'Possible faces' (A) 

 

Interpretations of Ancient Greek Mythology




My sculptural work focuses on two related themes: the ‘Human Head', and the interpretation of  'Ancient Greek Mythology'. The first theme  I call 'Head - Lines' and is about the formal variety, tension and expression in sculpted heads, more or less abstracted, in shapes, planes, lines. The sculpture is not assigned to existing persons. The second theme - also related to heads -  I call 'Possible faces'. It is a contemporary interpretation of mainly Homeric protagonists who stand for essential ideas and concepts, which are elementary in our most basic experiences.


Priamos 




Stages of Priamos (1)
Agony


Last king of Troy















Mixed techniques, 2018
115 x 50 x 40 cm

Medea retold


Stages of Medea (1)


This sculpture is based on the interpretation of Medea in the retelling of the Ancient Greek Euripides tragedy  by the German author Christa Wolf, 1999, Medea. Stimmen, dtv, München. First published 1996. 

In the novel “Medea - Voices”, Medea is a tragic heroine who kills no one; a witch who only uses her powers for healing; a daughter who has connived at the theft of her father’s Golden Fleece for the best of political motives. 

Christa Wolf has thus made the dominant contrast in her version of the ancient world, not the usual one between Colchis and Corinth, between culture and barbarism, but one between an inhumane patriarchy and a more compassionate matriarchy, an opposition she had already explored in her lectures on Kassandra some years before. 


Cited from:  Germany: Myth and Apologia in Christa Wolf’s Novel Medea. Voices. Yixu Lü, Institute for International Studies, University of Technology Sydney. 
Portal Vol. 1, No. 1 (2004) 






Mixed techniques (detail), 2018

95 x 60 x 55 cm

Medea retold














Mixed techniques, 2018
95 x 60 x 55 cm

Medea retold

Fragments 
painting : 160 x 120 cm
sculpture: 95 x 60 x 55 cm

Playing ball Menelaos

King of Sparta - Cheated husband of Helen



Playing ball Menelaos

 

Envied by all suitors,

run off with desirable

Helena. For a while it goes 

well, but it is not always

easy to be Menelaus.

That damned dominate

brother, that Paris parasite, 
that adulterous wife, 
pretending to be a phantom
or the shadow of a cloud. 
Finally, the Elysian fields, 
nectar and ambrosia for
ever, and a lot of eternal
boredom, of course. 





Mixed techniques, 2021
48 x 27 x 38 cm




Menelaos Close up

Menelaos Close up

Laertes

Father of Odysseus and Ktimene
Husband of Antiklea
Former ruler of Ithaca
Argonaut



Laertes

 

You don't have 

to prove yourself

time over time.

Your views

are covered by

a gossamer veil

of humility - only 

your memories

keep you going

on, and maybe

a small trace

of hope.

 

Birds fly on

and off in their 

shadows on the 

wall, food for 

dreamers and

eager prophets.







Mixed techniques, 2020
48 x 27 x 33 cm

Two sides of Antiklea



Mother of Odysseus
Wife of Laertes




Odysseus met his mother again in the underworld of Hades, where he was looking for advice from the prophet Tiresias. Antiklea told that her grief for her missing son was so great that it led to her death. Odysseus tried to hug his mother, but then he experienced that she was incorporeal, like ghosts are.






Mixed techniques, 2020
47 x 26 x 36 cm

Overlooked Telemachos



Telemachos is the son of Odysseus and Penelope. He grows up at Ithaca during the absence of his father, amongst suitors who compete for the hand of his mother. The first four books of the Odyssee are about Telemachos, the so-called “Telemachy”. In his book “The Many Minded Man. The Odyssee, psychology, and the therapy of epic”, Cornell University Press, 2020, the author Joel Christensen speaks with regard to the poor educational background of Telemachos and his questionable social environment with his mother's suitors, about ‘learned helplessness’. In this hopeless situation the goddess Athene shows up to encourage Telemachos. 
Telemachos wants to eject the suitors but he doesn’t feel strong enough to do so. Athene advices him to leave Ithaca for a search for his father, and to collect different experiences as the ones he cherished so far, to be able to help his father after his homecoming. 






Mixed techniques, 2020
57 x 34 x 36 cm

No one asked Penelope 


Stages of Penelope (1)

Wife of Odysseus
Ruler of Ithaca during his absence
Dignity - Loyalty



Penelope's considerations
after Odysseus' return

 

Restless wanderer,

I can hardly see the 
difference between
my dark dreams and
those of ivory. What 
do you want to tell me 
during this long night, 
struggling with your 
memories, trying to 
recast your past in
order to handle an 
obscure future? 
 
Can you free yourself 
from what you're chasing, 
or does it remain the 
everlasting burden on your 
shoulder that you will never 
shed? And what will be our 
prospect, if there is one?

 

 






Mixed techniques, 2020
56 x 35 x 46 c

Penelope in disguise

Penelope and Menelaos

Eurykleia

Stages of Eurykleia (1)


Odysseus' nanny, victim of ancient slavery


Respect, dedication, nevertheless slavery.
Laertes bought Eurykleia from her father Ops, son of Peisenor, for twenty cattle. Ops and Peisenor are mentioned in the Odyssee by Homer, without further information about their backgrounds and status. You could conclude that the big deal "outweighed" the daughter's loss and happiness.


Eumaeos, another slave of Odysseus, complains: "Zeus, of the far-borne voice, takes away the half of a man's virtue, when the day of slavery comes upon him".


Slavery was common practice in ancient Greece. It was considered natural and also economically necessary, which says a lot about the moral state of society.

















Mixed techniques, 2020
42 x 26 x 30 cm

Eumaeos 

Swineherd and friend of Odysseus, victim of ancient slavery



Like Eurykleia, Eumaeos is respected, nevertheless a slave: "Zeus, of the far-borne voice, takes away the half of a man's virtue, when the day of slavery comes upon him". 
(Homer, Odyssey, Book 17, 322-324)







Mixed techniques, 2020
43 x 31 x 38 cm

Andromache

Princess of Troy, wife of Hector




Andromache's complaint

Hektor, elegant hero,
you beat Patroclos,
brother-in-arms of
Achilles, who will
never forgive you.
 
Your wife and mother 
of a futureless son,
weeps and laments
at the prospect of
their pernicious 
fate.
 
Homer, however
- the industrious
collector of atrocious 
stories – rubs his 
hands, satisfied, 
looking back at 
all that trouble.








Mixed techniques, 2021
67 x 31 x 34 cm

Odyssister - Ktimene 

Stages of Ktimene (2)





Ktimene is the rather unknown sister of Odysseus

She is mentioned by Eumaeos in the Odyssee:
Homer, Odyssee (15.361 - 370)







Mixed techniques, 2020
46 x 26 x 33 cm

Kassandra 

Stages of Kassandra (2)


Duality of truth












Kassandra is prophet of Apollo, 
daughter of Priam and Hecuba

Her faith: not to be believed
Bad business for a prophet


Mixed techniques, 2021
41 x 28 x 36

Severity of Kassandra

Kassandra and Menelaos

Prometheus


Stages of Prometheus (1)

Titan
Foresight
Husband of Pronoia



You – forward thinker – 

steal, with glow on your 

cheeks, the holy fire 

of the gods, for the sake 

of civilization. 

 

Everything has its price,

 and you know yours.

Zeus breaks with you 

and Hephaestos chains 

you on a rock, where 

an eagle picks out your 

liver, again and again,

until Herakles frees you

from this sad  fate.

 

You're still warning your 

brother Epimetheus, for 

temptation of divine gifts. 

Nevertheless - the incorrigible 

hindsight thinker - marries 

beautiful Pandora, with her 

pernicious jar, that she

– Proto-Eva – cannot resist

for long, to misery of people.

 



Mixed techniques, 2020
42 x 28 x 34 cm

Pronoia


Forethought




Pronoia is the wise wife of Prometheus








Mixed techniques, 2020
43 x 29 x 31 cm

Odysseus on Skheria





Stages of Odysseus (1)

Skheria is the home of the Phaeacians and the last destination of Odysseus before returning to his homeland Ithaca. He landed at the coast of Skheria, exhausted after his shipwreck. All lost and thrown back to itself. Princess Nausikaa found him there and took care. Eventually Odysseus also found himself here again, and maybe finally in a purified form.

Homer uses this stage in the Odyssee as a style tool to make Odysseus look back on his past years. Homer gives Odysseus the role of a reflecting storyteller and himself the role of draftsman of the hero epic.





Mixed techniques, 2020
24 x 34 x 34 cm

Questionable Kalchas

Danger of ideologies

 

Kalchas: questionable seer

 

Maybe I didn't really want 

to see what is, or what will 

come. I do not know the 

language of lost traces, and I 

see only afterwards the faded 

signs on flaking walls, omen 

of translucent birds. They didn’t 
prevent me from recommending 
that atoning sacrifice. Poor 
divination, Iphigeneia is always
 on my mind.

 

I am wirelessly connected

to false notes on my staff: 

a password, ever sent to me, 

is for my memory too 

long. I am sitting on the 

worn cushion of a rolling 

chair, on my way to an

abyss that I will achieve 

foresight, laughing until 

I choke.

 

I drop time as a useless

instrument, I embrace 

chaos, I renounce duration, 

repeating doesn't exist. 

Finally I recognize a glimpse 

of an ungodly existence.

 





Mixed techniques, 2018
75 x 40 x 35 cm

Homesick Antiklos

Agony






Greek warrior inside the Trojan horse

Helen circled the horse and imitated voices of warriors' wives. Antiklos was the only one who attempted to answer. Odysseus, next to him, shut his mouth, so tight that Antiklos died.








Mixed techniques, 2018
85 x 30 x 50 

Aeolos, keeper of the winds

Stages of Aeolos (1)














Mixed techniques, 2018
70 x 40 x 40 cm

Patroklos


Close companion of Achilles
Killed by Hektor during the Trojan war




Beyond friendship

What is left when

there is nothing left, 

unreasonable space 

maybe, remains of a 

membrane, vibration 

of broken connection

perhaps, or the lack of 

wonder.

 






Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Patroklos and Achilles


More than a friendship


Brothers in arms and lovers till the end
Two fused faces. If you concentrate on the middle, you see one face





Mixed techniques, 2018
70 x 45 x 45 cm




Prometheus in doubt


Stages of prometheus (2)









Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Comrade Elpenor



















Mixed techniques, 2018
60 x 30 x 30 cm

Odysseus wanderer


Stages of Odysseus (2)











Mixed techniques, (detail), 2018
90 x 50 x 30 cm



Cunning Odysseus


Stages of Odysseus (3)







Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Demeter


Stages of Demeter (1)







Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Ikaros falling









Mixed techniques, 2018
95 x 70 x 100 cm

Tiresias, blind seer



Stages of Tiresias (1)











Mixed techniques, 2018
60 x 20 x 20 cm

Alkinoos: a friend at the end


Odysseus is shipwrecked on the coast of the island of Skheria (Phaeacia in some translations). Alkinoos is the wise king of the Phaiacians. He is married with the even wiser Arete. They have five sons and one daughter, Nausikaa. The daughter is playing a special role in the story. She finds the castaway and takes care of him. She falls in love, but Odysseus plays for time. According to some sources (Aristotle and  Dicktys of Crete) Nausikaa later marries the son of Odysseus and Penelope, Telemachos. Skheria is the last stage of Odysseus’ long journey. Alkinoos brings him home to Ithaca with an enormous amount of gifts. During his stay on Skheria Odysseus recounts his adventures to Alkinoos and his court. His storytelling to Alkinoos is a large part of Homer’s Odyssee (Book 6 to 13).

 

I tried to depict Alkinoos in a sculpture. Not as an old man with a beard and with the signs of his dignity, but as the seafarer he is, with a hat against the coldness of the winds, and as father of a large family.

Alkinoos 

to Odysseus

 

I did not find

your ship on 

my beaches
where you
washed ashore,
no wreckage,

no goods and 

chattels, no ties

at all. Your past 
consists exclusively
of yourself. Your 
stories come slowly. 
They resemble the 
epic songs of passing 

singers, about love 
and war, passion 
and suffering,

recurring betrayal.

I'll take you home, 

vagabond.

 


Mixed techniques, 2021
76 x 28 x 29 cm


Penelope 



Stages of Penelope (2)








Mixed techniques (detail),  2018
67 x 55 x 35 cm




Zeus, Olympic CEO


Ruler of all gods
God of fate, law, lightning, thunder and sky

Son of Kronos and Rhea - Titans
Brother of Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Poseidon and Hades
Husband of his sister Hera
Father of a lot of children, among which: Aphrodite, Ares, Apollo, Artemis, Athene, Dionysus, Eris, Hephaestos, Moirai, Pan, Persephone, Helena, Herakles, Minos, Perseus, Sarpedon
Supreme deity of the Greek pantheon










Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Implacable Hera


Stages of Hera (1)


Hera, goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth
Sister and wife of Zeus












Mixed techniques, 2018
50 x 35 x 40 cm

Hephaistos


Stages of Hephaistos (1)


Blacksmith. God of fire, metalworking, sculpture
Son of Zeus and Hera











Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Charon: no free crossing

Transition




Ferryman of Hades

Carries souls across the river Styx, 
nevertheless: only when a coin had 
been placed in the mouth of a dead person









Mixed techniques, 2018
35 x 30 x 30 cm

Polyphemos - Cyklope


Nobody's enemy



Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Dionysos

Ecstacy, frenzy











Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

All those royal daughters

Fate





A lot of royal daughters died because of revenge, or ideologic fanaticism







Mixed techniques, 2019
100 x 60 x 50 cm

Kassandra


Stages of Kassandra (1)

Trojan priestess of Apollo. Daughter of Priamos and Hekuba. Her fate: not to be believed, because of a curse by Apollo.

As with Medea's sculpture, my interpretation of Kassandra was inspired by a novel by the German writer Christa Wolf (1929-2011). Wolf talks about the siege of Troy from the perspective of the seer and priestess Kassandra. Her story is an internal monologue about the course of her life and the decisions she has always made. She knows she will be killed soon by the hand of Agamemnon’s wife Klytemnestra. Wolf gives Kassandra a strong voice, that of a vulnerable, but self-aware woman in a predominantly patriarchal society. Kassandra also tells the extraordinary story of a matriarchal counterworld, lettery on the outskirts of the city. In my sculpture, I wanted to depict both the power of her character and the vulnerability of a woman who loses everything through ideology, violence, oppression and incomprehension. 

 

Wolf, Christa. Cassandra. trans. Jan van Heurck. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1984.

Nancy Rabinowitz: Christa Wolf's Cassandra: Different times, different views.




Mixed techniques, 2018
115 x 55 x 40 cm

Iphigenia

Cheated innocence

Stages of Iphigenia (1)


Daughter of Agamemnon and Klytaimnestra of Mykenae

Agamemnon intended to sacrifice her at insistence of the prophet Kalchas at Aulis, because of a lack of wind to sail with the fleet to Troy. In some sources the goddess Artemis rescued her and took her to Tauris to become her priestess. In some versions she should have been transformed into the goddess Hecate.

After the Trojan war Klytaimnestra killed her husband because of his terrible act. Orestes, brother of Iphigenia, killed his mother for that, had to flee, landed in Tauris, should be sacrificed on his turn and was saved by his sister. (Euripides: Iphigenia in Tauris).

I hope you recognize my struggle to express something of the impact of the dramatic content in this sculpture. As the sculptor Constantin Brancusi once said: "Things are not difficult to make; what is difficult is putting ourselves in the state of mind to make them."



Mixed techniques, 2020
100 x 80 x 40 cm
195 cm with standard

Odyssister - Ktimene


Stages of Ktimene (1)







Ktimene is the rather unknown sister of Odysseus
She is mentioned by Eumaeos in the Odyssee


Homer, Odyssee (15.361 - 370)

Eumaeos speaks about Odysseus' mother Antiklea and his sister Ktimene

“So long as she was alive, even though she was grieving, it was dear to me to ask about her because she herself raised me along with slender-robed Ktimene, her strong daughter, the youngest of the children she bore. I was raised with her, and her mother honored me little less. But when we both arrived at much-desired youth, they sent her to Same and received innumerable gifts in return. She gave me a tunic, a cloak, and sandals—wonderful clothing, and sent me to the field. She loved me more in her heart.”



Mixed techniques, 2020
50 x 26 x 34 cm






Odyssister: Sibling constellation

Stages of Ktimene (1)


Ktimene is the rather unknown sister of Odysseus
She is mentioned by Eumaeos in the Odyssee











Mixed techniques, 2020
50 x 26 x 34 cm


Polyxena


Victim of ideology and violence against women







Youngest daughter of king Priam and queen Hekuba of Troy

Sacrificed on the tomb of Achilles by the Greeks, after the fall of Troy












Mixed techniques, 2021
50 x 38 x 32 c

Penelope

Ithaka delayed
Odysseus' lamentation

 

I can hardly be further 

away, reaching with 

rigging and mast to

unmistakable signals 

from Ithaka, where 

I left you.

 

Trapped in the web

of fatal sisters, they 

torn - without 

compassion –  the

fragile wires of my 

faded provenance.

 

In rags of mist and a 

soft moon, my lamentation 

seems really hard to sing, 

I do not master fado, 

blues, or other elegies.

 

I should resist the

beckoning of tender, 

feathered Sirens,

to sail finally home.

 

 

Anodos - Kathodos


 

 

After months of meagreness

earth opens up, timid

and early, preparing

for the divine.

 

But, cyclical fate,

of what begins the end

is already said ahead, slow

transforms the new spring

in languid excess.

 

Hidden from decadent

sun glow, autumn is

waiting - with freakish 
shrill strokes - on the 
room summer is leaving, 

created to be worn out.

 

Inclement wind and rough 

rain allocate the days now,

until it winter pleases to 

descend - like Persephone, 

Demeter’s daughter:

tributary to Hades,

year over year.




Trojan

 


First hack: lady
kidnapped, not 
entirely against 
her will.

Last hack: game 
over, because of 
a treacherous horse,
meanwhile: a lot
pawns wasted.
 
Fingers of dawn, 
groping the burnt 
remains of a fortress 
that seemed so
impregnable.
 

 





Mixed techniques, 2018
40 x 25 x 30 cm

Trojan woman (1)





I could  easily have 
run into you, just 
around a corner, or 
at the marketplace, 
outside the city walls 
of Troy. Only coincidence 
got in our way, and a 
trifle like fourteen 
centuries. You said 
goodbye before I 
could arrive.

 

Due to time, we have

been separated from 

each other, your possible 
faces are anchored in my 
mind, they continuously
change, like stories I'm 
telling about you.

 


(Detail) Mixed techniques, 2021
56 x 43 x 38 cm

Trojan woman (2)





Possible faces

 

Multiple variety,

light and darkness, 

sculptors of your face

- it changes while I'm 

watching -  I see you 

often, your silhouette,

your looks, not steady 
enough to describe, yet
recognizable, occasionally. 

Trojan woman, I never 
knew you, but that doesn't
prevent me from seeing
your possible faces. 






Detail. Mixed techniques, 2021
56 x 36x 34 cm

Chivalrous Troilos





Troilos is a relatively unexposed figure in the Iliad. He is Kassandra's youngest brother. The German author Christa Wolf pays a bit more attention to him in her novel ‘Kassandra’ (1983), which comments on events of the Trojan War from the perspective of the Trojan king's daughter and seer Kassandra. On the very first day, Achill killed Troilos brutally without following the rules of the fight. Since then Kassandra (in Wolf’s view) has always called him "Achill, the beast". 

 

Shakespeare payed attention to Troilos and to Kalchas’ daughter Kressida in his eponymous play (1602) "Troilos and Kressida".
 
 
 
 





 
Mixed techniques, 2021 

52 x 40 x 24 cm

Hektor, Prince of Troy

Stages of Hektor (1)


Hektor’s last fight

 

Daylight has not yet 

completely disappeared 

on the lower fields before 

the closed gates of my 

lofty town. 

 

The beast is coming

soon, I am his prey. 

The child cries: "Daddy, 

daddy!" and I curse my 

hubris. People stare as

petrified from high walls, 

to a king foretold, who 

will never be one. The 
ruthless hunter drives 
me three times around 
the ramparts, until I face 
him in despair. 

 

If I will fall, hope and last 

dreams do also die, of those 

I love and leave too soon.



Mixed techniques, 2021
45 (60 with pedestal) x 27 x 32 cm

 

Hektor, prince of Troy


Stages of Hektor (2)

 

Achilles - the Greek hero - defeats Hektor, the idol of the Trojans. For Achilles, however, his death is not enough. Hektor is dishonored in front of his family and his people, tied behind Achilles' chariot, dragged through the dust, humiliated. 


In my paintings and sculptures I have depicted Hektor several times, in different stages. In two sculptures I depict his transience, symbolizing the demise of a human being, the degeneration of humanity, and the downfall of a dynasty. It's not pretty, art isn't always beautiful.

 


Mixed techniques, 2021
52 x 42 x 42 cm



Hektor, prince of Troy


Stages of Hektor (3)


It's not beauty I try to express, it's emotion in many facets

 

Hektor is defeated by Achilles who dishonored his dead body

“We have won great glory, and killed the noble Hector, whom the Trojans prayed to like a god, in Troy. So saying, he found a way to defile the fallen prince. He pierced the tendons of both feet behind from heel to ankle, and through them threaded ox-hide thongs, tying them to his chariot, leaving the corpse’s head to trail along the ground. Then lifting the glorious armor aboard, he mounted and touched the horses with his whip, and they eagerly leapt forward. Dragged behind, Hector’s corpse raised a cloud of dust, while his outspread hair flowed, black, on either side. That head, once so fine, trailed in the dirt, now Zeus allowed his enemies to mutilate his corpse on his own native soil.”


Homer, Ilias Bk. XXII: 393 – 404


Mixed techniques, 2021

41 x 44 x 38 cm