Sculpture (b): Possible Faces




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 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 in agony



Stages of Priamos (1)
Agony


Last king of Troy



Mixed techniques, 2018
115 x 50 x 40 cm
(Detail)

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

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 after all

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 cm

Penelope in disguise

Penelope and Menelaos

Eurykleia, victim of slavery


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, king's son and a slave 


Kidnapped son of a king, 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, desparate wife


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,, duality of truth



Stages of Kassandra (2)






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 cm

Prometheus, foresight


Stages of Prometheus (2)



Titan
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 (2)

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 cm 

Aeolos, keeper of the winds


Stages of Aeolos (1)

 

Aeolos is the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea and the waters. Aeolos has been appointed by Zeus as the guardian of the four winds: Boreas, the north wind; Notos, the south wind; Euros, the east wind; Zephyrus, the west wind. On his return to Ithaca, Odysseus met the god of the winds on the Lipari Islands. The god gave him a bag in which the headwinds were locked up, for the benefit of a successful journey. His companions, however, could not control their curiosity and opened the bag to see what was inside. The headwinds escaped and caused suffering and misery and so much shipwreck that Odysseus' companions ultimately did not survive the journey. 

 

Aeolos also had a hand in the fact that at the beginning of the Trojan adventure the Greeks could not set sail, due to a conflict between the commander of the Greeks Agamemnon and the goddess Artemis. The windblock was lifted only after Agamemnon sacrificed his eldest daughter Iphigenia, at the behest of the prophet Kalchas. 

 




Mixed techniques, 2018
70 x 40 x 40 cm

Patroklos, beyond friendship


Stages of Patroklos (1)



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, two of a kind


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 (1)

 

Prometheus is a Titan and the creator of humanity from clay and in a diversity of colors. Hesiod (late 8th-century BC) is the first to report about Prometheus in his Theogony and Works and Days. Prometheus is mentioned as son of the Titan Iapetus by Klymene, one of the Oceanids. His brothers are: Menoetius, Atlas and Epimetheus (Afterthought). The latter married Pandora, the first wife, a gift from the gods, but not without ulterior motives. 

Prometheus stole the fire from the gods for the development of people. He is terribly punished for this by Zeus, the supreme god. 

 



Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Comrade Elpenor


Elpenor is one of Odysseus' companions. After a long stay on the island of the sorceress Kirke, he wakes up one day on the roof of her house, where he has fallen asleep. He sees Odysseus' fleet being prepared to leave. "Not without me, is it?", he thinks. Still half misty, he stumbles down the stairs, falls and dies.  Odysseus finds him again during his visit to the underworld, where Elpenor is refused entry because he hasn’t been properly buried.  He begs Odysseus to bury him with dignity, so that his soul can find eternal rest. Odysseus sails back to Kirke to properly bury Elpenor. This story is a model for the importance of burial rituals in Greek mythology and in ancient Greek culture.

 


Mixed techniques, 2018
60 x 30 x 30 cm

Companion of Odysseus

 

Odysseus left Ithaca with twelve ships to take part in the trade war against Troy. Men from prominent families accompanied him. Many of them remained nameless, as is often the case in histories in which the main characters receive honor or defamation, but depending on the presence of mass support. In the case of Odysseus, things turned out badly for all his companions.


Mixed techniques, 2017
25 x 25 x 25 cm

 

Odysseus, wanderer


Stages of Odysseus (1)

 

Odysseus, when we get to know him, is the king of Ithaca, married to Penelope and father of the young Telemachos. When Helena, the wife of Menelaos of Sparta, is kidnapped by Paris, a Trojan prince, a Greek Alliance is formed to bring her back and punish the Trojans. Odysseus is not very keen to particpate and pretends to have lost his mind. This is seen through by Palamedes, a recruiting officer, who will later, through a cunning treacherous ruse by Odysseus, must pay for it with his life. 

 

In Homer's "Iliad", 51 days out of the ten-year war against Troy, and later in the story of the long journey back home: the "Odyssey", Odysseus emerges as a heroic but also cunning and ruthless person. Odysseus is the creator of the plan to conquer the Trojans with a large wooden horse, built by Epeios and filled with soldiers. They succeed, despite warnings from the priest Laokoon and the Trojan king's daughter and priestess of Apollo: Kassandra. It is not likely that the capture of Troy actually took place by means of the stratagem of the horse. Homer does not mention it in the "Iliad". In the "Odyssey," Homer gives a brief description in the eighth song about Troy and the horse. Virgil (70 BC – 19 BC) discusses this in detail much later in his "Aeneid" in the second book. The  story was extensively covered in the epic "Ilioupersis" (The destruction of Troy) by Arctinus of Miletus. However, it is entirely based on oral tradition, for nothing of his works has been preserved in written form. It is also not known when Arctinus lived. It is generally believed that he worked between 775 BC and 741 BC and that he was a pupil of Homer. 

 

When he returns home, Odysseus awaits: his wife Penelope, who was suspicious at first, and who has  remained faithful in a house full of suitors who have been chasing her and  his belongings for the past ten years; many unfaithful servants; his son who has grown up among the suitors who tolerated him at first, but now want to kill him; Eumaios the faithful keeper of his cattle; his now elderly nanny Eurykleia; his also old father Laertes; and his dying dog who immediately recognizes him. He lives on his life after that, restless, scarred, until, as one of the stories goes, he dies accidentally at the hand of his son Telegonos whom he fathered on his return journey with the sorceress Kirke. 

 

 


Mixed techniques, 2018
90 x 50 x 30 cm



Cunning Odysseus


Stages of Odysseus (3)



Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Hades, dark ruler


Stages of hades (1)


 

Hades is the ruler of the underworld.  He is a brother of Zeus and Poseidon. Actually, he is entitled to a position among the Olympic gods, but he prefers to live almost always in the underworld. He can make himself invisible by putting on a helmet forged by the Cyclops. Hades is married to Persephone, daughter of Demeter, whom he kidnapped from the upper world. 


Mixed techniques, 2019
90 x 60 x 40 cm

Aeneas, fleeing founder


Stages of Aeneas (1)

 

Aeneas is a Trojan prince. During the decisive attack and destruction of his city, he fled – by order of the gods – together with his young son and old father and a number of confidants. After long wanderings he landed in Italy where he founded a new state from which the later Rome arose.



Mixed techniques, 2019
40 x 40 x 40 cm

Demeter, mother after all


Stages of Demeter (1)



Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Ikaros falling


 

Ikaros is the son of the famous architect and inventor Daedalos. Both were imprisoned by King Minos of Crete on suspicion of aiding Theseus in killing the Minotauros, a bull man who lived in a labyrinth designed by Daedalos. 

Daedalos made a construction out of wax and feathers that would allow him and his son to fly out of their prison. He warned his son not to fly too high. The sun would melt the wax. He also warned not to fly too low. The splashing seawater would make the feathers too heavy. Ikaros, in his enthusiasm about flying, forgets his father's advice and crashes into the Aegean Sea. 

In my imagination, Ikaros has lost not only his wings, but also his head, as an expression of thoughtless recklessness.
 

Mixed techniques, 2018
95 x 70 x 100 cm

Tiresias, blind seer


Stages of Tiresias (1)

 

Tiresias was one of the well-known prophets among the ancient Greeks. Hera punished him with blindness after she asked him who got the most pleasure from sex: the woman or the man. Tiresias could know because he himself has been both: a woman and a man. His answer that it was the woman did not please Hera at all. Zeus, who thought this was going a bit far, gave Tiresius the gift of prophecy as a kind of compensation. Tiresias was a mortal prophet. On his way back from Troy, Odysseus visited the Hades, the underworld where the dead reside, to consult Tiresias about the progress of his journey. Remarkably, Tiresias immediately recognized Odysseus. His blindness was probably over by then. 

 

In the dramas "Antigone" and "King Oedipus" by the renowned tragedy poet Sophoclos (496 – 406 BC), Tiresias plays an important role. 




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 hold off. 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, noblesse oblige




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, artist


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 - Cyclope


Nobody's enemy

Polyphemus is a one-eyed Cyclope, the son of the sea god Poseidon and the sea nymph Thoosa. He lives on an island in a cave, where he keeps a flock of sheep that he grazes daily. On his return journey to Ithaca, Odysseus and his men do not hesitate to plunder wherever they can. This is how they end up in the cave of Polyphemos. When the giant returns with his sheep, he places a large boulder in front of the entrance of his cave and devours some of Odysseus' men and asks who his uninvited guests are. Odysseus makes himself known as "Nobody". The Greeks themselves cannot remove the heavy boulder. So an attempt to kill the cyclops is not an option. They would remain imprisoned and perish. Odysseus has brought heavy wine and gives it to the giant to drink. He gets drunk. The Greeks take a stake from the wood fire with a glowing point and drill it with joint effort into the giant's eye, so that he is now blind. The next morning, the sheep have to leave the cave and Polyphemos drags the boulder aside. Odysseus and his men have tied groups of three sheep together and always hang themselves under the middle sheep. The giant scans each sheep to see if there are any prisoners on it. Thus the Greeks escaped and made their way to their ship, shouting. The giant notices – too late – that his prisoners have fled. He roars out. Other Cyclopes shout from afar what is going on and whether he is being attacked by someone. "By Nobody!" cries Polyphemos. 


Back on the boats, Odysseus carelessly shouts that it is Odysseus of Ithaca who has taken him for a ride. Now Polyphemus curses Odysseus and calls on his father Poseidon to help ensure that seafaring does not become a pleasure for the Greek from now on. Indeed, it won't be!


Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

Dionysos, ecstasy

Dionysos is, what is called, a relatively young god. He is the son of Zeus and Semele, the daughter of the Theban king Kadmos. Due to an act of jealousy by Hera, the wife of Zeus, Semele was killed. However, the god Hermes saved her unborn fetus and Zeus placed it in his thigh. Dionysos is the second child that Zeus himself bore next to Pallas Athena. In the case of Dionysus, you can even say that a double birth happened to him.

Dionysos is above all the god of wine and viticulture, as well as fruit growing. In this sense, there is also a connection with the goddess Demeter. Both play an important role in the mysteries of Eleusis. Festivals related to Dionysos were often noisy and ecstatic, related to symbolism on the occasion of the dying of the grapes and their regrowth. Savage orgies were held by extravagant women, the so-called Mainads. One of their victims was Orpheus, the desperate one, after his last-minute failed attempt to free his beloved Euridici from the underworld of Hades.

Dionysos was especially venerated in Attica and Athens, but also on the island of Naxos. There he found Ariadne, faithlessly abandoned by Theseus on his return journey, after she had thus helped him in the battle against the Minotaur and her father Minos. Dionysos makes Ariadne his consort. 

The nineteenth-century German philosopher F.W. Nietzsche (1844-1900) introduces in his work "Die Geburt der Tragödie" the Apollonian-Dionysian dichotomy  in worldview and also in the arts: balance, reason, rationality, order, harmony, versus chaos, disharmony, irrationality and instinct.



Mixed techniques, 2018
30 x 30 x 30 cm

All those royal daughters


It seems like a nice position, that of king's daughter (or king's son). Privileged, living in a palace, honored and esteemed. However, in averting a calamity, for example caused by an offended god or goddess, or as a prey to a rapacious monster, it is often the king's children who are sacrificed among the ancient Greeks. After all, the sacrifice has to have a bit of status, doesn't it? 

Often they were sacrificed after the prophecy of a seer, although it cannot be ruled out that this is mainly a matter of testing the influence of the caste of priests in relation to the ruling aristocracy. Iphigenia would have been able to say a word about that if she hadn't died at Kalchas' suggestion. 



Mixed techniques, 2019
100 x 60 x 50 cm

Unbelievable Kassandra 


Stages of Kassandra (1)

Trojan priestess of Apollo. Daughter of Priamos and Hekabe. 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 Klytaimnestra. 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)



Iphigenia is the eldest daughter of King Agamemnon and his wife Klytaemnestra of Mycenae. Agamemnon planned to sacrifice her at the insistence of the prophet Kalchas, as atonement for Agamemnon's insult to the goddess of hunt: Artemis. Due to the conflict with the goddess, who made a deal with the god of the winds, Agamemnon could not sail to Troy. The wind had stopped. The men of the Greek alliance began to murmur and mutiny. Under false pretenses, he lured Iphigenia to Aulis, who arrived there accompanied by her mother. She was convinced that she was going to marry the hero Achilles, who knew nothing about it. 

In some sources, the goddess Artemis saved  her in the nick of time and took her to Tauris to become her priestess. In some versions, she has been transformed into the goddess Hekate. After the Trojan War, Klytaemnestra killed her husband when he returned home for this terrible deed. Orestes, the brother of Iphigenia, killed his mother and  had to flee. He landed in Tauris, where strangers were all sacrificed as soon as they set foot on shore. However, he was saved by his sister, the priestess, who recognized him. (Euripides: Iphigenia in Tauris). 

I hope that my struggle to express some of the dramatic content is visible in my 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 chassis)

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

Unscrupulous Agamemnon

Stages of Agamemnon (1)


Agamemnon was king of Mykenae. He commanded the Greeks during the war against Troy. He was married to Klytaimnestra and the father of Iphigenia, Elektra, Laodike, Orestes and Chrysothemis. His brother Menelaos was married to Helena. The war for Troy was linked by Homer and others to the kidnapping of Helena by the Trojan prince Paris. In fact the cause was less romantic, it was an imperialist war to destroy the mighty, competitive and economically successful Troy. 

 
Agamemnon was a ruthless ruler who did not hesitate to sacrifice his eldest daughter Iphigenia to the gods in order to obtain a favorable wind for his war fleet. For this act, he was killed after returning home from the war, by his wife Klytaimnestra and her lover Aegisthos. Orestes in turn, instigated to do so by his sister Elektra, killed his mother and her lover for that.  



Mixed techniques, 2019
30 x 235x 230cm




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


Victimised Polyxena


Polyxena is the youngest daughter of Queen Hekabe and King Priamos of Troy. She is one of the many children of the royal couple, including the sister of: Hektor, Paris, Deïphobos, Helenos, Troïlos, Kreüsa and Kassandra. Achilles, the enemy of the Trojans, but they knew each other, fell in love with Polyxena. Achilles, however, died on the ramparts of Troy by an arrow from Paris that was guided to his sensitive heel by the god Apollo. Some time after his death, the spirit of Achilles appeared over his tomb and demanded that Polyxena should be sacrificed there. Achilles' son, Neoptolemus, kills the young girl, and then makes Hector's wife, Andromache, his bride. 

Homer doesn't talk about it. His story ended earlier than this moment. Euripides gives a detailed account of it in his drama "Hekabe", and Ovid also speaks of it in his "Metamorphoses" (XIII, 439 ff.). Euripides, in his drama "Trojan Women", elaborates on the fate of women after the conquest of Troy. It is a preview of the dark future of Hekabe, Kassandra, Polyxena and Andromache. The work was performed in 415 BC. and refers via the Trojan War to the then current Peloponnesian War. The play is an indictment of the destructive effect of imperialist wars, of guilt and responsibility ,and of loss of dignity.


Greek theatre director Themis Moumoulides puts it this way in the performance of his adaptation of "Iphigenia in Aulis" in September 2022 in Athens: 

"After twenty years of the Peloponnesian War, Euripides seems to be asking himself: “is a paradigm shift possible”? Two and a half thousand years later, and while we are experiencing the first symptoms of a dystopian future, which we have lost, we still wonder: “is a paradigm shift possible”? The question is unanswerable. Maybe someday civilization will shed its inherent, deadly discomfort. Perhaps one day progress will cease to ally itself with barbarism. Maybe someday…Until then, all we can do is tell the same story again and again, in all tones and in all ways, through the filter of our own time… “ 

Mixed techniques, 2021
50 x 38 x 32 cm

Penelope, lamentation

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 underexposed figure in the Iliad. He is the youngest brother of Kassandra and the son of king Priamos and the queen Hekabe. The German author Christa Wolf pays 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 seeres Kassandra. On the very first day, Achill slewes Troilos brutally without adhering to honor and the rules of battle. Since then, Kassandra (in Wolf's eyes) has always called him "Achilles, the beast". 

Shakespeare paid attention to Troilos and to Kalchas' daughter Kressida in his play of the same name (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)

Hektor is the son of king Priamos of Troy and his wife Hekabe. He is heir apparent and Trojan hope in the war against the Greek alliance.

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 


Andromache, desparate wife



Princess of Troy, wife of Hektor, the intended heir to the throne. Hektor is killed by Achilles in a duel.

 

Andromache stands for women stricken by the fate of wars. During the final battle for Troy, after the Greeks had invaded the city, she sees how Neoptolemos, the son of Achilles, kills her father-in-law Priamos and how he throws her son Astynax from the city walls. Neoptolemos takes Andromache to Epirus as spoils of war. She has three children with him. After the death of Neoptolemos, she married Helenos, a brother of Hector, with whom she also had a child. Euripides wrote a tragedy about Andromache.



Mixed techniques/ Photo-collage, 2021
67 x 31 x 34 cm