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Carmen D’Apollonio.
Photo: Schaub Stierli Fotografie

Discover the Evocative Lighting of Carmen D’Apollonio at Her First Solo Show

The self-taught ceramic artist's exhibition "Don't Wake the Snake" opens July 15 at Friedman Benda

The artist’s Don’t Blame Me (2020). Photo: Daniel Kukla

Artist Carmen D’Apollonio landed in Los Angeles just seven years ago but seems to have effortlessly adapted to the infectious, go-with-the-flow vibe that imbues many West Coast makers. “California has such a deep history of ceramics, it opened another door for me,” says the artist, who spent a decade working in Urs Fischer’s studio. “The nature, the people making different things with beautiful glazes—it was very inspiring.”

The lamps she created for her upcoming Friedman Benda show in New York, “Don’t Wake the Snake,” on view July 15 through August 13, were born from her own need for lighting. Many are a whimsical take on the human form, conceived in a range of sizes and shapes in a vibrant color palette of yellows, greens, and turquoise blues.

Rooted in sinuous, organic silhouettes, they also draw inspiration from the “Tight Pants” sketch Will Ferrell performed with Jimmy Fallon. She found the skit’s memorable phrase to be both befitting of her work and a lighthearted title for a show. “The most important thing is that I have fun making the pieces,” says D’Apollonio. “And if people have fun when they see a lamp and they love it, that makes me happy.” 

Sorry I missed your call (2020) by Carmen D'Apollonio. Photo: Courtesy of Friedman Benda

Waiting for the sunset (2020) by Carmen D'Apollonio. Photo: Courtesy of Friedman Benda

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2021 Summer Issue under the headline “Material World.” Subscribe to the magazine.

Cover: Carmen D’Apollonio.
Photo: Schaub Stierli Fotografie

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