Hellenica III: Orpheus & Eurydice (2009-2010)
Orpheus & Eurydice – this is a tragic myth, in which Eurydice was kidnapped by the god of the underworld – Hades – on the day of her wedding to Orpheus. Orpheus, a virtuoso in the arts and an entertainer, was specially gifted with music, capable of casting spells to all who would listen to its melodic perfection. Orpheus decided to rescue Eurydice from Hades, having to go through the nine rings of hell and finding many challenges in that journey, which he was able to succeed in thanks to his musical ability.
When Orpheus reached Eurydice, Hades agreed to let her go, on the condition that Orpheus could never look back until they were outside the underworld: he had to trust that she was right behind him, with him on the lead to make way. It was thus until the last moment, when Orpheus couldn’t resist any longer and turned back to look at Eurydice, just as she was about to cross the last portal (he was already out). As a result, she was instantly turned into stone, a spell that could never be broken. Orpheus never recovered from the heartbreak and had many women, whom he could never love as he had Eurydice. He died being devoured by them.
This myth has many meanings and interpretations, including in psychology – according to Jung, it is a metaphor of the human condition, in which each of us spends a lifetime going to hell and then coming back, leaving something behind at great cost.
In the sculpture, the black leather “sac” represents the underworld, the wooden square frame the last portal of hell, and the “curtain” of fine wire the very last barrier, which begins to crystalize around Eurydice the moment Orpheus turns around to gaze back at her (she the white bottle-top, he the white-and-blue – this an unintentional Biblical reference of Eve being made of a rib of Adam’s). This “curtain” of fine wire is thus deformed to graphically represent Orpheus’ effort in attempting to “pull” her out of that hell, of the spell.