Brigitte Marionneau is a French ceramist, born 1958 in Anger. No matter how plain it may be, in her work lines are never hard or dead. Quite the opposite, they are touched by a vibrant firmness, a breath, betraying the ceramist’s constant desire to elevate the material to the heavens.
In certain architecture, the luminous black of basalt or ebony can serve to provide an extremely simplified reading of form, lending it its own intensity. Is it a cradle or a miniature tomb of an ancient Egyptian god, the recumbent head of a long-forgotten hero or a rock that arose from the very first? The mystery of these dense volumes, closed in on themselves, cannot be breached. There is a hidden life running through them, and the opaque mass attracts and seduces in the same way an enigma does. Slight furrows – is this a human or a geographical topography? – create waves on the surface of this skin/clay, just as does the couple’s hair in Brancusi’s ‘The Kiss’, bringing life to the monolith. The contrast between the different levels, alternating between smooth and textured, also contributes to animating the whole. I am a sculptor. In my practice, I use a white grogged clay. My pieces are carefully polished to obtain a velvety surface. After oxidation firing at 1000°C. I fire them again in a gas oven inside a closed metal container, such as a dark room. A bed of sawdust is deposited at the bottom of this muffle with no contact with the piece. Risen in one hour at 700°C the combustion of the sawdust causes a carbon black finish. I rarely sculpt clay in the mass. I like to build, construct and shape in the void, tuned in to the space that unfolds. The earth becomes the living boundary between the inside and the outside. When I seal the last piece of earth in a piece, I enclose the air. The air becomes an ally to build, an integral part of building my sculptures and architecture.