Eleni Athanassiou
Expressive and at the time frugal are some of the concepts formed in the visitor’s mind while facing the “Stavroschimites” figures who, being members of an alive primordial society of chosen ones, transmit him/her the spirituality accompanying every state of psychological exaltation and intellectual renaissance.
Faithful to the aesthetic interpretation of the cross on which countless smashed pieces of mirror entrap and reflect the idol, Vassiliki transforms the image but not the shape. With stavroschimitises (cross-shaped human females) and stavroschimites (cross-shaped human males) the artist revives the intellectual charging of the symbol of the cross infusing it with life, and she adapts its shape to the human figure offering her the cross’ fearful substance.
With a distinctly direct interpretation of symbolism in which the main protagonist, the cross coexists, moves along and suffers with the object of its symbolism, man-human being, Vassiliki communicates the gradual and painful way to the attainment of an intellectual and emotional state of being that does not succumb to relativeness and subjectiveness. This way is nothing but the process that would lead to the achievement of the original form of human creation treated earlier in the “City of Crosses”.
However, the City was an intermediate stage, a step in the evolution of this process, that was vividly marked by the active interaction of the crosses, urging an internal discourse that would lead to the achievement of human integration. Stavroschimitises and stavroschimites are here to announce the arrival at the final stage of this process, and having accomplished that they serve as an accessible role model for the claimants of the “universal” intellect”.
A process that marks Vassiliki’s personal evolution and aesthetic journey, it originates with the contribution of the crosses (an object with symbolist implications), and it ends in the expressive presence of stavroschimites (the sculptural expression of alive and active beings) who were purposely selected to symbolize the materialization of the personal attainment of the psychosomatic condition and notion of the concrete internal totality.
By being humanistic, once more, Vassiliki’s art brings to a direct contact the exterior (shape, object) with the interior (emotion, subconscience, idea), and it transforms their relation into a mental interactive experience in which the visitor becomes initiated by stavroschimitises and stavroschimites, who at the same time encourage him to become involved to an introspective, self-knowledge leading procedure. In his contact with their community the visitor-participant realizes that those figures are his natural environment since he could very well be identified with their position, role, and existence.
Bearing the shape of the cross the members of the stavroschimites’ community are in fact those beings who through their standpoint in the complicated journey of life they justly become the last “citizens” of the earthy paradise. This is the embodiment of the perfect society which the “City of Crosses” dealt with in a theoretical level while the community of “Stavroschimites” practically embody it.
Soldiers of a holy crusade, “Stavroschimites” are becoming compatant battalions in Vassiliki’s idealistic, existential wanderings. Instead of borrowing the shape of the cross they act as self-shaped creations who grope for the knowledge of the divine substance. They bear within themselves the dynamic interaction of real beings, reflected from their correlation which is primarily characterized by spiritual communication, companionship and solidarity.
The uplifting and inviting opening of their hands-arms reflects their mystical communication with the immaterial world of Creation aiming at the attainment of truth which leads to the purification of soul. Actually, this pose declares an intellectual ecstatic state which matches Maimonides’ encouragement to perfect the human intellectual power through philosophy and dedication in the world of intelligibles in order to ensure the redemption of the soul, thus providing a portrait of human perfection.1
Adopting the Platonic approach that no object in nature is other than the idea signified 2 Vassiliki functions on the basis of an idealized, existential view with regard to artistic creation, wich considers it as the outcome of the synthesis between the subjective and the objective meaning of the source of inspiration accompanied by an intense philosophical contemplation. 3
An outcome of the interaction between artistic inspiration and philosophical contemplation, “Stavroschimites” are the translation, into a special language, of a spiritual given, which is to say the least, a fragment of Vassiiliki’s spirituality, to say the most her entire spirituality plus the spirituality of the idea represented by them.
Eleni Athanassiou
Art Historian

1.      Moses Maimonides, Eight Chapters in Ethical Writings of Maimonides, translated by Raymond Weiss and Charles Butterworth (New York: New York University Press, 1975), 77.
2.      Patricia Townley Mathews, Aurier’s Symbolist Art Criticism and Tehory (Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1986), 33.
3.      Ibid., 66