Ceramic artist Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye was born in Turkey (1938). She moved to Copenhagen in the early 1960s, first working at the Royal Copenhagen Porcelain Manufactory, then opening her own studio. She remained in Denmark until 1987, when she moved to Paris, where she currently lives. While in Denmark, she "put most of her effort into refining one shape, the bowl," remarks New York dealer/author Garth Clark. "Out of this, the most commonplace of all ceramic forms, she established a sense of identity and freshness, almost of ownership."
She created a unique synthesis of Danish understatement and the millennia of Anatolian art to which she is heiress.
Her pieces are in the permanent collections of more than 30 different museums all around the world.
Alev's stoneware is coil-built, utilising one of the oldest of pottery techniques; the potter's wheel is used merely for the final finishing.
Since the 60's she has created bowls. Variations on a deceptively simple theme, but if one overviews her career, there is a slow, but clear and gradual development discernible. She has achieved this through subtlety: a slight narrowing at the neck, the knife edge sharpness of the rim. These are all slight, but meaningful and considered, modulations that cumulatively set an Ebüzziya Siesbye bowl apart from the rest and joins it to a long succession of inspired bowls of the past. Her obsessive relationship with the bowl and her seemingly endless variations within a set of tightly controlled parameters, can only be explained psychologically in terms of a subconscious drive to remember, a will to construct a universal form which achieves a reductionist compilation of not only all she has lived, but also what she has inherited from her proud ancestral past.
The shape of Siesbye’s bowls provides an intriguing contrast to the glazes that she uses. Whereas the first are minimal, careful, considered and objective, the latter seem to simmer with latent heat. Siesbye has created some of the most superb, singing, color-saturated, matt glazes, colours that bring to mind the blue waters of the Aegean and the scorched earth and bright sun of Turkey.
In her most recent work, which will also be on view at Puls, a new Siesbye will emerge. Whereas her pots have been traditionally defined by their thin walls that resonate so cleanly between inside and outside, this thin wall is here replaced with a double wall. The colour is now a black glaze, shiny, reflective and dense. Gone too is the weightlessness, these vessels have a new sense of gravity. They pull towards the earth whereas her previous work reached for the skies.
No matter what direction her art takes, Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye is one of the most outstanding contemporary ceramists. William Hull, director emeritus of the Museum of Art at Pennsylvania State University describes her work as follows:
"When I look at Alev's work, I am reminded of a passage from D. H. Lawrence in his book 'Etruscan Places', where he explores the evanescent quality of a nightingale's song. He compares the words of great religions with its song and concludes that the bird is the winner. It is neither preaching nor teaching nor commanding nor urging; it is just singing. And there are Alev Ebüzziya Siesbye's bowls. They are just singing."