Mela-Konstantinidi Natalia (1923 - 2019)

Born in 1923 in Kifissia, she grew up in an upper-class environment. Her mother was the daughter of Ioannis Pesmazoglou and her father was the son of Pavlos Melas and Natalia Dragoumi. She studied sculpture at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1942-1947) under Costas Dimitriadis and Michalis Tombros. SHe works also in the studio of Thanassis Apartis. Upon graduating she set up her own studio, which became a meeting point for artists of the 1930s Generation such as Engonopoulos, Andrikopoulou, Tsarouchis, Embiricos and Moralis. She was also a founding member of the Armos art group in 1949.
In the early years of her career she used materials like clay, marble and stone; the influence of Dimitris Pikionis, with whom she collaborated closely, is evident in her work from that time. She worked mostly on monumental works, busts and commissions for public spaces. In 1951 she married the architect Aris Konstantinidis (1913-1993), and for a period of time she focused on the design of jewellery as well as stage sets for Karolos Koun’s Theatro Technis.
After 1960 she moved clearly away from traditional trends, trained in welding techniques and went into metal constructions, the different properties of various metals playing a key role in shaping her aesthetic. In 1963 she presented her first solo exhibition at the Zygos gallery. The adoption of certain abstract elements did not change the representational orientation of her work, with themes inspired by nature and mythology. Organic forms, open shapes, a stereometric rendering of volumes and the imaginative use of readymade elements or components characterise her constructions. In more recent works she goes from metal to paper, discovering its sculptural potential, with a dynamic introduction of colour.
In 2011 She received the Fine Arts Award of the Academy of Athens.
She has presented her work in many solo and group exhibitions in Greece and abroad, among which the Panhellenic Exhibitions of 1948, 1965, 1967, 1975 and 1987 and the Biennale of Sao Paulo (1965). In 2008 the Benaki Museum hosted a major retrospective encompassing all phases of her artistic creation.