Virgile II, 2007
Ebony and 18kt yellow gold set with a miniature sculpture in black marble bracelet
8.5 x 5.5 cm
edition of 8
Greek mythology played a fundamental role in the literary culture of ancient Rome. Roman writers, often inspired by their Greek predecessors, viewed myths as one of the main components of successful narrative texts. Mythological stories were accepted as fictitious, but many tales were also believed to have some historical origin as well as cultural importance. Homer famously combined history and myth in his epic Greek poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad. These great works served as continual inspiration for later ancient writers, including the Roman poet Virgil. Allusions to Greek mythology are particularly evident in Virgil’s Aeneid, as well as his earlier work the Georgics.
Sophia Vari’s “portable sculptures”, as she likes to call them, first became part of the artist’s body of work 30 years ago; at a time in her life when demanding international schedule kept her constantly on the move. While travelling, she carried with her a small box of plasticine, from which she would mould miniature sculptures. “From that day on, I had a new creative challenge that gave me a lot of joy because I could see the pieces being worn,” she recalls. Vari approaches wearable art in precisely the same manner and strength as her abstract sculptures, collages and paintings. Her thorough exploration of bold geometric forms, the examination of volume, painterly curves and lines result in the composition both peaceful and elegant but also captures a harmonious theatrical tension.
“It is a real challenge for me, and it is very much like creating a sculpture, made to be worn. No doubt, the fact that I am a woman has its advantages. Firstly, because I can try it on me – and secondly the fact that I have greater sensitivity compared to a male artist – enables me to highlight the female trait to a greater degree”, says Vari.
Only the highest quality materials from marble to bronze are used in Vari’s large-scale work. Similarly, her wearable art, the pieces combine the most refined materials such as gold, silver, wood, ebony, leather, root emerald, rock crystal and sapphire among others. Each piece of jewellery is a part of a limited edition or is a unique work, incised with the artist’s signature “Vari” and numbered like her sculptural works.