The Invisible Path of Sara Badr
Beirut – February 11, 1999
by Laure de Hauteville
Sara Badr’s show of 11 mixed media paintings-installations at the Centre culturel français (rue de Damas) will run until 26 February 1999. The exhibit is supported by the Société Générale Libano-Européenne de Banque. For her first show, Badr has chosen the essence of the materials she favors for the way in which they symbolize energy.
Viewers are guided through the exhibit, following a path that the artist has laid out. It begins with a circle within a square and concludes with the circle. The image is raw and harsh, with ochre sand mixed into the drawing. The woman appears, fragmented, the anguished line transforming the image of the feminine body into a strange, pagan idol. Nonetheless, an unusual charm, a softness of spirit, emanates from her.
The work’s material nature is less important to the artist than the actions that brought it into being and the enigmatic meanings it brings to the surface.
The painter’s works create a new sense of space. Badr’s representations–simultaneously academic and unconventional—are painted on canvas and metal plates. The woman appears on diptychs and triptychs, watching us or trying to arouse our curiosity. Viewers may continue on their way and follow the path, or stop to learn more and encounter the invisible.
A peephole attracts our attention. Suddenly, we are seized by a temptation to come nearer, to look closer and deeper. We can read the text through that peephole, the text so different from the work, but that leads us beyond the visible to another dimension. On one of the paintings, metal plates are attached to the canvas itself. A fetus is trapped within a spiral. Set against the ochre background, three other plates represent dancers’ bodies. A peephole appears in a corner. These words are written there: “Mon rêve, faire le tour de l’infini et mourir au départ, quand j’y parviendrai. “ (“My dream is to explore infinity and die upon departing, when I arrive there.”) Is this a coincidence? An unfinished song? A wish?
The viewer’s task is to follow the path to its end and understand…