Artist of the Month: Sandra Shashou
We are delighted to introduce February’s Artist of the Month, Sandra Shashou. Sandra Shashou is a UK-based, Brazilian multimedia artist who has a diverse practice of sculpture, photography and painting.
Shashou studied at City & Guilds of London Art School with BA(Hons) in Painting. Shashou’s practice has taken a turn into sculpture with a series of positive works that reflect on major transformation through the fragility of love, which references bravery, courage and rebuilding after devastation. In recent years, her work has been exhibited internationally, including Art Miami, Art Southampton NY, Armoury Antiques NY, Art15 Olympia London, Sothebys, Christies and Phillips.
Shashou has been commissioned for several site specific large sculptures in the US and UK and her stunning work has been featured in several ARTIQ projects. Sandra lives and works from her studio in Primrose Hill, London.
We sat down with Sandra to find out more about her work and process. Read the interview in full below and catch her taking over our Instagram 26th Feb – 2nd March for ARTIQ Artist of the Month! Follow @ARTIQgram here.
How has your work developed over time?
My work has developed tremendously over the years. In 2001 I went to City and Guilds London Art School to study painting, I left with a Bachelor of Honours in Painting in 2015 and now my sculpture is as important to me as the painting. Although I was trained as a painter, my practice has turned into sculpture as with sculpture I can express myself in a more powerful way.
It is interesting because I sculpt like a painter in layers as opposed to a sculptor who works with bulk and taking away. I am a multidisciplinary artist working in such fields as sculpture, painting photography and video.
What artists have influenced your practice?
In painting I adore Jenny Saville, Peter Doig and Chuck Close. In sculpture Angela de La Cruz, Grayson Perry and Ai Wiewei. Video my hero is Ori Gersht.
How do you see your art as a part of our society?
The ‘Torn’ and ‘Precious Time’ paintings as well as the ‘Broken’ sculptures have a real positive message. I would like to create a happy response to the work, Torn and Broken are not the end…on the contrary, it is the start of something new and more beautiful and powerful. The alchemy of my creative process means that the assemblage of the fragmented shards create a new more empathetic whole.
The Japanese art of Kintsugi, repairing broken bowls with beautiful golden joints, became extremely popular in the 17th century when it was such a fashionable phenomenon that people were accused of deliberately smashing valuable pottery so it could be repaired with the beautiful gold seams of Kintsugi. This deconstruction and reconstruction of an object is also apparent in Jan Voorman’s works where he makes architectural repairs to ancient buildings with plastic brightly coloured Lego bricks. Although gaudy and new, the repairs add a new beauty, and give strength, to the old walls.
Grayson Perry said about his work The Huhne Vase, a portrait of the cabinet minister Chris Huhne, “I have smashed the pot and had it repaired with gold to symbolise that vulnerability might be an asset in relationships to such a person.” The visual destruction of the object implies tragedy, but its reassembled form suggests that it has taken on a new form and is reborn. I rearrange my broken ceramics and embrace their imperfections and flaws.
As a philosophy I treat breakage and fractures as part of the chance and fate of human life, part of our personal history, rather than something to disguise. I embrace vulnerability and authenticity, after all in truth that is how we reveal ourselves and really connect. Smashing these beautiful, precious objects is a central and essential part of my practice, it is the essence of what is in many ways a performance art work. The sculptures are the fruition of the act of breaking and smashing. The poet and founder of Surrealism, André Breton’s argued that mundane things presented in unexpected ways have the power to challenge reason. This realisation came to me after having made several sculptures, how integral the act of smashing is to me.
My previous work, ‘Torn’ paintings, involved tearing my canvases where I cut into my paintings, some left as open wounds and some sewn up, as scars. This series, called Torn, was a process of cutting and tearing and sewing with silk thread, where the vandalism was creating the beauty of the work, in a similar way to how Lucio Fontana slashed his canvases.
How does material/medium inform your practice?
I use silk thread to sew my ‘Torn’ painting and oil paints and precious porcelain Vintage china ware for my ‘Broken’ sculptures. I am continuously searching for materials such as exquisite vintage Russian Lomonosov fine bone teaware, Spanish LLadro ballerinas figurines, white Kaiser Bisque porcelain nudes, and recently Sevres ornaments, dating back to the early 1900s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.
What would you do if you weren’t an artist?
I would be a dancer, I loved dancing and have practiced Ballet, modern dance and Samba. I was born in Rio de Janeiro and grew up dancing in the street of Rio during carnival. In Brazil people wait all year for this amazing event.
What’s the last exhibition you saw that made an impact on you?
I saw the Glenn Brown exhibition at the Gagosian Mayfair gallery, it was superb. It may still be on, go see it!
Want to find out more about Sandra’s stunning work? Get in touch with our team at firstname.lastname@example.org