Porcelain on walls is not just for collector’s plates. Alice Riehl’s 3D wall-art is good evidence of that. This involute porcelain artwork transforms an impersonal wall into a lively statement. These gorgeous and timeless pieces decorate luxury apartments, villas and hotels around the world.
Your latest work, “Lignage” is a very personal reinterpretation of the family tree, what did inspire you?
Since the very beginning, my work has always been inspired by plants, trees, flowers, by the powerful movements and life found in nature. I want to make as if porcelain was literally coming out of the wall, in a suspended motion. This time I took interest in the concept of family tree, which is a very special combination of nature and life. Usually, it is a traditional representation of the family with the official links between its members, in drawings that people proudly show on the wall of their homes as a tribute to their ancestors.
I started working on this idea, trying to bring another dimension, to show the intimacy behind the links, and the quality of the relationship. As for most of my mural work, there are several levels of understanding. From a distance you see a general pattern, and when you get closer to the piece, you see more details that lead you further into the story.
I see some sort of French heritage, from the 18th Century or even Art Nouveau in your work, renewing the tradition of decorative elements inspired by nature. Is it something you claim?
Absolutely! I see my work as timeless, away from fashion trends. I have the chance to live and work in Paris, where my studio is located, and of course it has a strong influence on my artwork. But sensitivity to nature is universal. It is a common legacy. I gather a lot of images and ideas wherever I travel. And ultimately I work on projects in different countries with very different cultural backgrounds.
As an Artist, what is your creative process?
To me creation is a whole and a continuous process. It is a permanent collection of signs that will be integrated when the right time comes. There is no gap between design and making. I like the initial stage when I imagine my next work, but I have to put my hands into the clay to bring it to life. This is one of the things I like the most and besides, porcelain has very special properties that make it part of the creation process. For instance it keeps memories of shapes that reappear during firing. I like to see my work with porcelain as a partnership!
The vertical dimension is unusual for materials like porcelain. What lead you to propose 3D wall-art?
Traditionally, ceramists work mostly on bowls or table sculptures. Initially, I did it too. But I became somehow frustrated by the limitation required by the size of the kilns. As my work is complex and full of details, it was challenging to consider bigger pieces, so I started looking for ways to work on larger dimensions and very quickly the idea of mural installation came out. It took me several years to monitor the technical aspects and now I can work on almost every dimension indoor and outdoor. This allows me to propose more ambitious projects.
You have a prestigious list of customers and luxury projects around the world, like the Intercontinental Hotels, a “Chateau” in Margaux, or even the Princess of Monaco, how do you typically work on a project? Well, one of the interests of my jobs is that, like my pieces, every project is unique. Each time it is a new adventure, defined by the place and its inhabitants, whether it is residential, hospitality or corporate. Each space has its own atmosphere and constraints, and a hotel or a family does not have the same expectations. Bespoke is about adjusting to each scenario and find the rightness. Most of the time, I collaborate with an Interior Designer, an Architect, an Art Consultant, or an Art Gallery.
Bio - FROM SEVRES TO PARIS
Alice Riehl discovered porcelain in Sèvres during her training and it has become her medium of choice since then. She developed her personal touch by combining it with laces. The texture effect it produces has become the signature of her work. Alice entirely models with her own hands all the pieces, in her studio located in Paris. No mould is involved in the process, so each piece is unique, signed by the Artist and carries its own expression and its specific move.
Her inspiration comes from nature, under metaphorical and idealized shapes. She captures its impressions and impulses to relate an oneiric universe, and invite to a 3D journey into imagination and wondrous.
Credits - Boigontier, Yvan Moreau, Alice Riehl