Hymn to Life

The second major piece of work, a medium size, was a phallus embraced by closed hands, here again an archetypical and mythical theme whose erotic is just superficial. This is much the same way as it is with the lighthouse goddess of Santorini, which isn’t primarily to see as a naked woman, as a nude study, but instead as a goddess whose nakedness makes her one of the Olympians. Nikos explains the phallus as a symbol of life, of life energy, as a sign of life giving, which is all very obvious. It is the same naturalness of the Greeks when dealing with the male genital that led during the classical period to the image type of the Hermes pillars decorated with an erect male member. These were cultic statues, over whose middle section on certain Venus holidays the prostitutes of Rome or Athens hung beneficent garlands, and their protruding element was what Alkibiades cut off in a drunken night in Athens with his companions, the famous “Hermes Sacrilege” leading to him being exiled to Sicily.

The backside of this sculpture which one would thoroughly misunderstand if one were to see just an obscene object in it, is forming a temple antechamber, a “Naos”. The motivic conjunction of temple and “praying” hands is deciphering the meaning of this work: it is the plea and the incantation to the all-giving Mother Nature for receiving and passing on of life and the thanks for the gift of life itself. In so far, the female principle as counterpart and supplementation of the male principle is integrated into the image of the phallus. The folded and sheltering hands virtually embracing the phallus then were to be the abstracted image of the vulva. As a metaphor for the ancient central principles of fertility, creativity and productivity – this also a synonym for the artistic life – the sculpture might very well bear the title “Hymn to Life”.


Akrotiri Beach, Santorini, Greece

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