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Untitled, 1961



Vera Gavrielidou-Hadjida [ZAFIRI] (1936-1936)
Untitled, 1961
Oil on plywood
AGLC 474 @ A.G Leventis Gallery

Vera Gavrielidou-Hadjida [Zafiri] belonged to the generation of artists who began to return to Cyprus during the 1960s, after studying abroad, especially at fine arts schools in Britain. That generation was identified with the inception of the Republic of Cyprus and expressed the new spirit, values and orientations of the recently established Cypriot State.

This painting in the A. G. Leventis Gallery Collection falls into the first period of the artist’s career and was shown at her first solo exhibition, in May 1962. At this exhibition, Gavrielidou-Hadjida presented several works featuring built landscapes, particularly urban ones, using an abstract vocabulary and a geometrical spatio-plastic style. The title of this particular work is not known. The 1962 exhibition catalogue lists such titles as Church, Building, Road, Neighbourhood, Town and Houses, one of which could apply to it. The oil painting depicts a built space, whose type is defined by the two large, Gothic-style arches, typical of medieval monuments, churches and the traditional Cypriot residence. The artist split lines, surfaces and volumes, elements which she then recomposed to create a new visual reality which obeys geometric harmonies. The geometric shapes merge into each other, contributing to the poetic transformation of space. The work is characterised by a dark-coloured palette, immobility and strict geometric organisation. While maintaining references to visual reality, Gavrielidou-Hadjida negotiated it by reshaping it on the basis of a personal viewing of Cubism and its British version, Vorticism.

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About the artist

She studied painting and interior design at the Kingston School of Art (1955-1959) in Surrey, England. She worked as an art teacher in secondary schools and at the Cyprus Pedagogical Academy. She expressed herself using different artistic idioms. Her early works are marked by expressionist forms. She then adopted a geometrical style, going on to works that come under the category of optical art. After 1974, she combined figurative and abstract elements and produced compositions with symbolic implications. In 1962 she began showing her work in solo exhibitions in Cyprus (1962, 1967, 1979, 1986, 1997, 2004, 2007) and took part in many group exhibitions in Cyprus and abroad. She represented Cyprus in the 5th Paris Biennale (1967), the New Delhi Triennale (1967) and the São Paulo Biennale (1969).

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