Anna FiliniANNA FILINI
Ode to the Sea Cliffs
I come back again and again to paint nature as I realize that I can draw strength from it. At the same time it becomes clear again that when you work in open nature, creation runs free, it unfolds spontaneously, more directly, without interventions and inhibitions.
Nature itself creates masterpieces. In our times, despite the progress of science, humans continue to believe that they are the centre of the world, although we are only a piece of nature. When we fail to grasp this important reality, we lose the measure of our being and thought and the walls that we build restrict our steps and knowledge, and make humans either too tall, making them thus violent and arrogant or very small, making them incapable of discovering new horizons in the simple and complex structures of the universe.
My paintings and drawings over the last three years (1), depict the masses of the littoral rocks of the Aegean sea. Theophrastus, one of Plato’s students and then a student of Aristotle, wrote at the end of the 4th Century B.C.one of his works, “On Stones”, which is the first scientific text on this subject. Roger Caillois’ s book “The writing of stones” was published in France in 1970 and his famous collection of stones was exhibited in the Biennale of Venice in 2013. Arte Povera and Jannis Kounellis introduced directly the poetry of nature and stones into the works of art.
I visited the Museum of Mineralogy and Petrology of the Athens University, where Professor A. Katerinopoulos was director for many years. The young geologists assistants at the Museum helped me to find the names of different rocks and stones I had painted.
The first unit of my last works includes paintings with oil created outdoors in the islands Syros and Tinos.
The second unit includes works created in the studio with pencils, assisted by photography and lens. These works show the dynamics formed on the surface both by the cliffs and the composition and texture of the rocks. All these works are images of a littoral geological formation of amazing beauty in the shape of a half circle surrounded by high cliffs in Northern Syros. Observing this small sea gulf and the rocky masses as they emerge from the sea, one recognizes primordial forms reflecting ancient sea gods and daemons from mythology.
This small gulf in northern Syros is surrounded by three rocky arches, each one with rocks of different colours. Its front diameter is 50 to 60 meters overlooking the West.
The only thing that gives a hint for the rare rocks of this small gulf, is a corner of azure schist on the right side of the adjacent gulf, Lia. These rocks move further down the surface of earth and re-appear on the North, at the small gulf, after approximately 200 meters. This schist is called metaserpentinite and is often met at Cyclades islands. Its presence in Syros is quite special as it maintains, to a great extent, its clear composition and bright blue azure colour.
Within the azure corner at the gulf of Lia lies the rocky mass of metaserpentinite, like a woman laying asleep on the pebbles of the beach. I named her Persephone.
When one reaches the gulf while swimming, faces its left side which is an arm with its back to the North. When the sun hits the rock, the colour of the azure serpentine becomes turquoise. A tall cliff, standing at a height of almost five meters, is the first on the left followed by four more shorter rocks. It is a dance with Poseidon followed by the Naiades, with Amphitrite holding tight on him.
The right side of the semi-circle protects the gulf from the southern winds. It consists of dark brown rock masses that remind of sea daemons. The top of the middle rock has some residuals of light-coloured rocks. Proteus, a sea daemon that people of the sea honoured as a protector in stormy weather.
The back of the semi-circle lies on steep cliffs, standing at a height of 7-8 meters. It consists entirely of schist, with blue shades formed mainly by manganum. On top of them, a horse rider is seen. Triton over the waves.
At the edge of the rocky wall, at the point where it reaches the turquoise schists, the rock changes. It is penetrated by a strip of bright blue manganum, which turns into deep violet when hit by the sun. A big round stone, with a diameter more than one meter, has been detached from the cliff and rolled down the sea. Umbilicus. It is the centre where all the different kinds of rocks seem to begin from and spread around.
In the centre of the gulf, a smooth, almost cylindrical stone mass, emerges from the sea, standing at a height of three meters. All the rocks around it, the two arms and stone back protect it from the wind. This is Aphrodite emerging from the sea. I painted her from three different perspectives, East, South and West. The purpose of the existence of this small gulf is for Aphrodite to emerge from it.
ANNA FILINI, April 2018
(1) The oilpaintings are 50X40 cm., the works with pencils are 70X100 cm.