The Encounter of the First and Last Particles of Dust
Stéphanie Saadé
March 18 – May 11, 2019


The Encounter of the First and Last Particles of Dust is Stéphanie Saadé’s second solo presentation at Grey Noise, Dubai.  The exhibition features a new central work, which lends to the other new and older works. As often the case in her practice the show holds its name from an eponym work presented alongside others.

The material used in the new work The Encounter of the First and Last Particles of Dust is the actual carpet that covered the floor of the room that Saadé occupied as a teenager in the family home. She went back at the end of the year 2018, ripped it off with the consent and help of her father who is still living in the house.18 trajectories were then embroidered on the carpet; they are the 18 most significant trajectories undertaken by her during her period of occupancy of the room between 1995 to 2001. 

This was the last room that Saadé occupied in the family home before moving out, at the beginning of her adulthood. The carpet bears the physical traces of the furniture which was kept in the same position for years: the heavy elements – sleeping, sitting, reading and writing apparatuses – now only guessable, left indelible traces on its soft surface. What went on in the room during its occupancy, but also later, the traces of the travels of the body on it and its use of it, is similarly registered in the carpet’s material: wearing, yellowing, stains. Finally, the surface is full, on a subtler and more imperceptible level, with all that happened mentally inside the space: thoughts, feelings, dreams, fears, learning, etc., associated with teenagehood. The room functioned as a shelter, generator and container of all this intimate history, rising and falling back on its absorbing ground.

The time span between1995 to 2001 coincides, on a broader level, with the period succeeding to the end of the Lebanese civil war. During that period it had become easier to circulate in Lebanon and many regions, which used to be inaccessible due to the political situation of the country, had become reachable. Other areas had also become accessible in the sense that they had been constructed or reconstructed and now constituted actual destinations. The work The Encounter of the First and Last Particles of Dust is linked to the notion of displacement in many different ways: the memories attached to the embroidered trajectories intertwine personal stories with the country’s history of that particular time. Their number, 18, evokes the majority, the moment when one legally reaches full freedom of mobility, echoing the freedom of movement reached inside the Lebanese territory. These reminiscences are themselves not considered as fixed moments in time but are associated to motion: trips made but also the movement of memory itself when it travels back in the past.

The trajectories are disseminated on the almost square surface of the carpet; the finely embroidered paths contrast with the rough aspect, outline and back of the surface, which welcomes them. Further away in the exhibition, a necklace, composed of pearls found by chance between 2014 and 2019, hangs on the wall. The necklace is left open, and will be complete when the number of pearls reaches the age of the artist.


About the Artist

Stéphanie Saadé’s work takes as a departure point the moment when one becomes estranged from his surroundings. The artist explores the shape, or the shapes, of distance, and makes them visible, as well as the changes in shape of the individual that goes through this estrangement. A process of Artificial Nostalgia is developed, through which strange locations, familiar to the artist, are assembled. The nature of links is questioned, their persistence or their ephemerality. The created knots and ties form pairs, which never become doubles. Single objects are composed from differences brought together.

Saadé graduated in Fine Arts from the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France and attended a post-graduate program at the China Academy of Arts, Hangzhou, China. She is the 2018-19 recipient of the AFK (Amsterdam Fund for the Arts) 3Package Deal program, a 1 year Interhistoricity scholarship linked to 4 renown museums of the city of Amsterdam. She was an artist in residence at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht, The Netherlands (2014/2015), and the Cité Internationale des arts, Paris, France (2015).

Saadé has had solo exhibitions at Parc Saint Léger and Maison Salvan in France. Her work has also been exhibited at Sharjah Biennale 13, Sharjah, UAE / Museum Schloss Moyland, Bedburg-Hau, Germany / Home Works 7, Beirut, Lebanon / Parc Saint Léger hors les murs, Nevers, France / La Traverse, Centre d'Art Contemporain d'Alfortville, Alfortville, France / MuHKA, Antwerp, Belgium / Marres, Maastricht, The Netherlands / Frieze Art Fair, London, UK / Mosaic Rooms, London, UK / Casa Árabe, Madrid, Spain / Casa Árabe, Cordoba, Spain / La Conservera, Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Murcia, Spain / New Positions, Art Cologne, Cologne, Germany / Van Eyck, Maastricht, The Netherlands / Le 59e Salon de Montrouge, Montrouge, France / Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon / Beirut Exhibition Center, Beirut, Lebanon / A.M. Qattan Foundation, Ramallah, Palestine / Qalandyia International Biennial, Qalandyia, Palestine / Grey Noise, Dubai, UAE / Akinci, Amsterdam, The Netherlands / Anne Barrault, Paris, France.

Stéphanie Saadé is a recipient of the 2018 NADA MIAMI Artadia Art Award.


press release pdf / view show