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Registered Charity No: 1157364


Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva - Transpire

'What Lies Beneath Reflects Above'

Elpida Hadzi-Vasileva's permanent commission for a stairwell between the technology and arts faculties of the new build at St Bede's Catholic College is a response to the history, traditions and culture of the school. The proposal was developed through collaborative workshops with students and discussions with others associated with the site.

Comments: The architect and developer for the school commented on the artwork as a 'revelation' and a 'hidden treasure', respectively. The school felt the artwork had 'put a firm stamp on the quality of workmanship and design throughout the school.' It had been 'a great and positive experience' and ''Transpire' would become an integral and potent symbol for the College.' Sheona Beaumont, writing in 'Art and Christianity 70" Summer 2012, talks of the Bristol schools commissions as championing "the sacred in deeper and richer forms".

Artwork: 'Transpire' is a magnificent, glowing 23.5 carat gold-leaf tree, sensitive to changes in the ambient light, which spreads its luxuriously entwined roots and branches over ceiling, walls and windows transforming the stairwell into a magical internal space. The tree, a symbol of Jesus and a metaphor for life, knowledge, wisdom, and our common descent, connects the rich inside space with incredible views of the landscape beyond. The tree appears to seep its sumptuous roots and branches inside and outside via upper windows, embodying a mystical change in substance.

The adaptation of traditional techniques for contemporary settings, in this case Baroque stucco work and gilding, is not only typical of Hadzi-Vasileva's work but here reflects the sentiments of self-confidence, movement, freedom and spiritual ecstasy common to that era.

The development of the work was inspired by the legend of the 'Golden Bough' of shimmering handed to the Trojan hero Aeneas to allow his safe passage through the underworld.

The work represents a searching for something deep within us to present to others. It references the power of St Bede's College as a magical place where children are valued, stimulated and challenged to develop their talents. It attempts to explore the tensions between and within spaces, evoking a sense of mystery and complexity between that which lies beneath and that which manifests itself above.

Installed: August 2010

Art Consultant: Art and Sacred Places
Funding: Bristol City Council and St Bede's Catholic College
Programme: Building Schools for the Future
School: St Bede's Catholic College, Bristol
School Construction and Development: Skanska
School Design and Architecture: Batterham Matthews

Stucco Modelling: With the assistance of Matthew Odonovan
Gilding and Finishing: With the assistance of Teresa Llewellyn
Project Dissemination: in progress
Launch of New Building: Thursday 10th February 2011


Art and Sacred Places - MMXVI-MMXVII