Sensations Imprimées, 2017 / by Anna Achilleos Stäubli


Sensations Imprimées, 2017

The indelible motif and swooning memories in the oeuvre of Anna Achilleos Stäubli

By Iris Kritikou
Art Historian - Independent Curator


I Hide Myself Within My Flower, 903
I hide myself within my flower,
That wearing on your breast,
You, unsuspecting, wear me too-
And angels know the rest.
I hide myself within my flower,
That fading from your Vase,
You, unsuspecting, feel for me-
Almost a loneliness.
Emily Dickinson

Proposing as her title and, particularly, as her field of investigation and creation the french play words “Sensations Imprimées” - Imprinted Sensations - Anna Achilleos Stäubli digs up the blooming flowerbeds of her own, and our nostalgia, with talent and wilful mastery.
In the Encaustic painted paradise of white jasmine and unwithered wild roses, in labyrinths of chrysanthemums and beds of hyacinths, Anna replants seedlings of an unspoken yet eloquent autobiography.

Through the endemic peony of the Troodos mountains, to the humble chamomile growing on the sand at the Tombs of the Kings in Paphos and the hypnotic visual barriers of pointed yet vulnerably self referential blue thistles, she recomposes the steps of a perilous yet passionate youth.

Anna connects with her birthplace and resurrects the essence of a primordial and heart rendering knowledge of her homeland.
Anna’s vivid narrative of her paintings stems from childhood memories and her archetypal grandmother. With a magical touch Anna recalls her memories and interweaves herself in family looms and floral patterned dresses.
Empowered with her memories of her grandmother weaving endless hand spun yarns from the thread of domesticated silk worms, Anna gives birth to lines, clusters and interstitial spaces of colour and wax. The memory of soothing cloth on the skin spreads softly on wood and canvas and becomes once more a joyful garden of flowers of unsurpassed beauty.

Through her studies in Archaeology and the discovery of the portraits of Fayum, Anna Achilleos Stäubli has dedicated the past two decades of her life in creating, researching and exploiting the intricate techniques of Encaustic Art. Compelled by the need to render the beauty of colour, the rhythm of shape, the desire to feel and smell, Anna undertakes a more fresh and contemporary approach to a new transcendental artistic quality.
Like an ever moving dancer, Anna flows with the flame and with the art of an Alchemist, she imprints myths, memories and emotions on gentle bees wax fields. Cyprus, Anna’s birthplace is her source of inspiration. From wild and domesticated flowers, to copper and sulphur and the blue turquoise waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Anna draws images and strength
and turns the into a blooming fertile universe.

Her daring blooms escape the flame and transcend the pictorial frame spreading out and beyond; they caress the gaze and flirt into the infinity of freedom and light.
They remind us that: “Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world”. (1)

In the joy of this unique embroidered landscape created by Anna Achilleos Stäubli we enter the world of a disarming autobiography. Museum lovers and art collectors will no doubt bring to memory Cypriot and Minoan vases with exceptional braids, rare Persian and European blooming weavings and oriental ceramics. Floral textiles from far and near...
The disciplined vegetative style and outbursting wild vegetation, does not reckon with blank space. For centuries it has been one of the most significant fields in the world of decorative and visual arts.

In his amazing study “The meditation of Ornament”, Oleg Grabar noted:

“But why vegetation? It is simply one of the intermediate forms from which a patron, an artist, a craftsman, or a time can choose the one best fitted to a time, to a monument, or even to the taste or competence of an individual, patron or artisan?
The answer to this question must be negative. Vegetation is too ubiquitous and too consistent to have been simply one of the alternatives available over the centuries. A better answer is, I believe, that vegetation had one attribute not available to any of the previously discussed intermediaries. It suggests or evokes life. Without representing life, it provides a sense of growth and movement, a feeling of those life forces on which traditional and contemporary Chinese art critics dwell so much when they talk about art. It is precisely because it was life that it had so often to be tamed, by geometry for instance. But it always burst out, for vegetation or Nature is at the same time the most common and most recalcitrant of all intermediates. It transforms everything it touches into something else than itself or than the object on which it is found. It always leads elsewhere and yet hauntingly comes back as an evocation of life, as a form that, most of the time appears in movement, as though, like life, it had a beginning and an end.” (2)

Iris Kritikou
Art Historian - Independent Curator

1. Ralph Waldo Emerson: «...Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world».
2. Oleg Grabar, The Meditation of Ornament, The A.W.Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Bollingen Series XXXV, Princeton University Press 1989.