Biographie published in the book ART BRUT ET COMPAGNIE, La face caché de l’art contemporain.

Musée Halle Saint Pierre, Paris.

Ody Saban


            Ody Saban was born in Istanbul on 30 April , in a jewish sepharade family. Her mother, of Spanish origins but very francophile, was a dressmaker, and her father, a fabric manufacturer, came from Bursa, the capital city of the silk industry. She was convent educated until age 16. She was 7 when her mother remarried with a muslim painter, who was also a musician and a poet, and who initiated her to art. He was a famous miniature and china restorer, and he worked for museums. He taught her how to copy flower patterns, and then wanted to hire her as a traditional painter.

When she was 10, she started writing log love poems she addressed to unknown men. Four  years later, her father died- her stepfather died a few years later. She became more and more left to herself, but she had inherited resistance from her mother, and when she was 16, she decided to go to Israel, where she lived in kibbutz from 1969 to 1977.

            It was in Israel that she started painting seriously, and even sculpting, and in the same time, she did all kinds of jobs (at the post office, in the fields, in hotels or in factories) to be able to pay for her accommodation and studies at the university of Haifa where she obtained a certificate in plastic arts in 1976. Then she came to settle in Paris and registered at the Art School from 1977 to 1980-“to have papers” but without passing the diploma- and then at the university of Paris VII. From that time on, she had numerous activities: dancing, painting, poetry, sculpting, happenings ( particularly at some artists squats where she led groups of women, such as “ Singulières  Plurielles ” and had an important role, for instance at “Art Cloche” in 1984). In 1980, she stayed for a long time in United States. This period was symbolised in her memory by the making of a paper-kite as a tribute to her mother. Then, she married the man with whom she later had a daughter, Eden, born in 1982.

         Since her first exhibition in Paris, in 1977, Ody Saban showed her work in numerous places. She mostly draws (china ink on muslin paper, sometimes watercolored) and paints (oil or acrylic) but she also illustrates notebooks with poetical improvisations. Her warm-coloured, cosmopolitan-oriental paintings try to recreate the texture of the embroidering and materials of her childhood.

          Ody Saban is penetrated with a universe of very strong personal beliefs, close to magic: she talks in a loud voice to the dead, interprets signs and encounters, worships the mother goddess, divinity of the moon, as a protector of whom she is the messenger, she also identifies with Lilith, the first woman born before Eve, symbol of heretical free love. Catal Höyük- the first city in the world, origin of urbanisation in Anatolia- Byzantium and Egypt, the worship of the bull, the crescent or the mosque, are all parts of her always erotic and spontaneously surrealist imaginary world. She wrote a series of works signed  “MordySabbath”, with her friend the poet Thomas Mordant, which is a blending of two visions of a fantastic, almost disturbing fantasising. Similarly, with Paquito Bolino, she collaborated to a luxury book, La Béquille Carabine, whose erotic text is a masterpiece in silk-screen printing.

                                                             Laurent DANCHIN