Marianna Blier is a sculptor born in Russia and based in Vienna, Austria, as well as Carrara, Italy. In 2016, Marianna started to work with marble in Carrara. And since the first day, it has been impossible for her to leave it.
“Marble captured my soul,” says Marianna. “To me, marble is not just a material but also a co-creator that guides me in my work. I begin an artwork with an idea, try to communicate this idea to the stone, and then listen to how it responds. Through this mutual relationship of working together, the stone and I speak, we discuss, and even argue. In this way, my image for an artwork can change significantly from the initial sketch to the final work. Often, the first image comes to me in my dreams. But then as I work on the image with the stone, and I hear the marble, a flow of images takes flight, and the artwork can become visualized and materialized differently than I could have ever imagined.”
Inspired by the art of Antiquity and the Renaissance, Marianna’s works are a contemporary interpretation of classical imagery. As she perceives and transforms these images, the work becomes layered with symbolic messages and philosophical meaning.
The central reflection in Marianna’s art is about the nature of the act of creation. All things already exist in the stone itself. And it is through the creative act that the sculptor discovers the material and explores its memory. Thus, to sculpt the marble is to “separate” the light from the darkness, and shape from chaos, to reveal what images may be hidden within the stone.
Several of Marianna’s recent sculptures reflect on this process of creation, including her Genesis, St. Sebastian, and Meduse, with each artwork not only changing but also challenging the traditional iconography of their classical inspiration.
In St. Sebastian, for instance, Marianna reflects on the image of the Christian saint who was bound to a tree and shot with arrows. She resurrects his male body in the form of a female body, removes the arrows of prosecution that enter into the body, and replaces them with rays of light that extend out from the body. The sculpture represents the significance of transformation and symbolism of transcendence in the story of St. Sebastian.
And in Marianna’s Meduse di Carrara, a contemporary interpretation of the Greek myth about a beautiful woman with a dreadful gaze, the snakes of Medusa’s hair become the wires from marble-cutting machines. Whereas the Greek Medusa could turn living creatures into stone with her gaze, the Meduse di Carrara is a portrait of the sculptor herself as she creates art that is full of life with her gaze.
Marianna Blier’s sculptures and paintings can be found in private as well as public collections in Austria and across the world.