Colossal gold breastplates and gargantuan wristbands are the centerpieces of a collection of 50 works of wearable art by Italian-Greek sculptress, painter and jewelry designer Lisa Sotillis currently on display at the Franz Mayer Museum in Mexico City’s Centro Histórico.
The 50-piece collection, titled “El poder del mito griego” (“The power of the Greek myth”), draws on an ancient tradition of Hellenic metallurgy and is sponsored in part by the Greek Embassy in Mexico and incorporates hand-hammered gold, silver and bronze items adorned with huge stones of amethysts, chalcedony, cornelian and garnet, as well as with bits of coral and natural pearls.
The large-scale rings, necklaces and pendants are inspired by items from the Mycenaean and Gold Age of Greece.
About half the items in the collection were made especially for the Franz Mayer exhibit, and the rest were produced by Sotillis at different stages in her 30-year career.
In addition to jewelry, the collection also includes several items of practical art, including two tea sets.
“El poder del mito griego,” which will remain on display through July 19 as part of the Franz Mayer’s 30th anniversary celebration, is the artist’s first exhibition in Mexico.
Sotillis has previously exhibited in Europe in 10 private showings and more than 30 collective shows.
During her career, she has also been commissioned to design jewelry for Italian Princess Maria Beatrice of Savoy, Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev, Italian film star Claudia Cardinale and French choreographer Roland Petit.
She likewise created the main door of the Amman Cathedral in Jordan, a massive six-meter-high portal built from gold and bronze.
“Each and every piece in the collection is unique and handcrafted,” Sotillis said during a press conference and preview of the exhibit last week.
“My work is art, but it is art that can be worn and is a personal expression of the wearer.”
“Usually, we do not present art as much as design here at the Franz Mayer,” said the museum’s director general Héctor Rivero Borrell, “but this collection is a perfect example of how art and design can come together to make practical sculpture.”
Greek Ambassador to Mexico Petros Panayotopoulos added that it is particularly important to promote bilateral art and culture exchange in order to combat growing global ethnocentrism and sectarianism.
“Culture is the antithesis of terrorism,” Panayotopoulos said. “It is the modern world’s best defense against hatred and social divisions.”
The “El poder del mito griego” is housed in a gallery on the first floor of the Franz Mayer Museum.
The exhibit will remain on display through June 19.
The museum is located at Avenida Hidalgo 45 in the Centro Histórico and is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
There is a 45 peso ($2.56) admission fee.