'This is work that erases the boundary between art and design. Welcome to a sentient space – a wonderful world of unexpected creatures, mythologies and emotion.'
The artist Saelia Aparicio is one of the most vibrant presences to emerge in recent years. With a multi-disciplinary practice, her work spans large-scale mural drawings, videos, installations and sculptures, and delves into issues from climate crisis to housing problems, disease, equality and deliberations around gender. Unapologetic in her visual force, she often lingers on the human body and its messy reality, always with humour and depth.
A graduate of the Royal College of Art, a fellow of the Alexander McQueen foundation Sarabande and winner of the Jerwood Prize, she has exhibited in locations from the Kunsthaus in Hamburg to La Casa Encendida in Madrid and the Serpentine in London.
Though incontrovertibly an artist, she has nonetheless found a way to make strongly
functional work, without compromising its sculptural credibility. Her first design work, a plywood stool, emerged unexpectedly in 2017 from a drawing of a female figure folded in on herself. This was taken up by Gallery FUMI, who have continued to work with Aparicio to develop this part of her practice.
For her new exhibition at FUMI, called a sentient space, she is furnishing the gallery with furniture objects designed to bring a sense of both protection and entertainment to the home – so full of life it seems wrong to call them inanimate.
At a time of multiple tensions and global emergencies and anxieties, Aparicio wants to make us feel good. And in a world where anything can be made digitally, she wants to create real things that invite touch. “I hope people will use these works, and will embrace them” she says. In Aparicio’s view, there is always room for fantasy in the home, and she aims to reintroduce a child’s sense of play and imagination into the adult world.