware clay, waxed thread, wire), 2000, height 240cm

"The Ultimate Moment is just what the title implies, the moment between life and death".

"I exhibited these four works in 2000 under the general title 'The Flow of Life'. At that moment, I believed that I had relieved myself of a great burden".

looking closer

The horizontal forms

"But before long there I was again, making the same unconscious repeated movements with my hands. So, I continued with..."

Tafi, Burial, (stoneware clay, waxed thread), 2001,  floor installation, 290cmx170cm

looking closer

Apodomisi, Disintegration (stoneware clay, waxed thread), 2001, floor installation, 370x150cm

looking closer

Emvryo, Embryos, (Stoneware clay, waxed thread), 2004, 180x97cm

Yennisi, Birth, (stoneware clay, waxed thread, wire), 2003, floor installation, 240x120cm

"... in the endless circle of life".

looking closer

Mystikoi Codikes (pros exetasi), Secret Codes (to be examined), (stoneware clay, waxed thread, wire), 2002, 250x120cm

looking closer

Mesa Apo to Fako, Through the Lens, (stoneware clay, wire, glass), 2002, 77x59cm

Domi Proteinikon Morion, Protein Molecule Structure, (stoneware clay, waxed thread), 2006, 90x170cm

"In the end, with the last three works, I was led to the very beginning of life, the cell, the molecule, the amazing world of Genetics. This subject still fascinates me and, with my new work, I'm  continuing to search into this amazing microcosm!"

A portrait of the artist.


  1. What patience to make all those ceramic balls, do you think she has a house full of friends all making circular shapes for her? And aren't they stunning...

  2. She certainly has got a lot of (artistic) balls