Sculpture Culture: Urban Statues In Athens For Your Instagram
- by XpatAthens
- Tuesday, 24 November 2020
From post-modernist city icons to muscle-bound monarchs, track down these urban sculptures that have slipped the museums to enliven the streets and squares of Athens.
Sculptures, from small figurines to larger-than-life statues, have been a continuous hallmark of Greek art from antiquity to modern times—most famously the friezes from the Temple of Zeus and the Parthenon. These imposing artworks honoured benefactors, commemorated events, and told stories. Others were decorative, created for the sheer joy of their beauty. Today, the ancient masterpieces are to be found in museums, but the streets of modern Athens resemble public art galleries, offering a dynamic display of the conventional and the quirky for anyone who seeks them out.
Where: Athens Concert Hall grounds, Vas. Sofias & Kokkali streets.
The sculpture's monumental size reflects the international star power of its creator, Chryssa–one of a handful of contemporary Greek artists to have shown at the Guggenheim, Philadelphia's Institute of Contemporary Art, Paris's Musee d'Arte Moderne, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Featuring a trademark mix of neon, stainless steel, and plexiglass, this figure-eight sculpture is as hard to decipher as much of Chryssa's works forcing the viewer to pause and ponder. The twisted figure depicts the agony of the mythical queen, who murdered husband Agamemnon for sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia–or perhaps a fit of jealous over Cassandra. Of course, you don't need to get into knots over what sculpture means to enjoy its clean lines and flowing forms.
Where: Intersection of Nikos and Ermou streets, Syntagma
Dimitris Armakolas's sculpture may sit at one of the city's most trafficked pedestrian intersections yet it somehow goes largely unnoticed by the thousands of shoppers and tourists strolling past.Its name, Anadyomeni, references the famed image of Venus rising. It's an image reinforced by the water gushing from the rough blocks from which the truncated female form emerges. Armakolas created his 'Emerging Venus' in 1975 and the bronze was part of the National Sculpture Gallery collection until 2003 when it was installed at its current coordinates.
Where: Plateia Kotzia, Athinas street, between Monastiraki and Omonia
"This is Athens, the ancient city of Theseus" reads the inscription on the northwest flank of Hadrian's Gate, one of the city's most photographed ancient monuments. It's only fitting then that the mythical king of Athens stands guard on the square opposite City Hall. The sculpture, a collaboration between Sofia Vari and husband Fernando Botero–a legend in the world of modern art–is an abstract composition with a bulky, oddly muscular feel. Viewed from certain angles, it resembles two wrestlers rather than one muscled-up hero.
To see the full gallery of instagramable urban staues in Athens, please visit: thisisathens.org
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