MASAAKI NODA Maquette for The Spirit of Hermes 2010 [A] = - x +

CN: NodM2010herm

MT: stainless steel (94x16x50)

DN: Mr. Takis Efstathiou - 2011

LC: ACG Art Storage

CM: Masaaki Noda's monument titled The Spirit of Hermes was unveiled at Marathon Municipality, Greece, on 10 September 2010, as part of the events celebrating the 2500th Anniversary of the Battle of Marathon. The maquette for this sculpture was donated to ACG Art by benefactor MASAAKI NODA Efstathiou in honor of President David G. Horner exactly one year later. [Megakles Rogakos 09/2011]

Babis Plaitakis, writer and film director, wrote about The Spirit of Hermes: The Japanese visual artist Masaaki Noda has developed a special relationship with Greece in recent years. Ever since he first set foot in the country, in the 1990s, its glorious past and its gods spoke to his spirit. And since 2005, Apollo's Mirror, an important work by the artist inspired by the mysticism and magic of Delphi, adorns the Omphalos, the navel of the earth, absorbing and reflecting the Delphic light in the landscape of Parnassus. § Recently, a second work by the artist, The O pen Mind of Lafcadio Hearn , has been conversing with the Attica sky; the work was installed at The American College of Greece in 2009. A sculpture dedicated to the Greek-Irish traveller and writer, born in Lefkas to a Greek mother, whose travels took him to Japan, where he managed to express the Japanese soul better than any other foreign artist of his era. § Today, with his new work, The Spirit of Hermes, Noda joins the celebrations in honor of one of the most important battles of ancient Greece - a defining moment in the evolution of Democracy, art and culture - the battle of Marathon. § Proud of their victory, Athenians sought to keep it alive in their memory - as well as for posterity - by offering a building made entirely of Pentelic marble, known as the "Athenian Treasury" to Apollo's sanctuary, in Delphi, containing trophies from the battle, bearing the laconic inscription: "[FROM THE] ATHENIANS TO APOLLO AS OFFERINGS FROM THE BATTLE OF MARATHON TAKEN FROM THE PERSIANS". In the city of Athens, the battle was depicted in paintings in the Poikile Stoa, the painted porch where Zeno's school of philosophy later flourished, which taught the stoic approach to life (viewing the painted battle scenes must have been conducive to meditation, I imagine). And the great architect of the victory, General Miltiades, offered to the other major religious centre in Greece, the sanctuary of Zeus at Olympia, his own helmet in order to commit this struggle for freedom to the memory of the Greeks. § "Past, present and future act as communicating vessels in my work", Noda has often said. Born in the war-torn city of Hiroshima, Noda is painfully aware of issues related to freedom and knows all too well the disastrous consequences of a foreign invasion. § On this occasion, Noda was inspired by another Olympian god, the god of speed and communication, the escort of newly-deceased souls, Hermes. The work also indirectly honours the god's son, Pan, who appeared in the course of the battle and encouraged the Athenians, 2,500 years ago, causing panic among the Persian invaders. § Amidst the confusing multitude of contemporary visual art movements and using heterogeneous materials, such as stainless steel and marble, Noda - who is active as an artist between Japan and the United States - articulates a personal abstracted voice, achieving the effect of a pointed, enveloping motion in space. Evocative of the pointed and enveloping attack of the Athenian army, which led to victory. "Art itself is a battle", the artist remarked. Two metal plates emerge from the base and grow in a helical and spiral arrangement, evoking Hermes' wings and the Athenian attack. § On the day of the battle, the Athenians exceeded themselves against a far more numerous enemy and, ignoring the danger, attacking with dazzling speed, not unlike that of Hermes' wings; with equally dazzling speed, the young Athenian runner raced against time and covered the 42-kilometre distance at the speed of lightning in order to bring the message of victory to Athens before he died. § The sculpture is erected in the plain of Marathon, near the starting point of modern-day athletic events, initiating a dialogue with the memory of the land. It is a liberating movement in space, a curve - a call for transcendence. A steel hymn to Freedom. [Babis Plaitakis, summer 2010 / translation: Dimitris Saltabassis]

SPYRIDON ZAGARIS / NIKOLAOS TSAMADOS / BABIS PLAITAKIS / ANNIE WHARTON Masaaki Noda: The Spirit of Hermes 2010 Marathon Municipality, Marathon