The Art Of Staring At

Ody Saban, who was compelled to uprooting and wandering ever since she was a child, is now "learning to inhabit", as she says, and not without difficulty. And this happens at a time when her paintings are more and more wayfaring. There is certainly a logic in this contradiction, the kite-one, for instance, whose rope seems to hamper its taking flight whereas it secures it: Is it by chance that, in New York, somel5 years ago, Ody Saban began to paint a 18 feet-kite, which ended drowned in the Seine? It is undoubtedly the same contradiction which pushes her to put curtains to her windows when she opens her pictural horizon to the "lointain intérieur" to which Henri Michaux alludes.

In her works, she practices a mental nomadism which is a much greater change of scenery than any geographical travel, and which leads her to discover vertiginous spaces, unexpected facets, fancies and chimeras of our subconscious. It sometimes happens, as she told me, that someone believes he recognizes someone he knows in one or other of her effigies, as if it was a portrait. Indeed, the real resemblance can only arise from the transgression of the facial appearance - "masked by one's face", as Cocteau put it.

Ody Saban feels that drawing is, together with her daughter Eden, the only link she has to life. She commits herself to art with obsession. With a remarkable technique using complex superpositions, she initiates us to the intermingling of past and present, of reality and imagination, of inside and outside, in short, to all the oscillations which secretly animate the fictitious unity that is called the Self. The picture she presents us fulfils Cocteau's wish: "mirrors should reflect before reflecting ourselves".
I am very impressed by this inextricable universe, this invasion of space by beings who belong to varied reigns, scales, physical and mental
registers.
It is a psychological universe in which reality intermingles with imagination and memory. One can feel that you commit yourself to it intensely.


Michel Thevoz