Organismes et Fantasma / Lionel Sabatté
Exhibition from 25 September to 6 November 2021.
Opening on 25 September 2021.
Working with the material itself, thinking about its thickness, harvesting what it offers with its share of unforeseen events. Gleaning a thousand elements from the world and transforming them into representations, leading these same elements to interact, to dialogue, to metamorphose as if to better reveal the incredible variety of life. Dust, scraps, fragments, improbable pigments, threads, are all the flesh of Lionel Sabatté's paintings, drawings, sculptures or reliefs. And each time the same idea, to put the representation at risk of itself as if to better indicate that what is to be seen is only a simple stage in the slow germination process of the living. So the spectator may well see a hybrid bestiary made up of birds, bears, eels, wolves, delicate monsters which together expose their flesh and their skeletons, their fluids and their appearances. Lionel Sabatté refuses to accept the obvious, with a tenderness for the uncertain, leading to a unique blend of mineral, animal and organic. There are rejections, scraps, residues, but above all rebirth and a form of reincarnation perceptible in the elegance of the line, the colours and the materials.
We find this strength in his latest work, produced in February and April 2021 during a residency at Urdla in Villeurbanne, a place dedicated to printmaking and which is widely presented in this exhibition. As usual, Lionel Sabatté has seized upon techniques to better bend them to his world of metamorphosis and suspense. Everything starts with a line, and the desire to let a being, a plant emerge... As usual, the artist twists conventions, using an old zinc sheet from the roof of his studio as a background, having fun disrupting techniques, constraining them to better enter a world where everything becomes possible through the experimental gesture. The artist lets himself be taken in by the game, evacuating the possibility of renewing his gesture, of renewing a rendering. Plates, papers, textile scraps, all superimposed, repositioned, pressed, enhanced by other inks, other lines, then pressed again and finally enhanced by hand in his Parisian studio, far from the place of his first experiments. In other words, each work is totally unique, illuminated by swirling but precise strokes, by muted inks, colours of the earth and humus. In these small or large monotypes, the eye is then free to perceive the appearance of chimeras or glyphs, to see a bestiary of animals from the abyss or from our dreams, or even in some cases a simple human profile drowned in a maelstrom of materials. Rarely has Lionel Sabatté so intertwined the marvellous and the delicate appearance of living forms.
Lionel Sabatté's solo exhibition "Organismes and Fantasma" from 25 September to 6 November 2021 at the gallery will also be the occasion to present a new spectacular production of the artist magnifying with oxides, one of his photographs of undergrowth silk-screened on a metal plate.
A graduate of the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris in 2003, Lionel Sabatté has received several artistic awards such as the Painting Prize from the Del Luca Foundation in 2019, the Friends of the Maison Rouge Prize which enabled him to produce a work, presented in the patio of the foundation in 2018, the Drawing Now Prize in 2017 and was awarded the Yishu 8 Prize in Beijing in 2011.
His work has been the subject of many monographic exhibitions in France and abroad, integrating several institutional collections. The sphere of the living as well as the transformations of matter due to the passage of time are at the heart of Lionel Sabatté's work. For several years now, the artist has been collecting materials that bear the traces of his life experience: dust, ashes, coal, dead skins, tree stumps... These elements are combined in an unexpected way and the works thus created carry within them both a delicacy and a "disturbing strangeness", giving life to a hybrid bestiary in which creatures from the abyssal depths rub shoulders with small birds from the oxidised islands, bears, wolves, emus, owls, but also unicorns... Practising at the same time painting, drawing and sculpture, Lionel Sabatté tries to make all his works interact in a permanent interconnection. His research on the mineral, the animal, the organic in short, gives rise to poetic, sensitive and disturbing works which participate in a global reflection on our condition and the place we occupy in our environment.
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