Fondazione ICA Milano presents, from Tuesday 18 January to Sunday 6 March 2022, the exhibition There was water, and I alone, the first Italian solo show by Christine Safa (France, 1994) curated by Alberto Salvadori.
Set up on the first floor of the Foundation, the exhibition includes a selection of unpublished works by Christine Safa, a Lebanese painter who graduated from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, where she still lives and works.
His work is influenced by his frequent trips to Lebanon, and in particular by his connection with Beirut, where he spent a lot of time in childhood and where he often returns. His paintings, characterized by juxtapositions of light, shapes, and colors, tell of a familiar and intimate dimension from a poetic and melancholy perspective, almost distant.
Through his art, the artist tries to appropriate a story handed down orally by his parents. Safa, in fact, integrates family memories with assiduous research, countless readings of geopolitical works and travels to the Middle East, to discover and understand Lebanon, which he loves and wants to know.
In addition to the transmission of his origins, Safa tries to represent unique elements of the landscape and atmosphere he encountered in his travels in Lebanon, focusing on the geographical uniqueness of light and air that envelop faces and bodies, in turn reflected, or submerged, by the Mediterranean Sea.
The importance given by the artist to the transmission of oral history also accompanies another fundamental element in his artistic practice, that of stratification. In fact, Safa's painting is constituted as a stratification of memory, which at the same time becomes the working process itself. The colors used are created and composed by her: starting from a base, the artist uses various pigments and marble powders, working on multiple layers of color to achieve the final result.
Just like in oral history, this stratification has the power to modify the narrative system by acting on the cancellation of the word, reactivating lost nuances and sometimes giving it different declinations up to the very change of the expressive code. In the same way, Safa's painting is altered through a pictorial method capable of making the images almost remote, indefinable and evanescent, as in a dream or in a memory.