I'm Elise Bikker, a sculptor, based in York, England. On this website you will find my recent work and information on upcoming shows and events...
Work & Influence
I'm a sculptor of a primal bestiary in bronze, titled Figures of Speech. I am interested in storytelling, the psychology of different personalities and "bringing the inside out" and like my creatures to carry a certain character and symbolism within their bodies. Through their shapes, textures and gestures I aim to portray the egotist, the narcissist, the fool... with character traits that are usually hidden or unseen and can only be perceived by the outsider. Some of them are based on folklore and mythology as I like to look at these legendary figures and reinterpret their stories. Was Icarus truly that arrogant for trying to escape his fate or instead just brave for not accepting the status quo? Since I keep creating new characters, I don't believe this series will ever be finished. Unless otherwise commissioned, these figures are made in editions of 12. I am deeply influenced by the COBRA art movement (1948-1951) which was preoccupied with spontaneous, free, childlike expression and "primitive" folk art. Two artists associated with the movement are the Belgian metal sculptor Reinhoud d'Haese (1928-2007) and the Dutch ceramicist Lotti van der Gaag (1923-1999), both of whose subhuman creatures continue to have a deep impact on my work. Under BRONZE I you can read more about my Figures of Speech series.
Another section of my work consists of organic, breathing forms: I believe in matter and the quiet energy it holds, its growing, evolving and eroding, ever-changing, yet always being alive. I'm a true modernist in my conviction that sculpture, which is merely a manipulation of this matter, must be nothing other than itself. I only aim for these bronzes to be primal and tactile and to evoke a certain visceral or emotional response in the observer. You can find them under BRONZE II. Commissioned work can be found in this section as well.
BRONZE III shows smaller sculptures that are a crossover between sculpture and jewellery: There is something very pleasing about a small sculpture that can be held, turned and felt from all angles and worn. The weight of the bronze provides a comforting, grounding experience. Some of these pieces also lend themselves well to be mounted in a frame. Unlike the larger sculptures, the jewellery pieces are made of special lead-free phosphor bronze, suitable to be worn on the skin. Unless otherwise commissioned, these smaller pieces are generally made in editions of 50. As with the larger bronzes the edition number is carved into each piece.
I also accept unique commissions for home, garden and office (both small and large scale), so please don't hesitate to inquire!
The Gift 1/12, the first of the Figures of Speech series
My medium is bronze. I find the strength and weight of the material evoke a sense of permanence and continuity. Most of my sculptures are organic in shape with heavy, sometimes hostile, textures. I like my creatures and forms to be primal, as if they've just materialised from the earth, like Golems, and the earth can take them back at any moment. They are initially built from clay or wax. When I begin forming them, I tend to have a rough idea of what the creature will look like. A large part, however, is intuitive: my eyes and hands lead me towards the "right" forms. Sometimes I incorporate found objects into my work. In the final stages of the clay model I communicate with the foundry about the technical requirements to cast each piece in bronze using the lost wax method. Unlike otherwise commissioned, my sculptures are cast in editions of 12.
I have an MA in History of Art (Leiden University) and an MA in Modern and Contemporary Literature and Culture (University of York). I am currently working on a full-time PhD in English at the University of York: Due to a fascination with the boundaries between the organic and the artificial, I am researching the representation of the intelligent machine in 19th century literature.
- Number Four Gallery, St Abbs, permanently stocks a selection of my work.
- I have been an exhibiting artist in York Open Studios 2017, 2018 and 2019.
- In 2018 I exhibited in Blossom Street Gallery, York,
- in 2019 in Pyramid Gallery, York,
- in 2020 at Pocklington Arts Centre.
- I will exhibit at the biennial sculpture show Fresh Air Sculpture, Quenington, in the summer of 2021.
- Artist profile in Aesthetica Magazine, issue 98 (Dec. 2020/Jan. 2021).