Bols de France

Bowls by Anne-Soline Barbaux and Sylvie Enjalbert at Galerie Terra Delft, May 18 – 29 June, 2019

An undeniable and universal expression of ceramics culture is the pot, a subject found far back in ancient cultures and in which the functional and the decorative aspects merge. In a pot, the signature and the cultural identity of the maker are visible. The size, the skin, the use or non-use of color or glaze: the pot tells the story of its origin. The maker’s hands are sometimes even tangible as an ineradicable and perhaps unintentional signature.
The bowls, or bols, by the French artists Anne-Soline Barbaux and Sylvie Enjalbert are contemporary carriers of ceramics culture. The modest means used by both artists to leave their signature on their work show a direct connection to the past. The ostensible simplicity of these pots is very moving, delivering purity: the pot in a variety of appearances.
Anne-Soline Barbaux’s pots are turned very thinly on the wheel. After building and creating, there follows a process of removing – she cuts away forms. These openings are abstract patterns which increase the perspective despite the modest volume. The matte-colored and contrasting interiors enhance the monumental character, while at the same time the pots are light and fragile. The fragility is transformed into strength through the use of the muted colors juxtaposed on the outside and inside. Barbaux has developed a powerful language of forms within a modest subject and format.
Sylvie Enjalbert varies the volumes of the pots which she constructs from rolls of clay. She is inspired in her work by the universal aspect of the pot. Her training as a ceramic artist was in Chili, from 2005 to 2009, where the pre-Colombian culture inspired her greatly. Her travels to China and Japan strengthened the realization that worldwide, the pot is a representation of the maker’s identity. Enjalbert’s pots are made of unglazed earthenware, varying in size and finished using reduction firing. The archaic forms are strong, well-balanced, and subtly detailed.
Ceramics is a bearer of lost cultures around the world. Clay has been everywhere, at all times; baked clay is ceramics. This culture of ceramics continues on apace.