I first got to know Kythera 14 years ago. I was enchanted at first sight and this became my first and endless source of inspiration and creativity.
I grew up and lived in the busy urban environment, and I felt the urgent need to transcend the no longer satisfying “old ways”, and give a new meaning to my life to set “new goals” and aspirations and live surrounded by the Kytherian nature.
A mosaic of landscapes with a unique biodiversity, deeply shaded canyons and a lacy coastline, this is Kythera, and so much more.
I create mosaics for the past 18 years. But what is a mosaic and what does it represent? It is a Work of Art, created with tesserae, little pieces of stone and enamel, cut and repositioned on powdered cement to create a piece of art. An ancient art, with its first masterpieces going back to the 5th century BC.
But what does the art of mosaic mean for me? Each stone is a whole universe, I observe it, turn it around in my palm with its eternal engravings, its geometrical patterns with an infinite number of colour shades which invite me to choose the side that is in better harmony with the rest of my work.
Cutting the stone is not simple, in the first place. Like all natural materials (and not only them) it obeys some basic Principles and Laws. It may not be disciplined by violent manipulation, but requires respect and knowledge. As the old saying goes “you must play along with it”. For instance, if one tries to cut a lime stone vertically, one is certain, to fail!
Another important factor is Organization and Time. In mosaics, the notions of Randomness and Time are hard to implement. The creative process starts with many draft designs in black and white and in colour. Then all the material needs to be gathered and sorted out. Every work is “built” slowly. The necessary prerequisite is to have Love, Will, Patience and Respect.
Unlike modern life style with people continuously in a battle against time, trying to successfully accomplish their goals, the art of the mosaic reminds us of the primordial notion of the “Timeless Now”.
The inanimate acquires a soul, the stone turns into a human, a plant, a cloud. There is a silent communication, a rhythm between the represented shapes. Some of them communicate happily others are lonely and daydream, others are frustrated, a constant motion, all in a continuous process.
It would not be an exaggeration to compare the powdered cement with a canvas. There, the mosaic artist, just like an orchestra conductor, using nature’s palette, the tesserae, composes her work of art.
On imaginary landscapes, inspired by the beautiful island of Kythera, I unroll stories from everyday life, with people as its central heroes, people who find the meaning of joy and of harmony in their union with nature. Referring to my work, I could characterize it as an effort to not only map external reality but also to self-observe.
Timeless concerns, philosophical questions such as can people be now and in the future the masters of their choices? What could be the “Basic and Necessary” requirements for people to be happy and at ease with their everyday life? Many questions, but one thing is certain:
We desperately try to preserve a permanent and stable status quo, and by doing so we sacrifice our own lives for some future imaginary achievements (the need to accomplish financial, social, personal goals) and our “Present” slips away and disappears…
Aliki Rigou studied Painting and the Art of Mosaic at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She has done four solo art shows and has participated in many group art shows in Athens and abroad. Her works are in private and public collections.
Aliki Rigou was born in Athens. She studied painting under Mrs. Rena Papaspyrou and Mr. Triadafyllos Patraskides, design in mosaic under Mrs. Daphne Aggelidou and engraving under Mr. Vasilis Kazakos (Athens School of Fine Arts 1998 -2004). She lives and works in Athens and in the island of Kythera. She has had 4 solo exhibitions and participation at group shows in Greece as well as abroad. She is a member of Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece.
She also holds a degree in Physical Education and Athletics from the University of Athens.