Safia Hijos

Artist - Nîmes

Evocating of a luxuriant and mysterious nature, Safia Hijos’ ceramics take place in interiors like invasive exotic plants that would grow far from any human surveillance. They invade a corner of a wall or the edge of a fireplace and impose themselves to the eye by their large volume and their shimmering colors.

Their presence subtly questions our relationship with nature and the lost control, while suggesting another way of inhabiting space. This invasive vegetation invites us to think about the boundaries established between the perfectly controlled comfort of an interior and the chaotic freedom of nature that we to want to tame, restrain, constrain. The ceramics of Safia Hijos are an ode to the resilience of nature, a cry of hope for its renewal in the face of countless and unspeakable human attempts to repress it, because despite all our efforts, despite our repeated maintenance, despite our environmental slips, nature will always have the last word.

Safia Hijos develops these different notions through every aspect of her work, from modeling to hanging. Her work only exists in the exhibition space with a subtle dialogue between the ceramic and its support. The exhibition becomes a work itself in the continuity of its realization which mobilizes a complex process of modelling, glazing and firing, and as many attempts and amendments representing a vast field of research.


Falling or climbing on the wall, growing in nooks and crannies, many of your works seem to imitate invasive vegetation in buildings. Why did you opt for this type of subject and this mode of exhibition instead of classic hangings?

It is a game between ceramics and space it inhabits with desire to act in less usual places, such as walls, ceilings and corners. My work exists only because the space is around and carries it. It is a game of back and forth between the work and the space. The title of the installation The Growing Forest is borrowed from Maurice Sendak’s children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” where the incongruous appearance of the forest as an irresistible force is a key moment.

Can you tell us more about your references or sources of inspiration?

I am slowly making my indoor garden, half plant, half animal, to hang on the walls or to put on a ledge. It’s about ornaments and everything’s mixed up here: the rococo of the Pompadour’s flower shop, the plant arabesques of the Grotesques, the bright lemons of Luca Della Robbia, the garlands of flowers and leaves adorning the facades of the cities, the scales and claws of the chimeras and even a video game, Sonic the hedgehog. Children’s literature with “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak is also present through the incongruous appearance of nature in the interior space and this sentence “And suddenly a forest grew in Max’s room” sounds in the installation.


Discover her works


Quelle technique utilises-tu pour la création de tes œuvres et quelle place tient cette technique dans l’ensemble de l’œuvre ?

Small and yet powerful, each piece is shaped and glazed for a long time, a figure of a nature in continuous growth although imperceptible to the naked eye, in a possible illustration of the Nietzsche oxymoron of “the slow arrow”. For Avenue du Roi, I used different glazes than usual in yellow, green and blue, which give a different material rendering. Fired at high temperature, the glazes give a luminous effect with a soft transition in the colours. A base of yellow which then tends towards green in transition and finally a deep, dark blue with yellow at the tip.

How did you approach the Avenue du roi project? Did you design pieces specifically for the venue?

I didn’t create anything for the walls, thinking that I would leave room for Mariano Angelotti’s paintings. So I created the work The Growing Forest which gives the impression of colonizing the fireplace ledge of the apartment. The piece is placed and assembled on this support to form a large work and create a feeling of abundance in the room. The plant inspiration is always present in the works presented at Avenue du Roi but they imitate the plants progression from the ground up. Made according to the same principle, the other works are placed in corners or angles.