Saturday, October 11, 2008

Nikos Floros : The costumes of Maria Callas

Armida costume

From left to right, top to bottom:
general view, Madame Butterfly, Masterclass, Don Carlo
jacket, Tosca, Rosina (Barber of Seville), corset
shoes, corset, corset detail, Lady Macbeth,
jacket, sleeve detail, Tosca, Madame Butterfly

Nikos Floros is an incredibly talented artist, one of the people making you proud to be Greek. I first saw his work in magazines, when one of his sculptural costumes, "Silver Elizabeth I" got the first prize at Young Friends Heritage Society. Following that, in 2003, he took part in «Save Venice Benefit Gala", taking place annually in New York, presenting two costumes, "Gold Elizabeth Coronation" and "Black Marie de Medici". The following year, at the same show, he presented "Red Elizabeth", created from 2,004 Coca Cola cans knitted into fabric and got the first prize. The award was presented to him by Harold Koda, curator of the Metropolitan Museum of Αrt Costume Institute.

General view of the exhibition in Athens in 2007

The costumes Nikos Floros created for the anniversary show dedicated to Maria Callas are firm proof of the relationship between dress and modern visual expression. Even though they are copies of costumes designed by famous scenographers, painters and fashion designers, worn by the famous soprano throughout her illustrious career, they are also original and unique sculptures. They are indeed the result of a long and painful creative process that underlines the relationship between artist and artisan. At the same time they show their dual identity, as they can be worn as costumes but also can be displayed as works of art.

The Athens show in 2007, Megaron Mela

The use of recycled materials (in this particular case aluminium soda and beer cans), transformed by the artist into metal weave and the obvious reference to home craft and industrial production and also consumerism, connect the works to Pop Art. At the same time, the glamorous final look that results from transforming the cheap material into precious fabric and the metallic rigidity of the clothes reference surrealistic, almost metaphysical sculptures. The material itself contributes to the final look of the sculpture, beyond the plasticity of form and the obvious painstakingly processed metal that are the artist's trademark.

Another view of the Athens show from last year

Nikos Floros with his sculptures-costumes, succeeds in creating two important things: avoiding a faithful replication transforms the costume into a sculpture and, secondly, illuminates the natural space of the opera singer, giving to the viewer a double way of approaching her, not only as an opera fan but also as the receiver of her absence.


The show was first presented in Athens in 2007, as part of the celebrations of the Maria Callas year, with the aim of raising funds for the creation of a Music Academy. This year the costumes travelled to Thessaloniki as part of the annual Dimitria Cultural Festival. The Yeni Tzami building, where they are displayed until the 19th of October, fits them perfectly, foiling them like the stage of an opera play, giving the costumes a natural setting and making them ever more poignant.


Having seen only one of his sculptures before (the costume he created with Athens Voice covers displayed in Benaki Museum in Athens), I was definitely impressed by them, not only by their forms, colours and imposing presence, but also by realizing the incredible amount of work and the passion Nikos Floros must have for creating such splendid works of art. I was humbled and at the same time took pride in seeing such extraordinary sculptures. If you happen to be in Thessaloniki until the 19th of October, do not miss them. And it's free! Archeologikou Mouseiou 30, tel. 2310-857.978, visiting hours: Tue-Fri 10:00-14:00, 18:00-21:00, Sat 18:00-21:00, Sun 10:00-14:00, Monday closed.


From left to right, top to bottom:
Medea, Traviata, Lady Macbeth
general view, button detail, general view
Armida, general view, Rosina

Most single images are from the Athens presentation of the collection, at National Bank of Greece's Megaron Mela. The grids at the beginning and end of this post along with the first single image, show my photographs (sorry for the bad quality but they are from my mobile phone's camera) from the exhibition at Yeni Tzami in Thessaloniki. Some paragraphs of the text are translated from the original Greek text for the show by the curator of the show in Athens, Katerina Koskina.


  1. I'd kill for a pair of shoes like these (who cares if it's art...

  2. Εμένα δεν με τρελαίνουν τα παπούτσια (σαν τη φιλενάδα) να τα φορέσω, αλλά το ίδιο και τα φορέματα -τα θεωρώ έργα τέχνης, και μ' αρέσει να τα θαυμάζω έτσι στημένα
    (ίσως να φαντάζομαι την Κάλλας να τα φοράει)

  3. Anonymous12:17 pm

    I am french and very impressed by Nikos Floros work and your great article on him. I'd like to know if you could give me a way to contact him because I'd like to propose him to present his exhibition in Paris.
    If you could help me, don't hesitate to send me a mail :
    Thank you in advance