Sabrina Gruss grew up with the specter of death, but rather than be depressed by it or fearful of it, she decided to (joyfully) incorporate it into her art.
“I met Death early, through my mother’s history. Russian Jewish people settled in Paris. Her story led me to concentrate on tiny parts, worn fabrics, corpses, bones. Our family disappeared in concentration camps and the fear of Death accompanied her all her life. But with these awful memories, I’ve hopefully mixed the humor of my mother and Jewish music. Through my sculptures, I learn to avoid the fear of Death and to entertain it.”– Sabrina Gruss
Gruss likes to go into nature to gather the materials that serve as inspiration for her sculptures. She looks for skulls, bones, and eroded objects to incorporate into her wonderful clay characters. She feels like the objects’ histories bring an additional level of drama and life to her assemblages. She especially favors the use of bone as a building material. She enjoys the richness of its tone, the shapes it takes, the history it brings, and the “emotional strength it releases.” She likes to keep the bones intact, so there is no mistaking their organic origins. In designing her creations, Gruss likes to consider the animals whose bones she is using and to honor the animals’ spirits.