It was during a theater course taken by my sister that I first met Anne.
We met again a few years later, when Anne had become an actress … “an incredible job when you’re acting, but so hard and cruel when you’re not acting,” as she explains so well in this interview. It was during one of these uncertain moments that Anne decided to look for emotional desire elsewhere, and it was in the land that she found it!
I had the chance to witness the birth of a vocation, which her pieces can testify to.
This interview is, for me, an opportunity to talk to Anneagma about her art and her inspirations, and to gauge her perspective on a theme that has inspired me for a very long time: constraint in art.
Mélissa Burckel: Hello, Anne, how are you?
Anneagma: Quite well, considering the circumstances.
Three words to describe what we have been living since March 18th?
Fog. Chaos. Tragedy.
How did you become a ceramist?
By vital need. To be in harmony with myself. I no longer wanted to and could no longer depend on the desire of others. A few years ago, I was an actress. It’s an incredible profession when you practice it, but so hard and cruel when you’re not acting. It’s a profession where you are chosen. So, I took the opposite approach, deciding that I would be the one who would choose by becoming the creator of my own life. Instinctively, it was to the earth that I went. My first contact with this material was truly an upheaval, and I weigh my words: it definitely changed my life!
You quickly found your artistic personality … your pieces are immediately recognizable. What was the starting point of your creative process?
I think one thing that was very important to me was time. I was very lucky to have time.
I had been training in the lathe technique for months. After that, I wanted to feel the earth, to be in the feeling, in the matter. Working with clay is very sensual. I believe that I was not afraid to give way to my unconscious. I needed the pieces to tell something. So, I went into a very instinctive work, and into myself. Today, my creative process has evolved a lot. I no longer see my pieces and my work in the same way: I try to go to the limits of the earth. I like to work under constraint, because it forces me to push my thinking and my know-how further. It’s very exciting! I have the feeling that it’s an infinity, that there are a multitude of possibilities. I tell myself that I will never have time to do everything! (laughs)
I wanted to discuss with you the notion of constraint in art. Until now, you shared a studio with other artists, and you worked, for example, with an imposed oven size: has this type of constraint modified your creative process?
Yes, of course it has. As I said before, constraint is ultimately a driving element for me. It’s interesting not to get around the difficulty, but, on the contrary, to try to cope with it and overcome it. The creative process is then the central point of the work: questioned and dissected, it is pushed further. In the end, this allows us to surpass ourselves. The creations are all the more complex, which is not necessarily obvious even if, in my opinion, it is very important and, therefore, more interesting.
You have realized a collaboration with Dior Maison. Did you receive very precise specifications or simply a theme to respect?
I was given complete freedom in my design. The trust was total. I can never thank them enough for that. When Dior Maison called on me, I believe that my pieces resonated at that time with the Dior collection that was being prepared and which had the particularity of having been partly made in Morocco.
What were your working method and research directions?
I studied the history of this great house that is the house of Dior. I was totally under the spell of the pure lines, the supple curves, and very modern for the time. That inspired me a lot. I kept thinking about the curve, the curves, almost as if I was designing a garment. It was very pleasant. What was very important to me, beyond always being sincere, creating pieces that started from me and not doing something to try to please, was to create a piece that was elegant.
You also give ceramics classes in a Parisian workshop: is the transmission of know-how essential for you?
Yes, a thousand times yes! I have been passed this know-how, so why shouldn’t I do the same? You have to have great humility in front of the earth. So much has been achieved thanks to it for centuries, and it will continue after us. We are here to explore, but also to transmit so that it can continue. It’s so enriching from every point of view. Humanly and artistically. It’s an exchange.
You work with stoneware, earthenware, and porcelain. Does the choice of material play a major role in your creative process? Are you often in search of other materials?
Completely. These are three distinct families and they differ in their properties. For example, you will be much more inclined to go for earthenware if you want to make a sculpture. Each clay tells something. To answer your second question, I think that one day I would like to work with metal very much.
Your work reminds me a lot of Cocteau’s universe. Where do you draw your inspiration: in literature, cinema, theater?
Funny, I was told the same thing a few days ago.
My plays often appear to me in dreams. For me, the unconscious holds an enormous part in creation.
I believe that I draw my inspiration from my personal history. I’m lucky to have a double culture because of my Franco-Ivorian mix, and as I get older, it’s a very important thing that defines me as a being and in front of others. I know that every piece that appears to me in my dreams comes from there.
If you could make a piece without any technical constraints (e.g., oven size, material), what would it look like?
Like a sculpture you could fit into! A sculpture in which you could walk around, touch the material, caress it.
I am quite unable to say what it would look like, but I would like it to be a sensory and sensual experience. A moment of poetry, as it is missing so much in life.
You use Instagram to disseminate your pieces: what impact does this network have? Has it contributed to the success you are experiencing today?
It has a huge impact. It’s a very powerful network. Of course, it has helped to spread the word about my work and it continues to do so!
Can you give us three accounts to follow?
What are your next projects?
I normally take part in a group exhibition at the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin, which has already been postponed twice and will take place in the spring. Above all, I want to continue to create no matter what.
Thank you, Anne!
It was a great pleasure for me, my dearest Mélissa!