Christoforos Savva: Unbound, curated by Marina Christodoulidou, is the first ever show for the pioneering Cypriot artist in London. The exhibition takes a close look at the connections between Savva’s early works and his signature works, ranging from paintings to cement reliefs, yfasmatographies and pin reliefs. The coexistence of genres and the wide range of themes and references that appear in the artist’s body of work are only part of the reason why Savva is widely acknowledged as one of the most groundbreaking Cypriot artists of the 20th century.
The exhibition centres on the years Savva spent in post-war London (1946-54) and the ways in which the city shaped his approach to his practice and a life wholly dedicated to art. This was an ebullient decade in the art-world, marked by the emergence of various seminal artists and movements. During this period, Savva studied at the Heatherley School of Fine Art (1947-54), and together with a group of fellow students he formed the artists’ collective ‘Pimlico Group’ (named after Pimlico Street where the school and a number of art hotspots, including the Tate Gallery, were located). Among others, the collective produced the iconic Pimlico Group sketchbook, as well as a series of works from the road trip of Savva and his fellow artist and friend Roddy Maude-Roxby to Cyprus, in the summer of 1954.
The show also presents a comprehensive collection of works the artist created following his return to Cyprus in 1960, offering a glimpse into his signature body of work, and includes works as diverse in style as paintings and pin reliefs, or yfasmatographies and cement reliefs. Through this sequencing, the exhibition aims to highlight the ingenious coexistence of media and genres and the inimitable range of themes and references that appear in the artist’s work. This exhibition is a continuation of the research around Savva’s work and legacy as a fundamental figure in the history of Cypriot art, given his groundbreaking contributions and highly influential role in the local art scene from the fifties and sixties to the present.
Christoforos Savva: Unbound is the last iteration of a three-fold project which started in 2019 with a large-scale survey show of Christoforos Savva at the new State Gallery of Contemporary Art – SPEL in Nicosia, and continued with his posthumous exhibition in the Cyprus Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale. This third manifestation in London keeps ‘unbounding’ the manifold research carried out to date around Savva. At the core of this ongoing survey lies the need to revisit Savva’s work from a contemporary perspective, while also to unravel – and acknowledge – Cypriot modernism as yet another distinct chapter in the world history of 20th-century art, against the backdrop of the island's dramatic transition from colonialism to Independence.
The exhibition will be accompanied by the homonymous publication Christoforos Savva: Unbound, the latest addition to a series of publications produced during this line of research. The book will provide a historical retrospective of Savva's years in London, while also documenting recent finds of the artist’s works, including a number of cement reliefs rediscovered in 2021 at Perroquet nightclub in the secluded city of Varosha, in occupied Famagusta.
Exhibition Open: Monday - Saturday, 11am-5pm, Thursdays, 11am - 8pm
Organised by The Cultural Services of the Cyprus Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Youth and The Hellenic Centre
Christoforos Savva: Unbound | Press Release