Sculpture (c): 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 '(Im)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.







Persephone, Kore




Stages of Persephone (1)

Kore
Daughter of Demeter and Zeus
Wife of Hades
Queen of the underworld


Mixed techniques, 2021
33 x 25 x 23 cm


Persephone, Kore



Stages of Persephone (2)


Kore
Daughter of Demeter and Zeus
Wife of Hades
Queen of the underworld



Mixed techniques, 2021
37 x 34 x 32 cm


 

Eleusinian Persephone



Stages of Persephone (3)

Kore
Daughter of Demeter and Zeus
Wife of Hades
Queen of the underworld
Main actor in the Eleusinian mysteries,
with her mother Demeter


Mixed techniques, 2021
26 x 26 x 34 cm





Eleusinian Persephone



Stages of Persephone (3)


Kore
Daughter of Demeter and Zeus
Wife of Hades
Queen of the underworld
Main actor in the Eleusinian mysteries,
with her mother Demeter




Mixed techniques, 2021
26 x 26 x 34 cm


Two sides of the Eleusinian Persephone

Persephone, ruler



Stages of Persephone (4)

Kore
Daughter of Demeter and Zeus
Wife of Hades
Queen of the underworld



Mixed techniques, 2021
48 x 43x 38 cm

Untouchable Artemis




Stages of Artemis (1)



Goddess of the hunt, wilderness and chastity
Daughter of Leto and Zeus
Twin sister of Apollo







Mixed techniques, 2021
59 x 45 x 29 cm


Aeneas, fugitive


Stages of Aeneas (2)


Aeneas, a Trojan hero, represents people who need to flee from homeland and habitat because of war, oppression and danger of death. Aeneas initially seems to be one of the big losers in the Trojan epic. In the end, however, it is not Hektor, the intended Trojan heir to the throne, not Achilles, the virtually invincible hero who dies on the ramparts of the city, not Agamemnon, the scrupless Greek army commander, who is murdered on his return home, who keep the best prospects. Aeneas' flight with an old invalid father and a young son is a  tragedy and a metamorphosis at the same time. Aeneas symbolizes the last man, the last human, on an exodus to a new beginning. Nothing is eternal, everything is changing. Aeneas' son Askanios founded a new dynasty, while it lasted, of course: glory and decay. What is left when there is nothing left? It is an existential question. Maybe only the universe is eternal, we are certainly not, neither our beliefs, our culture, our possessions, not even our planet earth.



Mixed techniques, 2022
53 x 53 x 30 cm


Another (H)era


Stages of Hera (2)
 

 Hera - goddess of women, marriage, family and childbirth. Sister and wife of Zeus. The Greek poet Kallimachos told that their wedding feast lasted three thousand years.
 

 Hera was one of the three women (together with Athena and Aphrodite) who took part of a contest for the prize of a golden apple, addressed "To the fairest". Hera didn't win. These "Apple-Gate" eventually led to the Trojan war, because the winner (Aphrodite) promised juror Paris, Prince of Troy, the most beautiful woman on earth. Unfortunately that woman (Helen) was already married with Menelaos. King of Sparta. A clear example of bribery with far-reaching consequences.
 

 It must not have been easy to be a Hera, especially not with an iffy character like Zeus around you. Hera is carrying the weight on her tiny shoulders. I have tried to capture this conceptual message in the visualization of this sculpture.

 

 

Mixed techniques, 2022
 67 x 37 x 42 cm

 

Duplicitous Phoibos Apollo


Apollo is one of the twelve Olympic gods. The addition Phoibos refers to the sun. Apollo is the son of Leto and Zeus and twin brother of Artemis.

Apollo is the shepherd god, but also the god of the wolf. He is protector of music and god of medicine. He is the leader of the Muses.  His character is ambiguous. He stands for the beautiful and sublime, at the same time he is an intriguer, an intrusive woman attacker, for example with regard to Kassandra, to Daphne, or to Koronis; he is an excellent but jealous musician with sadistic qualities, for example with regard to the satyr Marsyas that he had skinned alive after a music competition. Apollo also stands for causing epidemic diseases among human beings. With his bow and arrows, he spreads deadly ailments. Apollo, the good and the evil, united in one person.

The Oracle of Delphi became the site of a major temple dedicated to Phoibos Apollo.



Mixed techniques, 2022
30 x 23 x 30 cm

 

Unstoppable Asklepios

 

Asklepios is the son of Apollo. His mother Koronis,  was a princess of the Thessalian kingdom of Phlegyantis. Apollo was a jealous god. When he heard that his lover was to marry a mortal, he punished her by burning. Before Koronis was completely incinerated, Apollo rescued the unborn infant from the flames.

 

The question of the human condition and the search for limits of the human, in order to overcome them, is nowhere more evident than with Asklepios. Asklepios is the blessed physician, educated by the centaur Chiron.  He is the symbol of medicine.  His abilities push Zeus to the limit. Asklepius started bringing back to life dead people like Tyndareus, Kapaneus, Glaukus, Hymenaeus, Lycurgus and others. 


Hades, god of the underworld, accused Asklepios for stealing his subjects and complained to his brother Zeus about it. Zeus was afraid that Asklepios would teach the art of resurrection to other humans as well. Immortality was the basic competence of the gods. If that fell away there would be nothing left to distinguish men and gods. Zeus killed Asklepios with his thunderbolt. 


After Asklepios's death, Zeus placed his body among the stars as the constellation Ophiuchus ("the Serpent Holder") Later, however, upon Apollo's request, Zeus resurrected Asklepios as a god and gave him a place on Olympus.


Asklepios is  associated with a snake-entwined staff,  the esculape (from "Aesclepius") , a symbol that we still know and use to this day, for example on the windscreens of doctors' cars or in the name of pharmacies. 



Mixed techniques, 2022
30 x 21 x 30 cm

Aeneas, fugitive


Stages of Aeneas (3)



Aeneas, Prince of Troy

Aeneas is one of the few Trojans who were not killed or enslaved when Troy fell. Aeneas has been commanded by the gods to flee in order to found a new Troy. Aeneas escaped the burning town with his young son Askanios, his old father Anchises and a group of other people.


Mixed techniques, 2022
38 x 31 x 30 cm

Iphigenia at Aulis



Stages of Iphigenia (2)





Iphigenia is the eldest daughter of Klytaimnestra and Agamemnon. The latter is army commander of the Greeks in the war against Troy. He lures his daughter under false pretenses to Aulis where the fleet cannot sail due to lack of favorable winds. Iphigenia will be sacrificed to appease the gods.

 





Mixed techniques, 2024
35 x 30 x 30 cm


Iphigenia at Aulis

Unscrupulous Agamemnon


Stages of Agamemnon (2)


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, 2022
28 x 20 x 28 cm

Unscrupulous Agamemnon


Stages of Agamemnon (2)




Agamemnon is the leader of a Greek alliance against Troy. Troops are mobilized from all parts of Greece. Not everyone is very willing. Odysseus, king of Itaka, who has just become the father of a son, plays that he is insane. However, his intentions are understood. Another Greek hero, Palamedes, recognizes the ruse. Later, Odysseus will unscrupulously avenge Palamedes. The great Greek hero Achilles also tried to escape the war, mainly under pressure from his mother Thetis. She placed her son with King Lykomedes, where he hid in girls' clothes among the king's daughters. However, Odysseus discovered that.

 

Forced participation in pointless wars (the latter is a pleonasm) is a phenomenon of all times, unfortunately. War is saying goodbye to humanity, to empathy, to dignity, and to reason. Lessons from history are, unfortunately still, apparently hard to learn. Man is often predator of man.



Mixed techniques, 2022
28 x 20 x 28 cm


Unscrupulous Agamemnon

Hephaistos, blacksmith


Stages of Hephaistos (2)


Blacksmith of the gods

Son of Hera and Zeus
Married to Aphrodite

Patron god for artisans, blacksmiths, and sculptors



Mixed techniques, 2022
27 x 21 x 30 cm


Hephaistos, blacksmith


Stages of Hephaistos (2)

Blacksmith of the gods

He forges the most beautiful artworks with fire and heavy hammers, and with a glow on his cheeks


Mixed techniques, 2022
27 x 21 x 30 cm


Hephaistos, blacksmith


Stages of Hephaistos (2)


Blacksmith of the gods

He forges the most beautiful artworks with fire and heavy hammers, and with a glow on his cheeks


Mixed techniques, 2022
27 x 21 x 30 cm


Stubborned Achilles


Stages of Achilles (1) 


Achilles was the mortal son of Peleus, a Greek king, and Thetis, a sea nymph or goddess. He was the strongest Greek hero in the war for Troy and a central character of Homer's Iliad. A hot-tempered character and a stiffhead. He was almost invincible, apart from a problem with his vulnerable heel, that eventually became fatal to him. We still call such a weak spot, even when it comes to non-physical matters, an Achilles heel. The Homeric epic only covers a few weeks of the decade-long war, and does not narrate Achilles' death. It begins with Achilles' withdrawal from battle after being dishonoured by Agamemnon, the commander of the Greek forces. Homer describes the duel between Achilles and Hektor, the prins of Troy and intended heir to the throne. Achilles was furious because Hektor killed his friend and lover Patroklos in a duel. 


Mixed techniques, 2022
28 x 22 x 30 cm


Stubborned Achilles



Stages of Achilles (1)




Achilles defeats Hektor and dishonors his corpse by putting it behind his chariot and pulling it through the dust around the walls of Troy. Achilles predicted and shortly thereafter subsequent death is not described in the Iliad but passed down through other sources. Achilles was the prototype of a strong hero and at the same time a spoiled type with a sneaky character.The Trojan Prince Troilos, killed in an underhanded manner by Achilles, could have had a say in it. According to legend Achilles was burried together with Patroklos on a small island, now known as Snake Island, or Serpent Island, located in the Black Sea, near the Danube Delta. The historian Pliny the Elder wrote that the tomb of Achilles and his close friend Patroklos was on the island.This island plays in our time a role in Ukraine’s heroic resistance against its brute usurper. 






Mixed techniques, 2022
28 x 22 x 30 cm


Ubiquitous Pallas Athena



Stages of Pallas (1)



Pallas Athena is one of the most important Olympic goddesses. She was born from the forehead of her father Zeus. In the war of the Greeks against Troy, she was on the Greek side. She was Odysseus' chief counselor, and she is associated with wisdom, warfare, and handicraft. Athena's epithet Pallas is probably a reference to the giant Pallas who was killed by Athena in the "Battle of the Titans".  Pallas was depicted as a giant goat. Athena incorporated his goatskin into her shield.

My sculpture is a fragment of the head of Pallas Athena. I have omitted identifying elements, like her helmet or lance. I have tried to portray her differentiated and complex personality. 


Fragmentary design of sculpture, or the "non finito", was not a common practice in sculpture, although the “deliberately unfinished” was used by Donatello and Michelangelo, among others. For the first time in our modern art history, it was applied by the French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917). 

 




Mixed techniques, 2024
23 x 26 x 25 cm



Ubiquitous Pallas Athena

Combative Penthesilea


Stages of Penthesilea (1)


 

Penthesilea  - Amazone

 

The Amazons were female warriors. Penthesilea is the mythical queen of the Amazons. Penthesilea and her army came to support the Trojans in their fight against the Greeks. In a direct battle against Achilles, the strongest Greek warrior, Penthesilea was killed by him. When Achilles takes off her helmet, he is overwhelmed by her beauty and regrets her death. Homer only briefly discusses the Amazons in the Iliad. He describes two situations, before the war for Troy, in which they occur. Apparently their existence was known and needed no further explanation. 

 

 

Mixed techniques, 2023
22 x 26 x 35 cm

Pivotal Briseis

 Stages of Briseis (1)


Briseis is a pivotal figure in Homer's Iliad. She was the wife of Mines, a king's son in Lyrnessos (near Thebe). During the Trojan War, her husband and brothers, among others, were killed by Achilles. She was kidnapped and assigned to Achilles as spoils of war, concubine and slave. After Agamemnon, the Greek army commander, was forced by an oracle ruling to give up his own spoils of war, Chryseis, he forced Achilles to hand over Briseis to him. Achilles then withdrew from the battle for Troy, which caused the Greeks heavy defeats and losses. The Iliad deals with this episode. The Iliad is described as a hero's epic. In fact, it is an account of an imperialist war, of dubious characters, of rape, murder and manslaughter, and of slavery. If Greek mythology is the cradle of our Western civilization, as is sometimes said, then it is not surprising that we are dealing now with so many abuses. 






Mixed techniques, 2023
60 x 35 x 30 cm 

Chryseis, sister in fate

 
Stages of Chryseis (1)


Chryseis was the daughter of Chryses, a priest of Apollon (mother unknown). She was the spoils of war from Agamemnon during the Trojan War. When Chryses tried to ransom his daughter, Agamemnon scolded the old man ("Old man with your gray head, be warned!  That I may not see you again by the hollow ships! (...) Staff and wreath of your god will not protect you"). Chryses withdrew and prayed to his god. Apollo answered his prayers and brought terrible diseases upon the Greek camp. 


At the prompting of the seer Kalchas, Agamemnon finally returned Chryseis to her father. He did claim Briseis, Achilles' concubine, in return.  Achilles reluctantly obeyed, and the resulting contention is the subject of the Iliad by Homer. 

Chryseis and Briseis are sisters in fate, or companions in distress, victims of war, like so many women.




Mixed techniques, 2023
68 x 41 x 25 cm

 

 

Chryseis, sister in fate



Stages of Chryseis (2)


 










Mixed techniques, 2023
63 x 35 x 25 cm


Pivotal Briseis

Stages of Briseis (2)










Mixed techniques, 2024
90 x 42 x 32 cm

Egg born Helena

 

Stages of Helena  (1)

 

Helena, daughter of Zeus and Leda (Swan) was born from an egg. She married king Menelaos of Sparta after a competition between suitors for her hand. All of her suitors were required to swear an oath promising to provide military assistance to the winner, if Helen were ever stolen from him. Her abduction by Paris of Troy forced the Greeks to get her back, at least, that's the romantic version for the outbreak of the Trojan War. Paris was killed in action, and in Homer's account Helen was reunited with Menelaos. It is obvious that the independence of Troy, in relation to the Greek confederation, and the wealth and prosperity of Troy, have been a more important inducement for an imperialist war. 

 

Elements of Helen’s biography come from Aristophanes, Cicero, Euripides, and Homer (in both the Iliad and the Odyssey). Her story reappears in Book II of Virgil's Aeneid. 

 

 
Mixed techniques, 2023
65 x 34 x 20 cm

Chryseis & Helena

Intriguing Penelope



Stages of Penelope (3)


Penelope remains a fascinating figure in Greek mythology. With Homer, she is the loyal consort, who keeps the suitors at a distance, until her husband Odysseus returns to Ithaca after twenty years. Odysseus had initially wanted to compete for Helen's hand, but judged his position to be hopeless. Penelope was the daughter of Ikarios, brother of the Spartan king Tyndareos and his wife Periboia. Odysseus asked her in exchange for arranging an agreement between the suitors who were fighting for Helen.In later stories, Penelope's marital fidelity is also questioned. For example, she is said to have had a son Pan, from a relationship with the god Hermes, or fathered by the joint suitors. Odysseus is said to have disowned her on his return, after which she returned to Sparta and from there moved on to Mantinea, a city in ancient Greece in the Peloponnese, where her tomb is also said to be. Other sources say that she remained with him until the death of Odysseus and that she married Telegonos afterwards. Telegonos is one of the sons (according to Hesiod) that Odysseus fathered with Kirke during his return journey from Troy.









Mixed techniques, 2023
61 x 35 x 25 cm

Odysseus' lost men

 

Odysseus’ men 

 

Odysseus took part with twelve ships and about 600 men in the war of Troy in the twelfth or thirteenth century BC. It was a trade war between an alliance of Greeks and the wealthy city of Troy, which, due to its strategic location, controlled the access of the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. Estimates of the number of ships and crew range from approximately 15,000 to 100,000 people. Agamemnon was the commander of the joint army of the Greeks. 

 

Of the men of Odysseus, only he himself returned. Wars have no winners, only losers. His men were killed in the war and on their journey home. The Cyclops Polyphemos devours six men; the gigantic Laystrigons pelt the fleet and only Odysseus' ship is spared. Elpenor dies on the island of Aiaia of Circe; the monster Scylla devours six men; on Thrinakia, the island of the sun god Helios, Odysseus' men slaughter the sun god's cattle. Helios asks for help and revenge from the sea god Poseidon to sink the ship in a storm. Everyone perishes, only Odysseus survives; Odysseus washes ashore on the island of Kalypso and stays in her company and enchantment for seven years, finally moving on with a raft; That raft comes also in dire straits. He washes ashore at the Phaiacians. What's left are memories. Homer later uses them, from the preserved sources of singers and storytellers, for his unsurpassed epic. The friendly Phaiacian people take him back to where he once lived and where he was a king, where his wife Penelope held out against pushy suitors all these years, where his son was and where he still had friends: Ithaca. 

 

mixed techniques, 2023
40 x 24 x 25 cm

Odysseus' lost men

Transitional Hekate

 
Stages of Hekate (1)




Hekate is a mysterious goddess in Ancient Greek mythology. She is the goddess of thresholds, crossroads and boundaries, like the transitions from life to death, and vice versa. Hesiod, the Greek poet and contemporary of Homer, describes Hekate as a benevolent goddess who endowed her favorites with wealth and social success. She has the power to award victories in war and sports. She has special care for traders and travelers and for livestock. 

The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women told that the goddess Artemis transformed  Iphigenia , daughter of Agamemnon and  Clytaimnestra into the goddess  Hekate after she is treacherously sacrificed by her father.

 Hekate is a close friend of Persephone, daughter of Demeter and wife of the god of the underworld Hades. 

 





Mixed techniques, 2023
45 x 25 x 32 cm

Transitional Hekate


Stages of Hekate (2)

 

 

The high status of Hekate, as the most esteemed among the gods, according to Hesiod, changed at last but she remained a goddess of protection and destruction, of fertility and of death. Hekate ruled over border areas. People honored her and sought her advice at intersections and gates. She is strongly connected to magic, later also to sorcery. Medea of Kolchis was a priestess of Hekate, the dark goddess.

 


Mixed techniques, 2023
45 x 25 x 32 cm