Artist

Sophia Vari

b. 1940

Sophia Vari (b.1940, Athens, Greece) is a visual artist known for her investigations into form and balance, working across sculpture, collage, oil and watercolour. In 1958, she graduated from the École des Beaux Arts, in Paris. 

 

Vari’s sculptures have evolved through several stages in the last few decades. While her early work from the 1960s onwards was mostly figurative, in the 1980s, Vari began to employ rounded abstract forms that suggested the human body. Eventually she began incorporating planar and constructed forms into her work, and by the mid-1990s she had begun to apply colour to the surfaces of her dynamic sculptures. This use of colour contributes to the movement of Vari’s pieces, and her sculptural works, created both on a monumental scale and as table pieces, appear to move autonomously as the viewer walks around them. Her work across all media shares a certain playfulness and liveliness, with compositions in collage, watercolour and paint pushing into the realm of dimensional space. 

 

Vari’s monumental sculptures have been shown in public locations around the world. For each installation, she pays special attention to the way that her works are integrated with the cities in which they are exhibited. Vari is particularly concerned with the way in which the tactile quality of the patina surfaces can encourage a connection with her viewers, while the majestic scale of her public sculptures creates a strong visual impact. 

 

Celebrated with almost 100 solo exhibitions to date over the course of her career, Sophia Vari has had museum exhibitions including Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, Italy; the Palazzo Bricherassio, Turin, Italy; The Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, France; and more recently, the Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey. Solo exhibitions of Vari’s monumental sculptures in the public realm have taken place in cities including Paris, Rome, Montecarlo, Baden-Baden, Geneva, Pietrasanta, Athens, Madrid and Cartagena de Indias, among others. 

 

Vari’s work is included in international public collections around the world, among them: museum Beelden aan Zee, The Hague; Benaki Museum, Athens; Fondation Veranneman, Kruishoutem, Belgium; Foundation Basil and Elise Goulandris: Museum of Modern Art, Andros, Greece; Fundaçao Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon; Fundación Botero, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogota; Musée de la Main, Lausanne, France; Museo de Medellin, Medellin, Colombia; Museo de Ponce, Puerto Rico; National Museum and Alexandros Soultzos Museum, Athens; National Pinacotheca, Athens.

 

Sophia Varis lives and works between Pietrasanta, Italy and Monte Carlo, Monaco.

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Works

Exhibitions

Making It

Women and Abstract Sculpture

Waddington Custot presents Making It, a group exhibition dedicated to a generation of pioneering women sculptors who came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Taking an unexpected approach to their chosen media: fusing gold leaf with linen for instance, folding metal or hand-knotting rope, these artists challenged modernist conventions and expanded conceptions of the appropriate media and methods for sculpture. Artists in the exhibition include Olga de Amaral, Lynda Benglis, Françoise Grossen, Maren Hassinger, Barbara Levittoux-Świderska, Louise Nevelson, Beverly Pepper, Mildred Thompson and Sophia Vari. These artists are known for working on an ambitious scale, building upon the gallery’s focus on monumental sculpture. 

 

Active in the mid and late-20th century, these sculptors developed new work during the era of second-wave feminism and within the context of feminist critique, as championed by critics and curators such as Lucy Lippard. While it not overtly feminist in concept, their work does not represent a retreat from politics. Rather, contending with the long-held belief – retained well into the 1970s – that sculpture was a muscular medium best suited to men, these artists stood against the prejudices and difficulty women encountered when trying to access the male-dominated spaces of foundries and woodshops. Lucy Lippard recounted, ‘In the winter of 1970 I went to a great many women’s studios… found women in corners of men’s studios, bedrooms, children’s rooms, kitchens’1. Undiminished by this unfavourable context, the sculptors in 

Making It actively take up space with their work. Spreading across the walls and from ceiling to floor, reaching across the gallery and hanging in the air, these works prefigure installation art and a broader shift toward process and materials.

 


1. Lucy Lippard, “Changing Since Changing (1976),” in The Pink Glass Swan: Selected Essays on Feminist Art: 1970–1993 (New York: The New Press, 1995) 33.

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News

Sophia Vari sculpture comes to Mayfair

Presented by Waddington Custot, a bronze monochromatic sculpture by contemporary artist Sophia Vari, titled Trouble Essentiel, has been installed on the corner of New Bond St.

 

Sophia Vari was born in Athens, Greece in 1940 and is a visual artist known for her investigations into form and balance, working across sculpture, collage, oil and watercolour. In 1958, she graduated from the École des Beaux Arts, in Paris and, in the decades following, her work has been celebrated with almost 100 solo exhibitions to date over the course of her career. Vari has had several museum exhibitions including: Palazzo Vecchio, Florence; The Ludwig Museum, Koblenz, Germany; and more recently, Pera Museum, Istanbul. 

 

Vari’s work is included in international public collections worldwide and her monumental sculptures have been shown in public locations around the world. For each installation, she pays special attention to the way that her works are integrated with the cities in which they are exhibited. Vari is particularly concerned with the way in which the tactile quality of the patina surfaces can encourage a connection with her viewers, while the majestic scale of her public sculptures creates a strong visual impact.

 

Vari’s work has evolved through several stages over her decades of sculpture making. While her early work from the 1960s onwards was mostly figurative, in the 1980s, Vari began to employ rounded abstract forms that suggested the human body. Eventually she began incorporating planar and constructed forms into her work, and by the mid-1990s Vari had begun to apply colour to the surfaces of her dynamic sculptures. This use of colour contributes to the movement of Vari’s pieces, and her sculptural works, created both on a monumental scale and as table pieces, appear to move autonomously as the viewer walks around them. Her work across all media shares a certain playfulness and liveliness, with compositions in collage, watercolour and paint pushing into the realm of dimensional space.

 

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