Once upon a time

Once upon a time there were men stuck in the trees like nails upside down or upside down, woodland creatures that hang down like singular fruits. Once upon a time there were young girls who walk in the red color with an elastic step, wise and orderly, bare legs, birds who chirp on a thread and watch the young women parading under them. Once upon a time, there were open beds that had just been abandoned, bicycles propped up against a wall, red butterflies stuck on a canvas. These beings, these objects, these plants, these insects seem to be waiting: some to fly away, others to descend, the third to be released, all assigned to this fundamental function, each for different reasons. They bear witness by their presence to what is not but must happen someday, as important for the salvation of men as what is. What they expect will not come but they revel in being there, straddling two dimensions of time. Sara Badr Schmidt’s canvases fall into the category of not yet: at home there is always a chair, a sofa, an armchair that are there, empty, available, invite us to ask ourselves, to sit down before leaving the room. room for others. The chair awaits the passer-by as the painting awaits the visitor who will revitalize himself in him. It invites rest, it is a welcoming absence, a step on a path that never ends. Even the tree offers its branches its trunk for those who hang from it, and the butterfly its outstretched wings to catch our eye.

This wait is not painful, it is calm. Sara Badr Schmidt takes a recapitulative approach to painting: she goes back in time, crosses the abstract, the figurative, tries collage, sprinkles her works with poems by Prévert, ironic or poetic phrases. This revisiting of styles is both fun and educational: Sara Badr Schmidt takes up again to better create in turn, to find her own path. It is a total will that it manifests, mixing shapes, colors, comments, materials, even the most trivial, the most unexpected like the oilcloth: writing and drawing exchange their prerogatives, contradict each other, reinforce each other, enhance one by the other. They sometimes sound like haiku, those short Japanese poems that elude meaning, reject explanation, are spoken without being summed up. This dialogue is devoid of aggression or hysteria. His paintings question without provoking, they invite the viewer with humor and delicacy, trust him. Once upon a time, art began again.

Once upon a time there was a morning unlike any other, an afternoon unlike any other, dedicated to the time of contemplation. The universe of Sara Badr Schmidt is mysterious, perhaps, but devoid of anguish. It is a mystery in full light, perhaps most disturbing, full of false evidence, of pseudo-simplicity. The symbols she deploys, the eyes, the bird, the peacock, the bicycle add a dreamlike but not dangerous dimension. The artist confesses. These confessions tell us nothing about her: she exhibits herself without admitting herself, sets up an enigmatic atmosphere where everyone can recognize themselves. Pastel or light colors show a naturally benevolent disposition towards life. Perhaps we find here an oriental influence, his interest in Buddhism. Her paintings are not made just to be looked at, but to be meditated on. There was once a work where there is nothing to understand, everything to feel.

Even seated, her figures seem to fly, land or take off, carried by an aerial imagination in an eternal present. They look like beings floating in the expectation of rebirth or metamorphosis. Sara Badr Schmidt fixes in her canvases this rare quality in painting and which makes all the charm: the serenity in the suspension.

Once upon a time there was a baby in his mother’s arms who cried out.

Once upon a time there was a born painter: Sara Badr Schmidt.

Pascal Bruckner, philosopher and writer, May 2008