Award-winning Greek artist Danai Nikolaidi-Kotsaki is taking part in the world’s largest annual free-to-the-public outdoor sculpture exhibition, which is kicking off today, Thursday, October 24, 2019.
Held in Sydney, Australia, to signal the beginning of summer, the Sculpture by the Sea display at iconic Bondi beach draws up to 450,000 visitors over 18 days. It is held along two kilometres of the Eastern suburbs coastline with over 100 works by sculptors from Australia and around the world.
The talented 27-year-old Greek artist is the recipient of the inaugural $20,000 Greek Artist Program for Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi, 2019. The program which was developed by the “Hellenic Club of Sydney” and members of the Greek Australian community of Sydney, is the initiative of the Mayor of Waverley Council, Councillor Paula Masselos.
The program was developed with help from the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney with the aim of presenting Greek artistic talent and to help raise Greece’s profile in the art world.
“I feel so grateful to the Hellenic Club and the Greek Consulate for allowing me to participate at the exhibition here, I am very excited,” Danai told Greek City Times.
Born in Athens in 1992, she attended the Experimental Music High School and Lyceum of Pallini. Danai studied sculpture at the School of Fine Arts of Athens with Professor George Lappas and her work tackles primarily physicality and interaction.
“As a five-year-old, I wanted to study art and I began with painting. I was approved as a student at the School of Fine Arts in Athens and while I was studying there I realised I had a passion for sculptures, as I prefer making things with my hands. That is when I went to a sculpture studio and it all began from there,” says Danai.
The installations and sculptures she creates are movable, invested with her own compositions and sound environments, sometimes producing sound themselves through motion and performance. The main material of her work is metal, but Danai also uses a wide range of other expressive means and techniques.
“My work explores the relationship between consumerist fetishism and recycling culture, the relationship between new class identities and life as performance. With influences as diverse as nature and industrial era, new synergies are generated from both opaque and transparent narratives,” reveals Danai.
“Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by the essential unreality of the moment. What starts out as a vision soon becomes finessed into the performance of both body and feelings, leaving only a sense of decadence and the chance of a new beginning. As wavering phenomena become clarified through frantic and personal practice, the viewer is left with a desire for the possibilities of our existence,” adds the artist.
This particular piece which is being showcased at the Sculpture by the Sea was created using steel, stainless steel, train rails and scrap materials from railways.
Danai’s sculpture creates a sense of vertigo with the use of perspective and optical illusion. The artist invites the viewer to enter the sculpture and experience its motion.
“This is a repeat of the Greek Omega shape and it is about the passage from one state to the other. I work with perspective, so repeating the Omega shape creates that illusion, as you pass through you experience the actual journey itself. Basically, when you begin a journey, you visualise it from one point to another.”
The young Greek artist worked in conjunction with the Greek National Railways to create her sculpture, using a variety of scrap materials, including train wheels from 1915.
“Over the last few years I have been working with steel on a large scale and I would describe my work as ‘machines’ as I like to be interactive and I prefer my pieces to move, that way people can feel them.”
“With this certain sculpture, I’m aiming to explore the boundaries between the visualisation of the journey and the actual experience of the journey itself. You can view it as a life journey and I’m focusing on the transition of going from one state to another; from point A, to point B.”
*Images by Nick Bourdaniotis/Bourdo Photography (Copyright)