Written by Yiannis Pappas
For the purpose of the in-situ valuation of the ecclesiastical textiles, I needed to travel for a first time in Mount Athos in 2008 as a textile conservator working for the Greek Ministry of Culture. During the research of the Vestments that they were going to be exposed for the very first time in history at the Petit Pallet’ s exhibition in France, I came across the golden costume of Nikiforos Fokas, the Byzantine Emperor from 963 to 969. This historical object it has never been published till today despite its uniqueness as a Byzantine costume design. Inspired by this object of M. Lavras Monastery’s Museum I decided to create a wearable sculpture made of painted golden ping-pong balls, such as a ‘holy underwear, that could complete the collection of the luxurious vestments.
In traditional Christianity, vision is the most important source of access to the presence of the divine; and because the physical world is the mean of expression of the divine presence, sacred objects (icons, relics etc) visualizing the presence of divine, facilitating the communication between worshiper and divine.