Lucie de Syracuse‘s Cabinet of Curiosities is far from being conventional – filled with images inspired by Dark Romanticism, and exploring diverse taboo topics capable of making you really uncomfortable, her glass globes strike you with their ability to combine transcendence with eeriness.
A self-taught creator, Lucie has never attended an art school, but has, however, obtained her degree in French literature. It is during her studies – focused on Dark Romanticism – that she developed a passion for the curiously sublime eccentricity that she would later employ as the style of her works.
How did you first come up with the concept of your Cabinet of curiosities?
In the beginning I didn’t really think about creating a cabinet of curiosities, as what is important to me is to display used and broken objects. I am constantly in search of the right shape, material, idea, and representation – it is, above all, an artistic work. The fact that it’s contained in an old curved glass globe makes it possible to associate such depiction with a cabinet of curiosities.
What’s the recurring theme of your works? What’s its significance for you personally?
The recurring themes of my works are fantasticality, Dark Romanticism, irony, and all the topics that go alongside with humanity, love, disappointment in love, death and its taming, sickness, quest for spirituality, power, dreams and nightmares, etc. I am open to exploring everything.
Which of your works is your favourite and why?
I’ve always loved broken or wrecked objects. I’ve always loved broken or wrecked human beings. For example, when I came across the small doll that would later become the central piece of the composition of Esprit des bois (in English: “Spirit of the woods”), it had a scalped head, no hair, no eyes, part of its scull missing – it was fascinating!
Its eyes were there at the bottom of the head: two blue eyes made of beautiful sulfide. The doll would not later have them in their usual place, but in a small basket next to it hanging from one of the bars of the chair in which it was sitting.
The doll sees differently, and surely more deeply than I ever could. Its spirit escapes through the crack and reigns over the entire forest. And its extraordinary sight does not miss any moment of life or death, of distress or remorse, instantly going wherever it is called. It cares, it consoles, it saves all that can be saved. I really like this sculpture.
Does your creating “morbid” scenes and images rather than cheerful ones mean that you see the world that way?
No, not at all! I don’t see morbidity in what I create. I see life the way it is. Perhaps it’s just an illusion, but I see it in its entire beauty. I magnify death – I want it to be full of life, too.
I make room for traumatic experiences, or disturbing ones, but it is also important for people to talk about them more easily. There are always taboos, things we don’t want to see, things that make the humankind angry. I use the fantastic to make the most hidden secrets visible. In my point of view, the course of life is disturbing in its fragility, and my sculptures naturally reflect it.
Do your family and friends find your works bizarre?
Yes, of course, and I understand them. My father, in particular, doesn’t like at all the clay heads that I create: those are grotesque heads with big mouths, and very naïve expressions. Otherwise, my family and friends can now see how their own history is revealed in my sculptures – in other words, they have learnt to observe them.
Do you create your works at home or in a studio? What does your workplace look like?
I work in a workshop – a very small one. It is in my garden. There are many people, and rather little space. It’s like chaos with a little order: porcelain canopies, old decorations, taxidermied animals, tools, books, old photos, and bridal globes are all mixed up, but each one has its number! This is the place where I feel good.
What are your future plans regarding your art? Any particular projects you are working on at the moment?
I am organising an April exhibition at Yvonne in Bordeaux. I am also preparing an exhibition in Paris in the gallery Cabinet des Curieux, and working on an exhibition for libraries for the year 2020.
Photo credit: Miguel Ramos
Interested in learning more about Lucie de Syracuse or getting in touch with her? Here is where you can find her: