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Sibylle Peretti
"Review: Sibylle Peretti:It Was Such A Beautiful Promise"

Enigmatic Narratives
By, Kathy Rodriguez



"Review: Sibylle Peretti's It Was A Beautiful Promise at Callan Contemporary" Gambit
June 4th, 2017

by, Eric Bookhardt

In ancient China they protected the wearer from dragons, but in Victorian England they were worn by mourning widows as symbols of tears. As subtle as moonlight, pearls can be calming, but their allure can make covetous people crazy. In this show Sibylle Peretti alludes to their transcendental charisma to evoke the mysteries of the natural world only, instead of actual pearls, these works are fashioned from a unique type of glass that mimics moonlight's elusive subtlety by shifting color in response to different settings and light sources -- so her usual subjects, misty landscapes with wild creatures and seemingly feral children, appear with a luminous effects that, along with silvery or crystalline highlights, accentuate their dreamlike aura.

A Nola-based native of Bavaria who has long maintained a second studio in Cologne, Germany, Peretti reflects that nation's ancient legacy of nature mysticism, a sensibility in which both children and wild creatures are seen as imbued with a kind of innocent wisdom that the adult world must respect. In a dreamy wall panel, Sophie, left, a young girl seems to be floating in magical mists, a mythic realm of enchanted children and mythic beasts where strands of pearls appear as if suspended in time and space. Related themes appear in The Land Behind, above, and in Silver Flowers, where a feral child lies in a field of magical silvery blossoms, an effect enhanced by the eerily color shifting glass that responds rather remarkably to changes in the ambient light. In Wintering, a fox appears like an apparition in a pale and snowy woods where silvery tree limbs embody the mythic aura of undisturbed wild places.

But the most emblematic work of all may be Urban Foxes, top, a cast glass sculpture in which two foxes appear intertwined like sleeping cats with a cluster of crystals nestled in the hollow between their bodies -- a scene that recalls the verses of Rainer Maria Rilke who once wrote of such creatures, “Where we see the future, it sees all time / and itself within all time, forever healed.” ~Bookhardt / It Was Such a Beautiful Promise: New Work by Sibylle Peretti, Through June 25, Callan Contemporary, 518 Julia St., 525-0518.

"Review: Sibylle Peretti: 'It Was Such A Beautiful Promise,' Urban Glass Magazine

April 2017

Hailey Clark

OPENING: Sibylle Peretti Plumbs Intricate Relationships In Nature With New Body Of Work

Sibylle Peretti a German-born artist who renders nature-inspired dreamscape will unveil a new body of work at her upcoming exhibition entitled "It Was Such a Beautiful Promise," where she explores a world of complex relationships and issues of survival. Exhibiting at Callan Contemporary in New Orleans from May 4 to June 25, 2017, Peretti’s glass panels are a continuation of her previous work, The Land Behind, where she explored the affects imagination has on creating space. Compared to her earlier work, which exhibits similar themes, the glass artist evolves her use of external symbols, (i.e., bees, vegetation, and crystals) to a different found object: pearls.

Throughout history, pearls have been passed down through generations as an heirloom. The precious bead is more than a jewelry piece to Peretti, forming a symbol of “hope, healing, and resolution” she said in her prepared statement. "In my exhibition 'It was such a beautiful promise' animals and humans are placed into these landscapes in where they share the desire to collect and gather pearls," Peretti explained in an email exchange with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet. "United in this mission they search for the promise of survival, purity, wealth and beauty which is embodied in the pearls. The work reflects on the fragile balance between weight, destruction and regrows and hope."

Desire is not the only emotive value to this new body of work. In her depictions of wildlife, pearls are rendered to look like food, shelter, or collectors items (like a squirrel with an acorn.) Gold, black, and blue beads do not take over the subdued images, but enhances the notion of symbiotic relationships between objects and individuals. Children are still a large theme in this collection of work and Peretti continues to explore connections between innocence and experience, as well as, vulnerability and strength in both children and animals. "The animals I use in this show belong to the species that utilize human dominated ecosystems," Peretti said. "They present the closest wildlife to us and we not only share the environment, but also same behavior and fate."

Peretti’s work is characteristically subdued and the addition of color was used to add another layer. The hues were created using dichroic techniques, where certain types of glass were incorporated to promote different colors depending on direction and light source. By adding this prismatic effect to her work, the artist created what she calls “magical matter” which will hopefully inspire viewers to enter into her dreamscape. “I always like to create places of wonder and mystery where everything is possible,” Peretti said.

This combination of beauty, adornment and yearning caters to Peretti’s complex vision of nature. Though glass, the artist is prompting viewers to look at their own relationship with nature through a different lens—like dreams and fairytales, anything is possible in the world of imagination.

Sibylle Peretti
"It Was Such a Beautiful Promise"
Opening May 4, 2017 - Closing June 25, 2017
Callan Contemporary
518 Julia Street
New Orleans, LA 70130
Tel: 504.525.0518
"Review: I Search in Snow," Gambit
April 14, 2014

D. Eric Bookhardt on new sculpture by Sibylle Peretti at Callan Contemporary.

The mysterious figurative glass sculptures in Sibylle Peretti's I Search in Snow expo at Callan Contemporary feature young children who seem far removed from the playfully animated kids we normally encounter. As otherworldly as creatures in myths and fairy tales, Peretti's children exist in dreamlike settings they share with sinuous plants and small animals. Deftly rendered in a pale, soft palette of translucent white and magenta kiln-formed glass, they evoke the fantastical inner life we experienced when we were very young, or perhaps the echoes of that magically boundless time that may reappear in our dreams. For Peretti, childhood and dreams are part of nature, and her work has long been inspired by the legends of "feral children" who lived outside human society, a phenomenon that melds modern notions of alienation and the traditional nature mysticism of Peretti's native Germany. Whatever the reason, her kids have the trancelike quality associated with hermits who communicate with wild animals, as we see in To Know a Hawk, where a near-catatonic boy exchanges meaningful gazes with a hawk while other birds seem to cluster on his chest and shoulders.

In Snowchild (pictured), a young girl sleeps as hawks gather around her, and here the child is inseparable from the wild world. Both works are crafted from white kiln-forged glass that looks almost like Carrera marble, giving them a classical aura that contrasts with their psychological vibe. In the wall pieces, children often appear connected to each other by sinuous magenta vines or silver branches, visual effects that reach their most elaborate fruition in her magical bell jar series. In White Hawk 3, two hawks appear under a grapelike cluster of icy clear glass, and only from certain angles can a child's face be seen in the dome's mirrored rear surfaces. In these and other works, Peretti's children suggest near-mythical creatures whose profound silences enable connections with wild nature and its equivalents in the deep recesses of the poetic imagination.

"Human Nature: A Conversation with Sibylle Peretti," Artvoices
October 2009

By Chris Herbeck

"Review: Sibylle Peretti and Mixed Media Works," Gambit
November 2, 2009

By D. Eric Bookhardt

Intimate. Beautiful. Disturbing. Such are the adjectives applied to the work of Sibylle Peretti, whose visions of children convey a quietly mysterious otherworld. Like a parallel universe, Peretti-world is part dream and part fairy tale, but it also resonates with a certain reality we sense without knowing exactly what it is, at least not at first.


Peretti resides most of the year in New Orleans but keeps an apartment in Cologne, in her native Germany, and has long been inspired by children who live with circumstances that cause them to establish their own unique relationships with the world, especially the natural world of the feral children who inspired her current body of work. While the idea of children raised by wolves and wild creatures is hardly new, occurring often in mythologies, Peretti's approach is more psychological, invoking perhaps the prehistory of human consciousness — those deeply subconscious dreams or memories of a more mystical union with nature that's latent within all of us.


The works on view are a mixture of freestanding porcelain sculptures, etched translucent wall panels, and glass, raindrop-shaped wall sculptures, all depicting children seemingly in a state of suspended animation if not repose. Otherworldly and dreamlike, their presence is somnambulistic, charismatically quiescent as they relate to each other or to birds, vines and brambles, the flora and fauna of the natural landscape. Like her earlier series of "silent children," inspired by the haunting expressions seen in photographs of youngsters in antique German medical texts, they explore the hidden side of childhood, a complex, contemplative world of dreams, imaginings and gestures. Of the earlier series, Peretti said, "They represent innocence, but also a kind of knowing, yet they cannot really say what they know so they speak their own wordless language." Much the same might be said of these feral children, whose silence hints at the delicate relationship between human civilization and the remaining wildness that lingers around us and within us.