Aphrodite Litti

Litti Aphrodite

Born in Athens in 1953, she studied Sculpture (1972-1978), Mosaic (1976-1978), Fresco and Haghiography (1978-1980) at the Athens School of Fine Arts under Yannis Pappas, Costas Colefas and Konstantinos Xinopoulos. In 1978 she began her studies on Italian Culture at the Università degli Studi of Milan while on an Italian state scholarship. She continued her post-graduate studies in Conservation at the University of London on a Greek state scholarship (1983-86). In 1999 she was appointed to a teaching post at the Athens School of Fine Arts. In 2001 she was awarded a Sculpture Prize by the Cultural Centre of Glyfada. She lives and works in Athens.


Solo Exhibitions


Owls and the Athenian Democracy. From Ancient Numismatics to Contemporary Sculpture Numismatic Museum Athens (curated by Aphrodite Litti, Giorgos Kakavas, Evangelia Apostolou)


Owls Archaeological Museum of Poros Poros (curated by Tatiana Spinari-Pollali and Maria Giannopoulou)


Inner Paradise Citronne Gallery Poros (curated by Tatiana Spinari-Pollali)


Myths and Properties Psychico Art Center Athens (curated by Elisa Gerolymatou)


The Cuckoo Clock Museum of Greek Folk Art, The Bath House of the Winds Athens


The Radiance of Colossus and the Power of Heraldic Symbols Modern Greek Art Museum Rhodes (curated by Mary Kambouropoulou)


Rings as Sculpture Lalaounis Museum of Jewellery Athens (curated by Ioanna Lalaounis)


Aphrodite Litti in Wonderland Potnia Thiron Gallery Athens


Within the Gardens Numismatic Museum Athens (curated by Aphrodite Kouria)


In Conjuction with the Precious Items of Our Tradition Byzantine Museum Thessaloniki (curated by Efthymia Georgiadou-Kountoura, Eleonora Skouteri-Didaskalou)


The Bliss of Sharing Fruit Athens Art Gallery Athens


Submersion in the Kingdom of Lost innocence Filothei Municipal Cultural Centre Filothei


Rings Zina Athanasiadou Gallery Thessaloniki (curated by Irene Orati)


Seascape Athens Art Gallery Athens


Enigmatic Princesses Athens Art Gallery Athens


Secret Gardens Athens Art Gallery Athens


Zina Athanasiadou Gallery Thessaloniki


Birds and Fruit Conference Mylos Thessaloniki (curated by Dorothea Konteletzidou)


Birds and Fruit Conference Athens Art Gallery Athens


Afrodite Litti: A Continuous Course-Submersion into the Kingdom of Lost Innocence

Submersion symbolizes satisfaction of a need for repose, security, tenderness, coming to earth: it is the return to the womb, to the source of life. Each unit of works in Aphrodite Litti’s twenty-year course invites and incites us to a submersion into our personal memories, as well as a submersion into the collective subconscious.

Aphrodite Litti’s oeuvre seems to serve a secret purpose. It appears as a cohesive whole with internal homogeneity, despite the different thematic choices. It is the result of a microscopic study-scrutiny of Nature, a profound love of live, a sound academic education and an admirable dexterity. Each unit, by combining autonomous sculptures, presents a series of environments in entelechy. This is an oeuvre which addresses our soul as much as our eyes, our primeval inquiries towards restoring the balance with nature, which has today assumed the proportions of an imperative need.



“The world of my sculpture lies in a wood’, Litti confesses, and her first sculpture for the open air (1984) affirms what she says. It is a gigantic plane leaf of metal, pieces of mirror and enamel. Sovereign symbol of the plant kingdom, it condenses and epitomizes all the leaves in the wood, it seems to represent the very essence of the wood, as its fragile mirror-spangled body quivers from the reflections of trees, leaves and sky. The mirror, like the surface of water, is linked in myths with magical uses: it reflects truth, honesty, the contents of the heart and the conscience, it shows the cause of past actions, becomes an instrument of enlightenment, a symbol of wisdom and of knowledge.

The theme of the gigantic leaf-symbol returns in different versions of materials and forms, but always keeping its fibrous texture, which is achieved either by using different materials (mirror, metal, enamel) or by rendering it with fragments of marble (potential leaves) which, without touching one another, invigorate its complete form. The visual displacement of the subject itself is sometimes achieved by a group of three similar upright leaves of differing size (metal, plexiglass) or by a cluster of mirror-studded ivy leaves whose pedicels stand vertically, supported by a spiraling aluminum axis set on the floor.


The Assembly of Birds and Fruits

With its roots delving into the interior of the earth, its trunk developing on the surface and its branches reaching up to heaven, the tree constitutes the union of the three levels of the cosmos. The tree in Litti’s wood still keeps this emblematic form, with its severe metallic austerity, denuded of any kind of foliage. It stands upright, spreading its branches to receive a flock of small birds, which will energize its symbolism: the relationship between earth and heaven.

In the “Assembly of Birds and Fruits” (series of 1994-1995 works), the serenity and the stability of the sculpted forms of the trees is disturbed by the birds, brought to life and balanced by the presence of gigantic fruits overflowing with exuberant life. An enormous cypress apple, scintillating from the mirror tesserae on its surface, has opened and attacks an indeterminate metal fruit of equal size, which in its turn opens in readiness to expel its enameled pips, while a colossal metal pinecone threatens, emitting beams of blue light from its vitals. On the one hand life and death metal base, and their finials emit red light, following the in their noisiest manifestation, and on the other the imperturbable promise of nature that this process will continue perpetually, for as long as earth and heaven exist.


Unexplored Garden

The next step in the magical world of nature ends in a mysterious garden, peopled with enormous insects and lizards, with realistic substance, as well as stylized flowers and plants. The scarab, familiar symbol of the sun and of rebirth in ancient Egypt, appears clad in mother-of-pearl tesserae, made by hand, and with black metal legs, finished by hand. Beetles and bluebottles shimmer beside it. Although bereft of an equally impressive dowry of symbolisms, these insects draw up from the depths of our memory remembrances of carefree sojourns in the country, where they frightened us, repulsed us as well as – in an inexplicable manner – attracted us. This remembrance is vitalized and materialized before our very eyes. The intention is not to reproduce specific insects but to reproduce the emotion of remembering them. With this in mind, their approximated naturalistic rendering magnifies them and tames them. Over-grown beetles of various kinds lurk on the floor or poise on the wall, displaying their indecent bodies, dressed in hundreds of multi-coloured tesserae, and lit selectively by neon on their legs and bodies.

Further off, two beetles clamber acrobatically upon on theme of the ‘burning bush’, which also exists in the garden. In the illuminated assembly the lizards too play a leading role. At a symbolist level the lizard is affined to the snake (both symbolize the earth), but with the difference that the snake is the eternal enemy of man, whereas the lizard is considered a friendly creature, particularly in Mediterranean cultures. Stressing this difference, the lizards in Litti’s garden are good-natured and colourful. With glittering enamel mosaic bodies and metal legs, they stand immobile in stone niches or cling to the wall, basking sensuously in the sunlight.



The next unit of works moves away from nature and turns to the human being, which it approaches through a cross-cultural and diachronic symbol, the ring. Symbol of union, of good wishes, of commitment, of common destiny, the ring over the centuries of its history has been linked with authority, power, specific offices, particular persons. It also alludes to the relationship of master and slave, with the image of a falconer passing a bronze ring onto the leg of a falcon, which will never hunt again except for him. A relationship with is turned into one of reciprocity with the exchange of rings in the marriage ceremony.

Rings is the outcome of two years’ confrontation with emblematic flower. These giant flowers are metal rods harsh materials. This man-made construction-symbol a developed in a spherical section, sprouting from a convex few centimetres in size is transformed skillfully into an autonomous sculptural form. The rings-models are enlarged so much that their dimensions fill the space with their history. Bronze and iron are hammered by hand, are distorted, moulded, their details are assembled and then smoothed, carved, incised, nickel-plated, galvanized and finally, some of them are set with semiprecious stones. Balancing upright on the ground or fallen down one on top of the other, their circular forms testify directly to their origin and redefine the relations of union and commitment on a new scale.


The Swimmer

The first human figure in Litti’s oeuvre appears in 2000. It is no coincidence that this first human being emerges from the water. The purificatory quality of baptism in water is known from comparable practices in all cultures, in all places and at all times. Baptism in water is globally the first ritual mystery of the major junctures in man’s life cycle: birth, adolescence, death.

The busy world of the earthly magical habitats gives way to a calm coastal landscape. A galvanized metal, adolescent, female figure-swimmer, in swimming costume knitted from hundreds of blue-glass tesserae, swims nonchalantly beside a crustacean of supernatural dimensions. The metal spiraling shell with its spines, clad with silvery grey enamel tesserae, is cast on the seabed and raises its sharp finial 1o the surface. The perpendicular development of its sculptural volume acts as an active-masculine element and is balance by the horizontally suspended form, which is the passive-female aesthetic counterweight.



This unit in Litti’s oeuvre is a new image of her never-ending conversation with nature. Familiar elements-symbols of her visual vocabulary reappear in new sculptural formulations. In this unit the human figure has dominant role. After its purificatory baptism, the human being is placed on earth, in a dream garden, and participates actively in the functions of the physical-paradinatural world.

The garden is scattered with metal leaves, which are used as bases by a host of rings, each one of which has a different tale to tell. In the midst of them stands a female figure. The figure borrows the sculptress’s features, wears a pierced dress and has a beetle clinging to its head. At thigh level it holds a little tree of stainless steel, which dabbles in the light. With its foliage developed vertically and its roots hovering, coiling and intertwining in rings, it seems to be brought to earth and nurtured through the figure which bears it.

The human-tree group, modeled from the same metallic material, is completely attuned to the surrounding paradisiac garden and becomes an inextricable element of both the sculpture and its symbolic integrity. Reconciliation of man with nature? Apart from the immediate emotive response, the viewer also receives an optimistic message.


Dr Katerina Perpinioti-Agazir 
Art Historian
* From the catalogue of Aphrodite Litti’s exhibition “Submersion in the Kingdom of Lost innocence“, Filothei Municipal Cultural Centre, Filothei, 2004.