Inspired Art

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Olivier de Sagazan Performance art – Hybridation, performed in 2017 and Transfiguration performed in 1998

Olivier de Sagazan is a modern French artist who creates performances which are shocking and memorable to the viewer. He creates monstrous faces and disturbing images that ‘confuse the audience’ as there is no obvious narrative aiming to make the audience ‘rediscover what the face is’. 

In an interview, Sagazan vocalises that when he first began working on Transfiguration in June 1998 he felt ‘shattered, incoherent, hopeless and distressed’ but when he covered himself in the materials that he was working with, clay and paint, he created something he never produced before – something he believed to be more interesting than he had in his 20 years of being an artist. 

The bottom photo, taken from the performance Hybridation was performed by himself and the actress Stephanie Sant, and follows the themes of love and self-discovery. When I watched clips from these performances it shocked me and I was entranced as it was unlike any art I had seen before. 

As they cover themselves in clay, they have to search inwards to try and find themselves whilst shifting from hybrid to human and then creature. As the photo shows, Olivier and Stephanie have moulded their faces together to represent how their identities revolve around each other as lovers, for one of them to be happy, so must the other be. 

However, the violent paint that falls from the mouth and eyes also conveys to the audience their combined pain and suffering. The way that the two of them are moulded together also underlines a feeling that they are trapped which is ironic as love is meant to be freeing and exhilarating, and not claustrophobic as they are forced together. 

This distorted and exaggerated view on relationships makes this a memorable piece to me as it communicates the message that identity comes from within yourself and not from others; our personality should not be influenced by the people we surround ourselves with. 

However this does not mean that relationships are all bad, just that knowing ourselves is just as important before constructing a second identity with your partner.

Hana Upper IV

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