The original artwork created by Sheila Hicks is a special installation that was especially designed for the Grand spiral staircase at the Château of Chaumont-sur-Loire, commissioned by the Centre-Val de Loire region.
“The ‘satellites’ hanging to the sides of the Château’s Grand spiral staircase resemble constellations of an interstellar, interplanetary garden. The white freestone has been weathered over time and its aged colour allows it to interact freely with the infinite colours of the threads.
I have always been inspired by a refusal to yield to repetition, to never recreate something I’ve already done. I seek to continually invent something new, and each time to create something that doesn’t exist.
One of the keys to this thirst for ongoing renewal can be found in the contradictory worlds of my childhood: that of the general store owned by my grandfather on my mother’s side, where I would be spoilt for choice between the many things on display, and my paternal grandmother Ida’s farm, which was much more simplistic, and where everything had to be constantly made from nothing. These opposing influences were one of the keys to my ongoing obsession with creation.
I love created colours that are not naturally present in nature. I am constantly looking to invent brand-new discoveries. And so these colourful satellites installed on the walls proffer shock and surprise.
In my eyes, all colours can go together. It just depends on the quantity of different layers of matter, the quantity of light and the density of the shadows left behind by the rays of colour, intertwined silk or linen thread, pulled tight, making their presence known.
From the colour an energy is born, a spiritual power, a feeling of peace.
The colours certainly generate pure emotion and speak directly to the soul.” Sheila Hicks, from an interview with Chantal Colleu-Dumond
Sheila Hicks uses thread, fibres and their colours with phenomenal skill, just as a painter uses his pigments.
For her, each creation is a journey, an exploration of the wonderfully colourful volumes and monumental ropes that come together to create a vast array of natural and synthetic fibres, that she takes everywhere with her and with which she invents her immensely poetic worlds.
Monumental installations or delicate collages and weaves of wool or linen all come from this talented artist’s same colour science. This artist has in-depth knowledge of all the practices using yarn, that she discovered in the most atypical places, while travelling in search of inspiration.
Sheila Hicks, born in 1934 in Hastings, USA; has been living and working in Paris since 1964. Through her participation in the longstanding tradition of modern art which combines abstract art with a range of other disciplines, American-born artist Sheila Hicks lends fresh interpretation to the mainstream artisanal textile tradition, blurring the boundary between painting and sculpture with her fabric creations. After studying under Josef Albers at Yale, she began to work with fibres during a trip to South America from 1958 to 1959, where she was able to study the hand-woven fabrics of Columbia, Chile, Peru and Bolivia. Fibres then became the material of choice in her work which, shaped by her travels and the cultures she has explored, she sees as a process that ends in a dynamic interaction between her pieces and the beholder, as well as with the architecture in which her exhibits are on display.