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Seoul / Korea

Saâdane Afif at Atelier Hermès

'Quoi ? – L’Éternité.'

Remnants of a past performance evoke the poetic imagery of Rimbaud, as the starting-point for Saâdane Afif’s new, multi-collaborative project at Atelier Hermès. The solo exhibition Quoi ? – L’Éternité (‘What? – Eternity’) transcends periods and artistic practices in a quest for a Rimbaldian sense of the infinite.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Saâdane Afif at Atelier Hermès
© ©Blaise Adilon

The space is defined by panels hung with a sunburst design in bright orange – offcuts from the decor for a past performance. For Saâdane Afif, these fabric remnants evoke the first lines of a poem by Arthur Rimbaud: Elle est retrouvée. / Quoi? – L’Éternité. / C’est la mer allée / Avec le soleil (‘It has been found again. What? – Eternity. / It is the sea fled away / With the sun’). Afif follows the poem to the letter. Waves are printed on Plexiglas, superimposed with the sunburst rays to create strange images. Visitors to the Atelier Hermès experience the ‘intimations of eternity’ evoked by Rimbaud in 1872.

Since 2004, Afif – a French visual artist based in Berlin – has applied a very specific methodology, based on exchanges with other artists in a spirit of creative collaboration, even delegation. An original work by Saâdane Afif is the inspiration for a text (Lyrics) by another artist, set to music by a third, and culminating in an exhibition which itself gives rise to a new work likely to extend the chain of creativity further still.

Afif (the winner of the Prix Marcel Duchamp in 2009) continues this collective approach for his first exhibition in Korea. The artist has commissioned new Lyrics from a number of authors, based on superimposed images of the sea and sun, each one an imaginative extension of the central work, and an authentic, parallel contribution. Rimbaud’s lines appear on the walls of Atelier Hermès, near the set model for the initial performance, and the original fabric remnants. For Afif, the installation offers ‘a kind of deep breath, a moment of contemplation along the path to another project’.

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7, Dosan-daero 45-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, Korea


Curator : Yunkyoung Kim