By Regina Connell.
We’ve long been huge fans of the category-defying Siba Sahabi, an Iranian/German artist working in Amsterdam. At first glance, her work looks like it’s made of clay: classical forms but with ribbed finishes that possess a simple, modern, slightly industrial crispness.
But no. Sahabi uses thin strips of wool felt and paper, often using a potters wheel, to create jugs, teapots and urns. Not only are her pieces reminiscent of classical forms, she often draws from ancient themes for her collections and series and in particular focuses on the influence of the Middle East on Europe. Scheherazade (lamps made of coiled colored felt strips coated with a layer of metallic paint on both sides), or Between Two Rivers – the ancient Greek translation “Mesopotamia”—the birthplace of the pottery wheel.
Her latest work extends her modern/ancient theme, but this time with hue. Blue Alchemy references the first man-made pigment that was developed as early as 2600 BCE. Since lapis lazuli, often used as a blue in ancient Egyptian art, was rare and extremely expensive, craftsmen looked for alternatives. The synthetic pigment they discovered (among the first synthetic pigments ever created) emerged from the production of glazed ceramics because the raw materials (silica, lime, copper, and alkali) were the same. That pigment became known as Egyptian Blue.
Her mesmerizing process is captured on video, and it’s well worth the watch, an exploration of time, space, and humanity that deepens the sense of peace and power evoked by Siba’s work.
All images via Siba Sahabi.
Video by Gerben Kruk with music by Machinefabriek & Banabila.