Sophie Réato is a contemporary ceramic artist who creates a dreamlike, almost malicious universe with her work. She works with raku, a Japanese earthenware, which is constantly moving, rotating and under construction. In her extraordinary garden there are many poetic decorative pieces: flowers, animals, giant fruits and kimonos with elegant patterns.
Sophie discovered her affinity with clay when accompanying her sister, also a ceramic artist, to a training course in pottery. From this experience was born a passion that became her true vocation. “The moment when my hands touched the mud was a real snap. I thought: This is what I want to do!”
After creating several series of animal sculptures, the artist decided to populate her universe with other animals and to extend to the vegetal world. “I wanted to make flowers: poppies and sunflowers, to present them as jewelry… garden jewelry.”
Random happiness (“Le bonheur dans le hazard”)
The ceramic artist uses the techniques and material known as raku (“chance happiness” in Japanese). The method has been used in Japan since the sixteenth century, especially in the design of bowls for the tea ceremony. Incandescent parts are baked between 900 and 1,000°C, and then placed in a sawdust bath. Under heat shock, the enamel is naturally covered with a grid of fine cracks. Fumigation techniques then allow the artist to blacken the non-enameled parts, and create glossy, pearlescent and metallic effects.
This direct confrontation with the material perfectly suits Sophie Réato’s style. She works with fire in real alchemy. “It’s a strange marriage between materials and forms that bond and stain to wrap us in their tender message.”
Her latest creations, a series of yukatas (summer kimonos), reveal enchanting ethnic and floral motifs. These ceramic sculptures seem to equally belong to the world of childhood as in a museum of antique collections. A game of scale and material between the sculpture and the traditional dress is in evidence, as well as the lightness of the wind that seems to inflate the clothing and the inert terracotta. All this is proof that the works of Sophie Réato testify, if not to a philosophy, to a deep sense of humor.
“My hope is that, through my ceramic art creations, my emotions interact with the souls of all those that pose a look and decide to take with them some joy, some happiness.”