Unveiling the Power of Colour: Exploring Decay, Transformation, and Found Objects

Lydia Delikoura is a mixed-media artist based in Athens, Greece, where she was born in 1994. Through her art, she explores unpredictability, colour and the ephemeral nature of existence. From initial paper sketches to the multilayered complexity of her completed works, Delikoura’s creations reflect a dynamic interplay of inspiration drawn from decay, transformation and the hidden meanings found in her surroundings. From simple everyday objects to timeless symbols of antiquity, her works capture the essence of fleeting moments, as well as processes and cycles that are centuries in the making.

Delikoura has studied at Camberwell College of Arts and Goldsmiths, both in London, and is currently studying marble sculpture at the School of Fine Arts in Panormos on the Greek island of Tinos. Her diverse educational experiences infuse her work with a variety of influences, creating a fusion of traditional and contemporary elements in her work.

Delikoura gravitates toward discarded and found objects, recognising their capacity to encapsulate beauty in an unconventional way that aligns with the ethos of Arte Povera, the avant-garde Italian art movement that celebrated the use of humble and unconventional materials.

Her art pays homage to collected fragments – decayed flowers, lumps of concrete or resin, consumer packaging, even cicada cocoons and hedgehog spines – each a testament to the ever-evolving moments and cycles that drive her practice. Her creations often spring from an immediate connection to particular objects, their colours or states of being: “It all started with a fragment that I found at a market – it became about the cycle of decay and decomposition and how I can bring it to life in a different way.” 

Delikoura also finds resonance with the methodologies of American artist Agnes Martin, who used the grid as a framework for exploring themes of happiness, innocence and beauty. The grid is a tool for Delikoura too, often applied to the surface of a new work and facilitating the connection between disparate elements and contexts. The influence of Korean artist Park Seo-bo is also evident in Delikoura’s practice, as she embraces the concept of catharsis through repetition. 

As Lydia continues her artistic exploration, her focus shifts to the motifs of marble sculptures, a recent inspiration drawn from her time in Elefsina, an ancient Greek town in the suburbs of Athens that has woven its historical threads into her evolving narrative. These artworks explore an intricate dialogue between past and present, reflecting the relationship between the ancient sculptures and fragments of Elefsina’s archaeological site and the foundation of the modern industrial port which sprung up around them.  Lydia’s interest lies in the dynamic interplay between the static nature of these relics and the ceaseless movement of industrial materials, creating a visual symphony within the textured, urbanised environment. The paradoxical ephemeral quality of animal and decorative fragments on the canvas mirrors the intangible essence of the Eleusinian mysteries, invoking the ancient narratives of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone. Through the juxtaposition of antiquity and industry, Lydia endeavours to capture the layers of time and movement in Elefsina’s evolving landscape – a growth marked by the broken windows of abandoned factories and the new graffiti that in turn become focal elements of the composition. The symbolism embedded in hedgehog spines, referencing both archaic elements and the permanence of impermanence, adds another layer to the rich narrative, culminating in paintings that transcribe a compelling dialogue between the enduring echoes of the past and the pulsating rhythm of the present.

Elefsina, Greece. 2023

The ephemeral quality inherent in Lydia’s works is rooted in her fascination with the transient nature of her surroundings. Whether it’s the play of light on everyday objects or the graceful decay of a fallen flower, Lydia’s paintings serve as a poignant reflection of life’s transitory essence. Her artworks exist in a state of limbo, a perpetual “in between” that lends them an airy and weightless quality that resonates with viewers.

“My drawings and paintings are always in a state of limbo.”

Lydia Delikoura’s artistic journey is an exploration of unpredictability, colour, and the ephemeral nature of existence. From her early paper sketches to the multilayered complexity of her mixed-media works, Lydia’s creations reflect a dynamic interplay of inspiration drawn from decay, transformation, and the hidden meanings found in her surroundings. From simple everyday objects to the timeless symbols of antiquity, her works capture the essence of the fleeting moments as well as centuries-old cycles.

Lydia with her work at a marble quarry in Tinos where she studied marble sculpture, 2023
  • Date: June 20, 2023
  • Photography: Lydia Delikoura