Fracture and Fragment

"Every act of creation is first an act of destruction." Pablo Picasso

Sandra Shashou’s new body of work, comprising of arrangements of smashed fragments of bone china tea sets, oscillates between modalities of dissolution and reformulation, order and rupture, and historical eras.

Her source material is the bone china produced by Europe’s finest porcelain manufacturers, as the titles of her works indicate – Hamilton, Argyle, Tuscan, Royal Albert, Wedgwood, Limoges, Meito hand-painted and Cobalt – and collected by her from dealers and flea markets. The designs range across centuries and topographies: in one work the lemons and blues of Art Deco, in another the crimson of Edwardian and Victorian designs, and in a third the blue tracery of Chinoiserie.

Shashou brings these tea sets back to her studio and using a small hammer she shatters, punctures, chips and fragments. And yet the shapes of the original crockery are somehow preserved and repurposed in her intricate constructions. The curves of the broken tea sets undulate across simple rectangular surfaces, or swirl around rotundas with a baroque flamboyance. In some the pieces lock tightly together as if part of some giant Cubist puzzle, in other shards seem to be caught in the freeze frame of a constructivist explosion. Her chromatically rich, harmonious works match crimsons, mustard yellows and pinks, or mauve, turquoise and blue. Set in a gold or white ground, Shashou’s fragments unfold like Jackson Pollock’s all-over paintings – only shattered, not splattered.

Shashou has found inspiration in the Japanese art of Kintsugi, in which broken bowls were repaired with beautiful golden joins, so fashionable in the 17th century, that people were accused of deliberately smashing valuable pottery so it could be remade in this manner.

Some may read a social comment in her work, a playful rupturing of bourgeois values. The order and tranquillity of a daily routine, with its echoes of Victorian Britain, Alice in Wonderland and social conformity, tea-time, has been literally shattered.

Shashou herself prefers to foreground the emotional and biographical metaphors embedded in the work. Smashing crockery is, after all, a time-honoured feature of the lovers’ row. “Breakage and fractures are part of the chance and fate of human life, part of our personal history,” she says, "I embrace vulnerability and fragility. In truth that is how we reveal ourselves and really connect.” When Shashou has looked back on love that has disintegrated, and reflected on the times when she has felt ‘shattered’, she has realised that the pieces have rearranged themselves in a new harmonious order. “They fitted together but not they did before."


Sandra Shashou’s ‘Broken’ sculptures are not inspired by nature or the human form, she draws her inspiration from her experience of life as a woman.

Porcelain has become her signature sculpting material, her trademark. Growing up in Brazil she was surrounded by beautiful household antique ceramics and glass ornaments that belonged to her mother, such as Sèvres and Limoges, Galle vases, Lalique crystal, she developed an eye and appreciation for these collectable treasures.

The brutal destruction of these precious objects, desecrated beyond repair, implies tragedy, but the reassembled artwork suggests it has taken on a new form and is reborn.

As a philosophy Shashou treats breakage and fractures are part of the chance and fate of human life, part of our personal history, not something to disguise. ‘Broken’ references bravery, courage and rebuilding after devastation.

Shashou was born in Rio de Janeiro, and in the year 2000 studied at City & Guilds of London Art School, where she earned her BA (Hons) in Painting. After her graduation she had portraits commissioned by several prominent British intellectuals and politicians, and in the years following her studies largely established her reputation as a painter. In 2013, her practice took a major turn into sculpture. Using her signature material, smashed fine china, she began to produce a series of focused and intensely personal works that reflect the resilience, fragility, and undiminished courage that are the true conditions of love.

In recent years Shashou has exhibited in London, Paris, Beirut, Geneva, Gstaad, St Tropez, Dallas, Miami, NYC, and Venice. She has been shown in Art Elysees, Art Beirut, Art Palm Beach, Art Miami, Art Southampton NY, Armoury Antiques NY, Art15 Olympia London, Sotheby’s, Christie’s and Phillips, and has been commissioned for site-specific public sculptures in the US, EU, and UK. Her work has been collected in several important private collections, and she is currently negotiating a number of brand collaborations outside of the arts. Shashou lives and works from her studio in Primrose Hill, London.

2001 – 2005 BA in Painting, City and Guilds London Art School, Kennington Park Road, London. 2000 – 2001 BETEC in Painting Kensington and Chelsea Art School. 1999 Foundation Degree Slade, UCL. 1979 – 1980 Design Degree Chelsea Art School.

The House of Raro, Group Show, London, UK
Bel Air Fine Art, St Tropez, Group Show, France
BFAMI, Sotheby’s, London, UK
Bel Air Fine Arts, Gstaad, Group Show, Switzerland
FFS Fair For Saatchi, BAFA Contemporary London
Markowicz Fine Art, Dallas, USA
Group Show at Markowicz Fine Art Dallas

Rodmarton Re-Imagined, Group Show, Curated by Charlotte Abrahams, Rodmarton Manor, Cirencester GL7 6PF, UK
BAFA Contemporary London, Solo Show, UK
Art Miami, Bel Air Fine Art, USA
Art Beirut, Bel Air Fine Arts. Lebanon.
Bel Air Fine Art, St Tropez, Solo Show, France
Bel Air Fine Art Geneva, Solo Show, Staying Alive, Switzerland
Art Elysees Paris, Bel Air Fine Arts, France
BAFA Contemporary London, Joint Solo Show with Carole Feuerman, UK
Bel Air Fine Arts Gstaad, Group Show, Switzerland

BFAMI, Christies, St James, London
Rays of Sunshine charity exhibition, Christies, London

BFAMI, Sothebys, Mayfair, London

London Art Fair in Islington Business Centre, with the Woolff Gallery

Woolff Gallery FOUNDD group show, 89 Charlotte Street, London W1T 4PU 2014 Phillips de Pury group BFAMI show Berkeley square, London, W1. 2014 Phillips de Pury group BFAMI show in Howick Place, London, SW1.

Art Basel Miami, Dillon Gallery, US. 2014 International arts and antiques fair at The Armoury, 643 Park Ave, New York, NY 10065, US.

Gold show, Dillon Gallery, 555 W 25th St, New York, NY, US.

Group show ” Found Objects” at Woolf Gallery, 89 Charlotte St, London W1T 4PU 2014 Art Southampton, The Hamptons NY, Dillon Gallery, NY.

Group Show, Sotheby’s, New Bond Street, bfami , London.

Gggalery, Solo Show, Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, London.

 Rio de Janeiro Group show, Leite Barbosa Gallery, 35 Rua do Mercado, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

Solo show at Studio, Primrose Hill, London.

Solo show Magdalena Kruszenwska show space, Belgravia, London.

The European Arzebajan Society, International art exhibition in Baku.

Christies St James, bfami , London. 2010 Elephant Parade, Elephant Family, London.

Sex sale at Phillips de Pury, 9 Howick Place, London.

Solo show, Robert Sandelson Gallery, 5 Cork Street, London.

Opera Gallery, In the Mood for Love,134 New Bond Street, London.

Mall Gallery, 17 Carlton House Terrace, London.

 The Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea Park, Sieff Gallery, London.

Phillips de Pury, 9 Howick Place, London. 2008 Hammerson plc, 10 Grosvenor Street, London.

Art London with Sieff Gallery, Chelsea’s Royal Hospital Gardens, London.

Climate Change, group show, 235-241 Union Street, London.

Sieff Gallery and Ramsey Prints, Pimlico Road, London.

Royal College, group show,Kensington Gore, London.

Group show at the Truman Brewery, London.

Group show with Vanessa Suchar, London.

Graduate Show at City and Guilds London Art School.

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