- Eleni Kyriacou
Why I love Naum Gabo
What I love about Naum Gabo’s work is the way he balanced the emotional and intellectual: making us fall in love visually with an art work and also with the ideas behind it all at once. There is intelligence behind every work he created as well as perfectly balanced visual rhythms. His sculpture tells a story as you move around it, from every angle. The story may take a sudden turn that you weren’t expecting, and this is the genius that exists in sculpture. Naum Gabo understood the possibilities of sculpture, and leaves us to be able to imagine little that he didn’t try and explore.
How the collection drew inspiration from his work
Below is an example of how his sculpture has inspired this collection. In the first image we see two sculptures that in terms of mass are similar. What separates them is the way Gabo has chosen to define his form. In the first example the overall form is highlighted in a linear fashion. However in the second he only chooses to highlight certain points, that not only create a floating effect where those points are, but those parts act functionally as they join parts of the sculpture together, acting like ‘joints’ rather than ‘bones’. I have applied this concept to 2 shoulder designs, seen below. In one the entire shoulder void is highlighted, in the other there is just one ‘joint’.
My mother Ritsa Kyriacou was the founder and owner of Gallery K, Hampstead (1990-2012). In that time she held numerous exhibitions of drawings by the choreographer Millicent Hodson. Millicent has reconstructed several ballets including ‘La Chatte’ (1926). Many people are unaware that Naum Gabo’s creativity ventured beyond the realms of sculpture and painting, but in fact he did venture into design. ‘La Chatte’ is the unique occasion where we can enjoy Gabo’s creative talent in the format of set designer and costume designer. I was unaware when I looked at Millicent’s drawings, that she was in fact drawing a Gabo production! In my teens as a birthday gift my mother asked me to choose one of Millicent’s drawings. Her repertoire of drawings included other ballets, but I chose a drawing from ‘La Chatte’ and had it hanging in my bedroom for many years. I was oblivious to this link, until my mother saw my designs for the new collection and told me! So I in fact completed the design of the collection before I saw the following link of the ‘La Chatte’ ballet. The ballet shows Gabo, as one would imagine, translating the play with plastics seen in his sculpture into transparencies in costume, creating silhouette effects, and floating elements effects. The costumes are assembled in a collage manner, in the same way that he would construct a sculpture. Similarly the set is made of transparent geometric structures, playing with translucencies, structure and layered form. Spatially, forms are assembled to create corners, spirals, screens, frames and other spaces that we associate with his sculpture.