During more than twenty years Alexandra Engelfriet has worked with the formable materials of the earth: clay, sand, earth, silt and adobe. Through physical interaction that involves the whole body she shapes the material and is herself shaped in the process. By working in rhythmical absorption, body and clay giving and receiving, an intimate relation takes shape between experience and earth in which both are transformed. Several filmmakers have filmed Alexandra Engelfriet at work, showing the performative aspect of her way of working.
In inside spaces Engelfriet creates installations using the different spaces as large moulds in which the material is shaped. Out in nature she works with matter and natural forces she finds on the spot. Projects at industrial sites, like ‘Marl Hole’, a project in Europe’s largest clay quarry in Stoke on Trent in 2009, bring new layers of content to her work by connecting it to different contexts and by collaboration with other artists
Recently fire has become another strong natural element that collaborates with her, solidifying her movement permanently into ceramic. In the project Tranchée (2013) in a sculpture park close to the city of Verdun, France, Alexandra Engelfriet used her body to shape 20 tons of clay in the middle part of a 50 m long and 2,5 meter deep dugout reminiscent of the World War I trenches of which the remains our found in the area. A kiln was subsequently constructed around the work which was then fired for a week.
For the 2017 ICF she will be collaborating with Frederick Olsen.
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