As modern historians point out, “ancient civilization is a civilization of initiations”. For millennia, the mysteries had ensured the cultural integrity of this civilization through certain types of initiations.

The humanist-oriented art of Volodymyr and Tetiana Bakhtov is an attempt to unveil the secrets of the archaic mysteries by artistic means. They create artistic versions of ancient initiations and rituals inspired by archaeological evidence and written historical sources.

“Terra-theatre” is a kind of performance that stems from the ancient Greek notion of the mouldability of the world, the human body as its absolute embodiment. It is a malleable reconstruction of myths and mysteries, of which the verbal information was known only to the initiates. They are rooted in the “collective subconscious” of the European community as major archetypes at the foundation of common cultural identity.

Before the performance starts, volunteers are transformed into living “sculptures”. Fabrics soaked in liquid clay of various dyes are draped into “ancient Greek” outfits over the bodies colored with the same earthy hues. They imitate ancient terracotta or marble sculptural groups. The performance takes place in the historical landscape of Olbia, the ancient Greek polis in southern Ukraine. Volunteers act out a certain myth or legend arranging themselves into “classical compositions”. The whole performance is recorded in photos and videos.

Among the myths incarnated – in the most literal sense – are the Amazonomachy, the Centauromachy, the Gigantomachy, and the Elysium myth, as well as “The Animation of Phidias” and “Olbian Mysteries” projects. Artifacts created in this technique emanate special energy and vitality, plastic expressiveness, and interpretive power. Terra, Latin for “land”, is the constituent of such words as terracotta, territory, terrace, etc.