The Universe of Ciane Xavier: Grim Secrets of the Human Psyche

  • by Francesca Testa

"My goal is to question the viewer," Brazillian-born, Philippine-based artist Ciane Xavier tells us and the spotlight is immediately turned from the artist to its viewer. Xavier's works aren't your typical human sculptures. Its grotesque appearance sends an unnerving reflex to its viewer but looking at it in retrospect, the artist's goal makes a lot more sense now. What Xavier displays through her works isn't a made-up reality but ours; Ciane Xavier's universe is a dominion of human reflections lost in the conquest of their true selves.

Cartellino Creative Confidential Ciane Xavier Come To Me Galerie Stephanie
Come To Me at Galerie Stephanie
Photo courtesy of the gallery
Cartellino Creative Confidential Ciane Xavier Game Over
Game Over at Galerie Stephanie
Photo courtesy of the gallery
Cartellino Creative Confidential Ciane Xavier The Other Side Vinyl On Vinyl
Installation view, The Other Side at Vinyl on Vinyl
Photo courtesy of the artist

A Creation's Becoming

Ciane Xavier begins by looking at the world around her—strangers, friends, family, and even herself. "My inspirations come from the people and situations around me and pop culture." From this, the artist begins a digital rendering of her works, be it in the form of a photograph or a model, and from there begins crafting it to actualization. Her experimental methods have pushed her to work not only within a time constraint but also in a spontaneous whiff of inspiration. From crazy moments to well-thought-of memories, Xavier draws inspirations from the most abstract to the most personal circumstances she's been through.

As a self-taught artist, Xavier has been innovative with how her works are being materialized. "I like to experiment with things and I get bored if I do the same type of work for the sake of selling. I do a lot of research and technology has helped me in many ways to innovate my work." As seen in her works, we find not an ideal prismatic paradise or a utopic rendering of our world but a peculiar perplexity that would draw in anyone who sees it. "I like to bring into my works the social problems and the distractions that we face today in the millennial era," she adds. "At the same time, making it humorous and vulnerable." And at the moment, we realize that each piece is a pithy and tender execution of the tough exteriors any person parades.

Cartellino Creative Confidential Ciane Xavier The Reality is Nothing is Real Galerie Stephanie
Detail, The Reality is Nothing is Real at Galerie Stephanie
Photo courtesy of the gallery

From the Inside Out

"I used to travel a lot in my young teens until adulthood, and that made me lose my cultural identity," Xavier explains. Growing up, the artist has moved from one country to another—a childhood spent void of any toys to play with. A common motif in all of her works can be about finding a place in a boundless realm, brimming with diversity and constantly changing, crafted in forms that would fit right in the middle of anyone's action figures or little figurines. "All of the characters of my works are each lost in their realities," she adds and we are as lost in our realities as her works. Seeing them as human beings, her works are only distinguishable by an expository detail that reveals the inner mechanisms we rarely attempt to understand or dare see ourselves—lost identities and delicate discoveries.

No matter how to flip it, Xavier's works remain human in physical appearance, all personal to the artist and her undertakings in life. In a work she is to present at Discovery Art Fair in Frankfurt, Germany, we find a three-faced human figure, holding on to a heart that's bigger than her. All its traits are human—all with a personality—except its soul rests uncharted. Yet her creative process, we find her putting herself out there, pure and in absolute bareness. For a second, coming face to face with her works would turn to introspection for the viewer as you'll find yourself in the shoes of her creations. Ciane Xavier's works are our vulnerabilities, only presented in grisly fashion.

Cartellino Creative Confidential Ciane Xavier Change of Heart Galerie Stephanie Discovery Art Fair
Change of Heart at Galerie Stephanie, Discovery Art Fair Frankfurt 2019
Photo courtesy of the artist
Cartellino Creative Confidential Ciane Xavier The Clock Is Ticking Vinyl On Vinyl Asia Now Paris
The Clock is Ticking at Vinyl on Vinyl, Asia Now Paris 2019
Photo courtesy of the artist

Having encountered Xavier's works multiple times, all in different settings, there's always a rush of self-awareness would embrace you. It's not the grotesque characteristics of the sculptures but its rawness that invites you to look at yourself in the mirror. At one point, you'll want to rethink where you stand and what grows inside you. In her works, you'll find yourself exposed and in a sense embarrassed—for a second by the sculpture's nakedness, then later by the self-absorbing egoism of being caped in pretentions and vanity.

Cartellino Creative Confidential Ciane Xavier Drowning In Your Ego Galerie Stephanie
Drowning In Your Ego at Galerie Stephanie
Photo courtesy of the gallery
Cartellino Creative Confidential Ciane Xavier Looking In Vinyl On Vinyl
Looking In at Vinyl on Vinyl
Photo courtesy of the artist
Anchor photo, Loss of Identity at Vinyl on Vinyl courtesy of artist