Friedman Benda ‘I’m Not Shrimp’ in Los Angeles
From January 6 to February 4, 2023, Carmen D’Apollonio transforms Friedman Benda’He transforms his Los Angeles gallery into a surrealist landscape of playful characters in clay and bronze. Titled ‘I’m Not a Shrimp’, D’Apollonio’s first solo gallery exhibition in Los Angeles brings together contoured, sculptural lamps and flower pots, each personified with its own independent narrative through familiar organic forms. The works in the exhibition combine craftsmanship with functionality, emphasizing the artist’s sarcastic sensibility and recent experiments with gesture and materiality.
self taught ceramic Carmen D’Apollonio (Switzerland, 1973) worked as art director for short films and commercials in the mid-nineties. He started working with the artist Urs Fischer in 1996 and assisted him for over ten years. In 2006, she founded the fashion brand Ikou Tschuss (ikou means ‘let’s go’ in Japanese and tschüss means ‘goodbye’ in Swiss German) that combines modern textiles with traditional art. She founded her own studio in Los Angeles in 2014. designboom spoke to Carmen D’Apollonio to learn more about its upcoming exhibition at Friedman Benda. read our interview exactly below.
Carmen D’Apollonio, ‘A cup of tea, a sandwich and you’, 2022
all images courtesy of Friedman Benda and Carmen D’Apollonio | Photo: Marten Elder
Interview with Carmen D’Apollonio
designboom (DB): What first caught your interest in ceramics?
Carmen D’Apollonio (CDA): I started making Raku ceramics in Switzerland. The dirt on my hands felt so good that I couldn’t stop.
DB: How do you start working on a new piece?
CDA: I make some drawings and then try to somehow copy them onto the clay. Then I see what happens from there.
California, here I come, 2022
DB: Your exhibition at Friedman Benda includes sculptures in both clay and bronze. What appeals to you about each of these materials? What are some of the features you most appreciate in each?
CDA: Bronze pieces also start with clay, so the idea and formation are the same for both, but the finish quality is different for me. It’s almost painting-like with the bronze patina and surface quality, and with the glazing of the ceramics, everything happens in the kiln and is more mysterious.
DB: Many of your works have organic, almost anthropomorphic forms. How do you develop their shape? What are some of your visual references?
CDA: It’s really hard to narrow it down. There are all kinds of things that come to my ideas and drawings with visual references. Of course, there are many artists who influence me, but nature, architectural spaces and the body also affect me.
In the wild, 2022
DB: The title of the exhibition is ‘I’m Not a Shrimp’ and the titles of many of your works reflect the playful character of your designs. How do you find the titles?
CDA: I keep a list of words and lines I like in a book, like song titles and other things. I will pick and choose things, sometimes I free association from them.
DB: Your work in ‘I’m Not a Shrimp’ has a function, either as a lamp or as a flower pot. Do you start working on each piece with a predetermined function in mind? How does the construction process develop?
CDA: Usually yes. Before I start building, I know whether it will be a vase or a lamp. But things can change as I progress. Each piece has its own journey.
DB: What else are you working on right now?
CDA: I’m currently trying to figure out what my furnace’s BTUs are.
To the wild (detail), 2022