Alice Riehl, Autoportrait de Couple, FR, 2022
By combining French decorative arts motifs, organic imagery, and contemporary motivations into visual poetry, French artist Alice Riehl’s porcelain wall murals exist in a liminal space between the natural and constructed worlds. Nurtured by the memory of her grandmother’s needlework, Riehl explores the combination of porcelain and lace, working the peculiar texture of this marriage into a personal signature of her botanical inspired ceramic works.
Seduced by porcelain’s softness, unpredictability, and capacity to reflect light, Riehl began training at French Ceramics Institute in Sèvres in 2003. The focus on hand modeling as her primary practice creates a freedom that opens expanding possibilities of expression, the relationship between the artist and the material becoming a fertile conversation. Porcelain has the peculiar property of distortion during firing, generating gentle shifts to the shape. This produces some complexity, but also breathes life into the unique sculptures.
Driven by the desire to widen her sculptural work, Riehl began translating her visual imagery into large scale murals in 2010. Heavily influenced by the large middle age tapestries prevalent throughout Europe, her works become a crossover between textile and porcelain. The surface detail of her representational subjects is substituted by grafted textures of lace and other delicate and disparate materials pressed into the soft clay resulting in an imagined form, something but familiar but surprising. Employing movement and asymmetry to compose imaginary panoramas, her works are composed of obvious, yet often abstract, references. Swaths of flora, botanicals, and oceanic life crawl across expansive surfaces equally fit for residential or public spaces.
Carefully considering each handmade detail, Riehl achieves a vivid harmony. Her amplified scale gives way to a surreal, visual cognitive experience. If perspective is needed to get the whole story, numerous details emerge when getting closer to the piece, from subtle touches of glaze to meticulously modeled elements, creating a sense of intimacy with the artwork.
Alice Riehl lives and works in Paris, France. Her works can be found in prestigious corporate and retail interiors, such as the magnificent Chaumet flagship high-jewelry store on place Vendôme in Paris, and the Chäteau Dauzac in the Bordeaux area in France.
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