Chryssa (Vardea-Mavromichali) (1933 - 2013)

She was born in 1933 in Athens. She studied at the Academie de la Grande Chaumière (1953-1954) in Paris and the California School of Fine Arts (1954-1955) in San Francisco, U.S.A. She has been living in New York City, since 1955. She organized her first solo exhibition there (Betty Parsons gallery, 1961), and that same year she also exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum. Her work was soon recognized in the American art world, as part of the fresh artistic approaches that succeeded abstract expressionism.
She draws inspiration from modern life images and metropolitan incidents, with particular emphasis on signs and symbols that dominate the written language of mass communications, on print media and inscriptions. The purely artistic approach of the linguistic symbols was already evident in her early works (paintings, reliefs or three-dimensional), such as the thematic unit Cycladic Books (1957-1962). In the 1960's she developed the most well-known feature of her work, the use of illuminated neon tubes in different shapes and colours, a clear reference to the radiance of billboards (The Gates of Times Square, 1964-1966).
In her usually large-sized sculptures, she uses several techniques and materials (aluminum, steel, plexiglas, neon). Her materials manage to convey the subtle nuances of an entirely personal sensitivity, despite their technological nature. The sculptor's vision is expressed through play with light and shadow, the harmonious arrangement of the compositions, the emblematic ideograms and the allusions to ancient Greece, Byzantium or the female personality.
She worked in Greece for a while in the early ‘90s, where she created a series of works (Cinema Oasis), using an old movie theatre as her studio. Since 2007, she is leaving in Athens.
She has presented numerous solo exhibitions in America and Europe, including shows in major galleries and museums. She participated in group exhibitions and international art fairs, such as the Biennales of Sao Paulo (1963 and 1969) and Venice (1972) and in Documenta 4 (Kassel, 1977). Her first solo exhibition in Greece was presented in 1979 (Zoumboulakis gallery, Athens) and her retrospective exhibition was held at the Athens National Art Gallery in 1980.
Many of her creations are located in public places in several parts of the world. The most famous ones in Athens are Clytemnestra (1967), situated in the external area of the Athens Concert Hall, and Mott Street, which was placed at the ‘Evangelismos’ metro station in 2004.