Meeting with Lionel Sabatté, winner of the Drawing Now 2017 Award
As Drawing Now prepares to open its doors at the Carreau du Temple in Paris, we met Lionel Sabatté, winner of the Drawing Now 2017 Award in a very busy news environment.
“Drawing has a catalytic role in my work.”
Mowwgli: The Drawing Now Award, its impact at this stage of your career?
Lionel Sabatté: The prize and the salon are important in my career as an artist who participated in the first Drawing Now and this recognition of my drawing practice has been very important, this medium being less visible to me in relation to sculpture and painting. To be able to become aware that all these researches around drawing were recognized by an excellent jury who knew how to perceive the prospective nature of my work in drawing, with this permanent questioning while maintaining a certain unity in the subject. A constant search for new techniques that it was great to see valued.
In addition, the spotlight brought by the project has led to many meetings and projects.
Mowwgli: How did you design this exhibition at Christie’s as part of the Drawing Now partnership?
L. S. In general I choose to show what I am doing in the workshop, as here through three types of creation:-
drawings in dust that are constantly evolving with the hair part that has taken up more and more space, drawings that were close to my heart to show having worked a lot on them in recent months; in immense pleasure in front of these kinds of apparitions of bodies and faces;
-the 2nd series, the most important in space is this corpus of 9 drawings made with burned wood remains from the Sainte-Victoire mountain, the continuation of a set made for an exhibition at MAC ARTEUM, museum of contemporary art in Châteauneuf-le-Rouge (13) in 2016 “fertile coals”, a research that I intended to continue. One in between between poor materials close to sculpture and formally a link with painting. Another series was shown in Los Angeles a year ago from burned trees in California, a region heavily affected by fires. They are like rebirths, creature primers that are born from this work with coal. A link can also be made with photography through this light that instils doubt when at first they are very raw materials. With distance, the impression of a very smooth image emerges. This relationship between image and matter particularly appeals to me with this kind of vibration that induces a relationship to space that is not so frequent in my drawings.
-the last series is a bear made with oxidized metals on paper. Bears inspire me because they have this part of the wild human with which man can identify, which has led me to a new series that will soon be shown in my exhibition at the Ceysson Bénétière gallery in Paris, entitled “the bite of the air” as a follow-up to the oxidation research conducted over the past few years.
Mowwgli: 2018 is your year because you also benefit from the recognition of the Friends of the Red House with an exhibition in the Patio, “Residence” what was the genesis?
L. S. L.: I experienced it as a kind of step aside, having considered it more as a sculpture than a painting, as an order of a composition in space rather than the production of a form that we turn around. I was like immersed in this house, a construction that could be a shelter, a house but which takes a very organic form as often in my work to become a kind of wall with different types of writing that respond to each other to create a kind of organism.
The Patio is a great playground for artists in a relatively large space which led me to work for 15 days on site with an assistant from 3 tons of concrete and several kilometers of concrete reinforcement on an intuition at the beginning that I gradually let settle into a relative improvisation in response to the place. It is this context that has brought me closer to my painting practice with evanescent colours and writings that are closer to abstraction and less identified than until now in my sculpture.
Demeure pour résumer is a pivotal piece that opens many perspectives for the future. I realized I could continue like this as the Horse Factor did for 10 or 20 years! This residence will have a second life and some of its fragments will be saved from destruction at the request of collectors. I will also recover some of them, which will undoubtedly give rise to new sculptures. It also made me want to invest other places in this way with a lot of ideas for potential construction.
Mowwgli: What place does drawing have in your practice?
L. S.: Drawing was the first and exclusive practice of my work, I started painting and sculpting later at 21 years old. Drawing allows me to crystallize, to accelerate what happens in other media. It is the central medium that guides me towards my painting or sculpture. I also measure the continuity of certain series, such as the dust drawing that accompanies me and has become a tool, a guide.
Mowwgli: What are your next challenges?
L. S.: The big challenge is the exhibition at the Ceysson Bénétière gallery with new wall pieces, the continuation of the bears, compositions made on rusty oxidized metal plates and a set of sculptures between the animal and the human with links from the Red House.
There are also two very exciting projects in Los Angeles that will be the continuation of the Red House that I can’t yet reveal.
– Lionel Sabatté, winner Drawing Now 2017 Award
Praises the metamorphosis
until March 23, 2018
At Christies France
9 avenue Matignon
– The Air Bite
from 22 March 2018
Ceysson Beneficial Gallery
23, rue du Renard
Friends of the Red House Award 2017
until May 20, 2018
The Patio of the Red House
– Drawing Now at gallery C
from 22 to 25 March 2018
The Temple Floor
2 Perrée Street
Lionel Sabatté is represented by Galerie C – Christian Egger – Neuchâtel. Switzerland and Beysson Bénétière, Paris.
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