Stéphanie Saadé

En Dormance

17 October - 21 November 2015

Anne Barrault gallery is pleased to propose Stéphanie Saadé’s first solo show in France.

Stéphanie Saadé was born in Lebanon, in the midst of the civil war. Today, she occupies a place on the new contemporary Lebanese art scene. Her works are rich of her travels and her stays in Lebanon as well as in China, in France and the Netherlands.

The strength of her work lies in it being both conceptual and sensitive. This is partly due to her use of reduced means which benefits richness of meaning. 

Impossible love, made of two threads, one rising from the ground, the other coming down from the ceiling, and joining in their centre, forms a minimal installation. Apart from the means used, what is emphasized is the perception of the meeting of what rises from the ground and what comes down from above, a rare and difficult encounter made possible by the artist. 

With Golden Memories, another impossible encounter takes place where the past becomes the mirror of the present. The memory, turned to gold, absorbs the present in a disturbing way. The immutable and the transitory encounter in Opposite Chain, where iron destined to disappear and stainless steel form the same chain.

This tension runs throughout Stéphanie Saadé’s work. She has thus entitled her exhibition En Dormance (in dormancy), this particular state where life awaits to begin.


«…will, then, matter be destroyed or not?»

The gospel of Mary Magdalene

Seeds sprout in the dark, the dark corresponds to the night, and the night to dreams.

Instead of selling his cow for ten silver coins, Jack exchanged it for a bean. The next morning, like in a dream, while Jacques was asleep, the bean had grown and reached the sky. In yesteryears, a diamond was exchanged for a carob seed: with a weight and a size unfailingly regular, the seed was equivalent to one carat. Dormancy. To sleep, lying down. Buried like the dead, whose feet and head touch the ground, under the earth, the seed slowly traces the path from the Horizontal Country to the Vertical Country. “[Jacob] had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven”.

Dormancy indicates a form of slowed-down life. Activity is reduced to the minimum, and the organism can keep its energy longer. Moving into dormancy occurs in response to difficult or hostile external conditions: the diminution of food resources, very high or very low temperatures etc. A survival strategy, a discreet and silent tactic, it enables one to resist. Playing dead, sometimes for years. What happens in the inside?

The dormant draws on his own resources. What can be produced in these conditions?

In dormancy, time flows differently. It runs more slowly inside than outside. Which moment to prolong? Which memory? The moment before being born, before starting to grow up, can be extended, maybe forever. One can remain longer in a chosen past, or extract oneself from time to become immortal.

In the confined space of the seed, introspection and recentering occur. How to stand in the centre of the world and wear the world around oneself? “The universe is an infinite sphere whose centre is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere”, as has been stated since antiquity to nowadays. At the centre of paradise springs the Fountain of Youth. From it, four rivers flow towards the four cardinal points.

After dormancy, water flows on the seed and wakes it up. Autumn, winter, spring, summer, the seed takes the risk of dying, and joins again the cycles of the day, the night, and the moon.

Stéphanie Saadé, July 2015