Introduced in her childhood to the splendour of the island landscapes of Réunion, where she grew up, Madagascar and the Mascarene Islands, Sophie Lavaux has retained a fascination for the extraordinary gardens that nature alone can create, and that humans have not yet taken over. She began her first work on the slopes of the Piton de la Fournaise volcano, before crossing the oceans in 1977 to study drawing in Paris at the Arts Décoratifs. Specialising first in illustration, she soon returned to drawing – this time botanical drawing – for publication and published a number of works.
However, it was the shape, size and architecture of natural spaces that attracted her, and it was in sculpture that she was able to express her artistic leanings: “From the depths of the oceans to the mountain peaks, the landscapes of my childhood were grandiose. I have always felt a need to transcribe all these structures and colours, which are engraved in my memory and inspire me.”
Always maintaining an indispensable relationship with nature and seeking out the spirit of the place at each site, Sophie Lavaux now creates large terracotta sculptures, which are both fragile and resistant. They hold timeless redolence like the reminiscence of a world suspended between the real and the magical. These sensual, delicate and refined works, made of stoneware or unglazed porcelain, bear witness to a feminine essence with profoundly harmonious dimensions.
Born in 1956 in Château-Thierry (Aisne), Sophie Lavaux was six when her family moved to the island of Réunion. She lived there until she was sixteen and the exotic and luxuriant landscapes of the Indian Ocean have left their mark on her.
In 1977, she enrolled at the École Supérieur des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, graduating in 1981. She then practised drawing. Her illustrations were published in scientific and popular botanical publications.
In 2002, she left Paris for Uzès (Gard) where she met artists and ceramicists and discovered new creative techniques. While remaining attached to the theme of nature, she gradually turned towards sculpture. Working with stoneware and porcelain, she became a proficient ceramicist.
In Uzès, Sophie Lavaux says, she lives in a garden that contains her house and workshop.