Vasso Ghioni - a way of looking

The realm of art is another dimension of the real. I go into an art studio, the studio of Vasso Ghioni, a space pulsating with creativity. I am surrounded by dozens of works of painting, presences of a crowded troupe; their eyes pin me down, I look for a way out ... I seek to evade the scrutiny which draws me.

I feel the exploratory approach of the beholder, and, at the same time, the psychoanalytical introspection - of the model? the artist? or both at once - touch the viewer in a different way. The figures, the forms have long been Ghioni's background of subject-matter, but today they are figures cut off from their integrated being; they centre only on the eyes, or, rather, on the way of looking.

Vasso Ghioni has had a notable upward evolution in the sphere of painting, as well as of sculpture. She possesses a potential for creativity which overflows. Sometimes with painting, sometimes with drawing, sometimes with sculpture she has to show remarkable achievements; it is not only in painting but also in sculpture that she succeeds in conquering mass and form with various materials, chiselled in white marble or in burnished bronze, which are imposed formalistically upon three-dimensional space. From her very first beginnings in this world of art, she has sought, first and foremost, to get to know and to master as much technical knowledge and experience as possible, and in this way to widen the range of her potentialities.

In Paris, she received her degree in painting and design from the Academie Carpentier and the Grande Chaumiere; she then joined the studio of Yves Brayer and Michel Rod, and also worked with Yannis Tsarouchis, who was in Paris at that time. She studied art history at the Louvre School, and in Brussels was a student at the Academie Royale des Beaux Arts, and completed her theoretical study of archaeology and Byzantine art at the Free University of Brussels. She then worked on the conservation of Byzantine icons at the Institut Royal du Patrimoine Artistique in Brussels, and after that, at the Athens Byzantine Museum, and on the conservation of icons at the Byzantine Museum of Mytilene.

All this is an inestimable heritage of technical knowledge which is made evident in the plenitude of the rendering of colour in her works of painting, and explains the vibrancy of the radiant colour and the solid structure of the form.

Ghioni has mounted a great many personal exhibitions, in Athens, in Greece, and abroad, and has taken part in countless group exhibitions in Greece and the rest of Europe. Up to now, her predominating subject-matter has been the human figure. Today, the interest centres on a single, but essentially revealing, point of the face: the eyes - or, rather, the way of looking. Is this a subconscious introspection of the model or of the artist?

This is a strange anatomy of the soul, of the character. The expression of the gaze records workings of the soul, among which you can trace: loneliness, anger, disillusionment, desires, the quest of the dream ... .

I have no difficulty in terming Vasso Ghioni a painter of the way of looking. In Botticelli's Birth of Venus, what mesmerises the viewer is not only the beauty of the superb nude body of Venus as she sensuously handles her long hair; it is her eyes, and the way in which she is looking which the beholder is unlikely to forget.

The whole world is perceived by all living beings - not only man - by means of this priceless, unique organ the eye - through the eyes. Sight makes visible our world, and the eyes, their colour, their shape, the light which they can emit make apparent, sometimes as a betrayal, inner states which the individual is perhaps trying to conceal. The way of looking - sometime tender, sometimes threatening, sometimes dominating, sometimes erotic - the anatomy of the soul. And it is the eyes which are the first approach or the other; it is the eyes which target in magic. The eyes and their way of looking - the one thing which can never be wiped from our memory, from our soul.

Vasso Ghioni, this time too, attracts us with her painting, unexpected in its theme, and offers us a whole world of art which visually enchants us. And even what can be said of the maturity of her painting applies also to her works of sculpture: they enhance our psychic world and 'open our eyes' to another, transcendent, dimension.

Merope Preka