Born in Vereeniging, South Africa in 1969, Kleoniki Vanos’s life view has been affected by the experience of living in a country which went from one ruled by apartheid to a democratic post-apartheid society. Additionally, her Greek heritage has also influenced her philosophical approach to her work and to life in general.
Vanos uses the medium of photography to produce abstract images with a serene, meditative feel. Hers is a quest to try and capture the unconscious, as well as the representation of small moments of insights into the existential questions we all grapple with. Commenting on her approach to photography, Massimiliano Bisazza, curator for Statuto13 Gallery in Milan states that “a kind of spiritual enlightenment pervades the photographic work of Kleoniki Vanos. Ascension, transformation and awareness that the change inherent in all of us exists only if it is the result of a kind of acceptance, not passive but proactive and necessary part of every individual”.
In the collaborative exhibition entitled Bending Light (2016) with the glass sculptor Lothär Bottchar, the artists explored the various human reactions, both physical and philosophical, to light through the mediums of photography and glass sculpture. The Artklop Festival exhibition statement (2016) refers to her artistic practice in this instance as “… us[ing] light as a metaphorical brush, literally painting with light in her photographic images”. Vanos also states “that we can begin to expand our world view on light by considering light not only as a way to illuminate objects, but an object in itself; in the absence of light, an artwork becomes about “seeing”.
Vanos has participated in several national and international exhibitions, most notably having her work included as part of the Ultra Color Collection in the Fifth Annual Exposure Awards held at the Musee du Louvre, Paris, France in 2015.