Siesbye is known for her minimalist ceramic vessels glazed in saturated pigments with delicate detailing around the mouth. Her modernist works resemble ancient artefacts, whose simple design lends her pieces a unique, timeless quality. She makes around 30 bowls a year, many of which are produced in vibrant colours which resonate through the shapes and intensify the forms. Siesbye’s works are the result of a life dedicated to kneading clay to the correct texture, adjusting enamel recipes to obtain the perfect colour, refining curves, bellies, and long lips, to harmoniously balance her artworks.
Siesbye studied sculpture at the Istanbul State Academy of Fine Arts between 1956 and 1958. She worked in a ceramic factory in Höhr-Grenzhausen in Germany before moving to Copenhagen in 1963 to work as a free artist and designer at the Royal Copenhagen, Denmark’s Royal Porcelain Factory, in the stoneware section. In 1969, she founded her own studio in Copenhagen and had her first solo exhibition 2 years later. Siesbye moved to Paris in 1987 where she currently resides.
While the time spent in Scandinavia is undoubtedly an important ingredient in Siesbye’s work, the purity of her forms has different origins than that of Danish minimalist ceramics. It has its roots in the bold, essential forms created by Anatolian cultures from the 6th millennium BC until the 13th century AD, including Hellenistic and Roman glass and metal vessels and Byzantine sewing thimbles. This stillness and monumentality of Anatolian art informs Siesbye’s relation to works of other cultures.
As well as her delicate forms, Siesbye is known for her colours. She developed her iconic blues in the 1970s and 80s, following a difficult time in her life and now produces a range of striking colours, particularly reds, yellows and pinks, which are all present in the current exhibition. Her high-fire glazes are no less accomplished, each one taking two years to be fully developed. Ultimately, the finished bowls combine numerous elements, giving them an aura and vibration that creates a sense of dynamism - a certain metaphysical quality - that supersedes aesthetic beauty. Her practice exemplifies the notion of communion between a craftsperson and their material.
Siesbye’s work can be found in the permanent collections of over 34 museums worldwide such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. She has received countless accolades such as the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France and the Knight of Dannebrogordenen in Denmark.
The exhibition is accompanied by 'Studio Ceramist' (2007), a video work by video artist Ali Kazma, which records Alev at work in her Paris studio.