Varvara Spirouli

Spirouli Varvara

Born in Athens, she studied painting at the Athens School of Fine Arts (1986-1991) with N. Kessanlis and T. Patraskidis, while also attended the sculpture and lithography classes of G. Nikolaidis and Th. Exarchopoulos respectively. She continued her post-graduate studies at the Architectural Department of the National Technical University of Athens (2001-2003) in the direction Research in Architecture: Planning – Space – Culture entitled “Virtual Reality and art” under the supervision of D. Papalexopoulos, C. Moraitis and D. Charitos. She lives and works in Athens.


Solo Exhibitions


Spatial dynamic fields Athens Art Gallery Athens Athena Schina


The Spaces of Places Agathi-Kartalos Art Gallery Athens Emmanouel Mavromatis


Localizations Kaplanon 5 Gallery Athens Emmanouel Mavromatis


Broadband Cities 2008 International Conference of Digital Cities Trikala


Virtual Worlds Gallery 3 Athens


N.T.U.A: Virtual Worlds Bouboulina Street Athens


Constructions Gallery 3 Athens


Splices Gallery 3 Athens Manos Stefanidis


Constructions Gallery 3 in collaboration with Moiraraki Art Gallery Athens


Spatial dynamic fields

In each unit of the works which Barbara Spyrouli exhibits one realises that what chiefly preoccupies her is the relations between the seen and the unseen, structures and surfaces, matter and space, causalities and conjunctures, ontology and phenomenology, attributes and actions. These relations make their appearance as distinct and opaque networks or as orbits. By means of grids and in an exceptionally subtle way, Barbara Spyrouli works with inspiration and skill upon the balances and counterpoints of these grids, which define in a variety of ways levels and surfaces, revealing energies and impacts, functions and statutory conventions – conventions and characteristics which are discernible in every kind of organic and inorganic form, which during its development and evolution of process in space-time, though possessing agency, nevertheless abrogates its autonomy.

The artistic problématique, both in this creative artist’s earlier sculptures and in her more recent ones, focuses – always in a different way – on the concept of intermediality. The light and the shadings, the proximities and distances, the magnitudes and the impressions called forth in the eye of the observer through the relativity of his/her position and perceptiveness are the one parameter. The other parameter involves the role of empathy in connection with the visual enigma which is shaped on the part of the viewer.

The metal grids which Barbara Spyrouli weaves in the space like lace, alluding to structures and constant mutations of the points and bearings of matter, ‘map’ the kinesiology which extends from the four to many more – imperceptible – space-time dimensions. The sculptress hints at them as they are called forth by the condensations and dilutions of the tensions which the space takes on in her works through its various levels, but also from the dynamic of their oscillations. These oscillations of the space, which reveal its vitality and organicity, also have analogies and correspondences with the way in which memory and association operate in the subconscious, as well as with the way in which matter is converted into energy. Inner processes and changes become external manifestations due to convergences and divergences, as well as to the curvatures, and, at the same time, the flexures of the fields of this space, within which many of the above parameters interact and are interdependent – in a different way each time.

The materials which are combined are wire and metal grids with fine skins of light-coloured woods. Where there are colours, they act as punctuation and hints. It is as if Barbara Spyrouli is embroidering the void with her thought, her sensitivity, and her imagination in these allusive works of hers, lending them an internally labyrinthine and weightless volume, but with diaphanous corporeality and lucidity of hypostasis.

Apart from the concept of intermediality and the pervading poetic spirit linking the individual with the whole, eternal movement with the borderline stability or the balancing flexibility of each grid in these works, there is the concept, together with the reality, of this mutability in itself – a mutability which is linked dialectically with the varied levels which explore and broaden the nature of matter.

In these works of Barbara Spyrouli, apart from all else, allegorically indirect correspondences are made both with the nature of the unconscious and also with nature in the environment. Nevertheless, the most important characteristic is that by means of the specific sculptures, and, moreover, without clamour or rhetoric, a social critique is being practised. This concerns the ‘networks’ and, at the same time, the internet relations, the interdependences, and the effects of ‘matter’ of whatever form, without embellishments. We see these allegories extrapolated as they castigate as ‘networks’ the achievements (not only technological) which are supposed to preserve, but in essence undermine, freedoms, by breaking down, on pretexts of preservation or well-being, earlier human aspirations and acquis.

Whether willingly or unwillingly, we socialise through communications networks which manipulate us and herd us into groups. We come into contact, as the works of Barbara Spyrouli suggest, with ‘networks’ for exchanges and life systems, but also for the shaping of approaches. The nature of the ‘networks’ for such ‘matter’ is reflected more broadly in our human relations and behaviours. They reflect mindsets and machinations, as can be seen in many of the social structures and economic correlations, reminiscent even of the inter-state – and at other times of the political – tactics followed or applied throughout the length and breadth of the world, with their visible and unseen aspects, with the shadows and with the various levels of ‘stakeholders’ – there where we have seen some of the ‘grids’ even turned into performative frame-ups, under any pretexts, and recently, moreover – alas – without them.


Athena Schina
Historian of Art & Theory of Culture (University of Athens)