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Poppy Luley
Poppy Luley, yesterday, 2023, ceramic, ca. 17x15x11cm
Poppy Luley, yesterday, 2023, ceramic, ca. 17x15x11cm
Poppy Luley

"My ceramics have been accompanying me throughout my studies.
Although originally I had been focusing on 2-D animation and film, working with ceramics seemed be a ongoing part of my progression.
In comparison to the extremely fleeting work of animation, The ceramic sculptures have a more enduring nature and seem to be a counter part of the constant change that is the essence of my animation. It seems to be something in life that I can manifest, like a screen shot of my current state. This is what fascinates me in this process.
I am able to freeze a moment, like fossilising a state of mind into a sculpture. The process of making these ceramics is very flowing, dynamic and intuitive. My hands are my tools, which make moulding the clay a very intimate procedure."

"I find it interesting that playgrounds are places people have created for pure pleasure. Fun is their only function, their only 'use'. Playgrounds are omnipresent and timeless. Everyone is familiar with the typical playground objects.
The elating gut feeling when rocking back and forth or sliding makes you want to feel the sensation again and again. Like Sisyphus one climbed up the stairs of the slide and slid down again and again.
It was worth the climb, it was all about that 3 second adrenaline rush.

The playground is a symbolically interesting site. It represents childishness, lightheartedness, cheerfulness, romance and so much more. We crave these things growing up, they seem to dwindle with the passage of time. Light-heartedness is usually associated with being a child. It was a chapter when time seemed endless.

It is no secret that playground items fascinate me. The swing and the slide appeared very often in my artistic career and have accompanied me since the first semester at art school, in form of drawings and animations. Now I have a strong urge to display them in my ceramics as well. Why are these objects so strongly anchored in my subconscious?

My ceramics show parallels to the style of the baroque ('the irregular pearl') and rococo (French: 'rocaille', 'cave and shell work'). I am fascinated by the ornamentation typical of the Rococo style, the excessiv decor and the irregularity. I can feel the joy artists of the time experienced letting their imagination flow freely and enjoying the excess life has to offer. They had a fondness for bright and pastoral color scales, as well as mother-of-pearl, ivory, gold and silver.

The swing is also featured in Fragonard's Rococo painting 'The Happy Accidents of the Swing', revealing of a young woman in a sweeping dress, full of ruffles, which reminds me of a pink shell – a very provocative erotic image for this period. A fleeting moment of happiness is shown here, in which the baron is able to peek under his mistress' dress (a very happy accident indeed). She lost her elegant shoe in the momentum and the shoe is 'held' in the air. Fragonard froze the swing's highest forward swing.

Rocking back and forth is like the game of surrender and withdrawal ('You can have me – you can have me not'). Like love life as a game and as a hunt driven by the charm of teasing one another and its bittersweet taste. The verve represented by the swing is what one strives for.

In my ceramics I can also freeze this momentum in a certain way.
I can hold still the movement of the swing, capturing the exhilaration in the truest sense. Like Fragonard, I can seize the highest forward impetus of the swing. Im am able to freeze constantly active feelings. I long to be at a standstill of time.

Thematically, baroque poetry also dealt with similar themes, for example in 'To his Coy Mistress' by Andrew Marvell, the desire to capture youth is also revealed:

'Now let us sport us while we may;
And now, like am'rous birds of prey,
Rather at once our time devour,
Than languish in his slow-chapp'd power.
Let us roll all our strength, and all
Our sweetness, up into one ball;
And tear our pleasures with rough strife
Thorough the iron gates of life.
Thus, though we cannot make our sun
Stand still, yet we will make him run.‘

The metaphorical and symbolical limitlessness of this site makes it extremly captivating for me personally. A large part of what drives me is the romantic aspect of it all.
'The Secret Garden', a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, describes an overgrown hidden English garden. It is enchanted and surrounded by dense green. In its heart there is a swing hanging on a tree."

Curriculum vitae

*1994 in Hemel Hempstead, GB
lives and works in the Mainz area, DE


  • 2021-2022 Meisterschülerin bei Prof. Shannon Bool, Academy of Fine Arts Mainz, Mainz, DE

  • 2014-2020 Diplom, Freie Bildende Kunst with Vertr.-Prof. Sabine Tress, Prof. Shannon Bool und Vertr.-Prof. Anna Virnich at the Academy of Fine Arts Mainz, Mainz, DE

Solo and Two-Person Shows (selection)

2022 „Feliway“, Meisterschülerinnen-Ausstellung, Academy of Fine Arts Mainz, Mainz, DE

Group Shows (Selection)

2024 Biennale „Belichtungsmesser“, Kunstforum Mainturm, Flörsheim am Main und Industriehalle Haus der Stadtgeschichte, Offenbach am Rhein, DE (upcoming)
2023 „Le bar sous le toit“, Köln, DE (upcoming)
„Pinky Promise“, Emde Gallery, Mainz, DE
2022 „The grass is always greener“, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, DE
2019 „inside Typ b“, Lutherkirche Mainz / Evangelische Luthergemeinde, Mainz, DE
2017 „Is that what you said?“, BBK Rheinland-Pfalz im Bundesverband e. V., Mainz, DE
Selected Works

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