Savva studied fine art, taking Art in general, first at St. Martin’s School of Art (1948) and later at Heatherly’s School of Art in London (1949-1954). When he returned to Cyprus, he exhibited his work together with his friend R. Maude-Roxby at the British Council in Nicosia. In 1956, he travelled to Paris where he continued his education at the workshop of A. Lhote (1956-1959). In the summer of 1958 he remained at the workshop and worked in A. Lhote’s village Cliouscat near Aix-en-Province. He returned to Cyprus permanently in 1959, settling in Nicosia. The following year he founded the ‘Decision’ Gallery in Nicosia.
His body of work is one of the most characteristic and complete presentations of Modern Cypriot art. Savva was a creator with a richly elastic imagination, open to all kinds of contemporary trends in the art world, both inventive and unrealized, sensitive and bold, evident in pieces distinguished for their innovative essence. Without condemning established forms and traditional tendencies, he proceeded to search for his own personal style, incorporating new combinations and by using new materials; the process made easier by his assurance and equal efficiency in painting, sculpture, embossed works, reliefs and mosaics. He even used nails, wires and pins in his pieces in various ways, this proclivity coming out at the same time as the movement of the artists of the well-known group ‘Zero’ operating in Dusseldorf; in particular, the artist G. Uecker.
Savva’s artistic creations are distinctive for their assimilation of styles from different regions, always enforcing, however, a totally personal expressive language. He put emphasis on the structural elements of the figures and the soundness of the composition as well as the freedom and character of his space. Also highlighted is the powerful submission of colour, the co-existence of documented types and abstract features. In his most important efforts – works completed in England – he remains close to visual reality which lends tone and a certain kind of studied organization to his pieces, along with the combination of warm and cool colours and generalized characteristics. In works that he painted in Paris, Savva used the painting style of P. Picasso and former tutor A. Lhote, generally utilizing themes from Cubism and Fauvism. Upon his return to Cyprus, he managed to reinforce his own style and expression through the use of personal composites and new materials.
Savva experimented with his artistic endeavours, trying his work on cloth and calling these pieces ‘Textile Art’ or using pins as a way to present different interpretations of the space and the light, bringing forth some of the most interesting visual proposals. In sculptures he produced with fine wire, as well as in reliefs made with wire and wood, the versatile nature of his rich imagination is obvious. Similarly, in other works such as embossed plates with variegated pieces and reliefs made from cement, the artist combines the frailty of the forms with the simplicity of the composition, a result that is achieved wonderfully, not unlike the role of colour in league with the expressive power of the artwork as a whole.
Christoforos Savva, Couple, ca 1963, White cement sculpture relief, 124 x 36 cm