Born in Sydney, of Greek-Cypriot parents, I relocated to London in the mid-1990s on award of a prestigious Anne and Gordon Samstag Foundation art scholarship. This scholarship led to an associate research post at Goldsmiths, University of London. In the years following, I have developed a strong international audience for my art practice and continue to live and work transnationally between London, Sydney, and Nicosia.
There are many points of focus within my practice. These include aesthetics, memory, politics, the body, spatiality, identity, presence and absence, high art and low art, colour and systems logic. Coupled with this diverse terrain, the expansion of painting in the age of the post-medium condition has opened my practice to a broader experiential zone of physical and sensory immersion. While remaining open to new influences, I seek to create experiential objects and environments to captivate, transform, and transport the viewer with works ranging from small free-standing objects to immense multi-sensory, kinetic installations. Often manifesting in series, and drawing inspiration from multiple sources, the work often conflates manual detail with colour, optics and system logics, and, in this, conjoins the tangible with the abstract.
In addressing arts function and mode of reception the work has evolved in form, media, and rationale. It involves a rich spectrum of colour, systems, and optical play to highlight multi-variances across different domains—e.g., sensorial, spatial, material, and experiential. To draw on an old adage, colour works in mysterious ways. Colour lends a visceral immediacy that predates and transcends language. Everyone is affected by colour—immediately, and profoundly. In this respect, it is the viewer’s participation and activation that, for me, completes the work. The experience remains open, subjective, democratic, and immersive. The sensory and perceptual response agitates the senses, blurring boundaries between the known and the imagined, between the physical and the ephemeral. My work has sought to dissolve ideologies, classifications, and pedigree. In this, hierarchies designating private and public are levelled in a push to create a unique art animal.
I have completed numerous large-scale installations for the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Toi Art Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles; Leeds Art Gallery, UK; and the Southbank Centre in London. Major commissions include NIKE Inc. (San Francisco), Selfridges (London), FV Flatiron (Brisbane), Deutsche Bank, and the Macquarie Group (Sydney). Selected group exhibitions include Divided Worlds, Adelaide Biennale of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia (2018), Call of the Avant-Garde: Constructivism and Australian Art, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2017); Superposition of Three Types, Artspace, Sydney (2017); Quicksilver, Samstag Museum, Adelaide (2016); Paradigm Store, Howick Place, London (2014); Optical Mix, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (2014); The Edge of Painting, Piper Gallery, London (2013); There was a world once, Märkisches Museum, Witten, Germany (2012); Colour Bazaar: Nine Contemporary Works, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2011); To Make a Work of Timeless Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2008), Adventures with Form in Space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2006); Visual Music, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2005); Triennale-India, New Delhi (2005); EAST International, Norwich University of the Arts, UK (2003); Newcontemporaries98, Camden Arts Centre, London (1998); and Primavera 1998, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1998).
The first monograph on my work, Nike Savvas: Full of Love Full of Wonder, by Rachel Kent, Patricia Ellis, and Stephen Little, was published by Black Dog Publishing, London, in 2013, and was launched during my first survey exhibition titled Liberty and Anarchy at the Leeds Art Gallery, UK.