Fondazione ICA Milano | CHRISTINE SAFA. C’era l’acqua, ed io da sola

Fondazione ICA Milano

Fondazione ICA Milano 




C’era l’acqua, ed io da sola

Curated by Alberto Salvadori

January 18 – March 6, 2022

Fondazione ICA Milano presents, from Tuesday, January 18 until Sunday, March 6, 2022, C’era l’acqua, ed io da sola, the first solo exhibition in Italy by Christine Safa (France, 1994) curated by Alberto Salvadori. Installed on the first floor of the Fondazione, the exhibition presents a selection of new paintings by Christine Safa. Born in France to Lebanese parents, Safa graduated in 2018 from the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where she currently lives and works.

Her practice is informed by her Lebanese roots, and more specifically by her connection to Beirut, where she spent long periods during her childhood and where she frequently returns to visit. Her paintings, which are characterized by their juxtapositions of light, shape, and color, speak of family and home from a distant and longing perspective. Aiming to convey remembered sensations and stories retold orally by her parents, Safa integrates family memories with extensive research in her practice. Her sources include geopolitical texts, poetry, essays, and her travels in the Middle East.

In addition to conveying a sense of home, Safa seeks to represent unique elements of the landscape and atmosphere encountered in Lebanon, focusing on a geographical uniqueness of light and air as it envelops faces and bodies, and as it is reflected by, or submerged in, the Mediterranean Sea. Visually manifesting a poetic layering of memory, the colors she utilizes are her own creations, treating several pigments and marble powders, and developing stratifications of color in order to reach the final result. In the same way, the artist’s works are marked by her ability to portray indefinable and evanescent images, as if in a dream or memory.

The paintings in the exhibition have been chosen by the artist for their synesthetic ability to speak to language, representing at once the possibility to decipher and decode disparate systems of communication. In Safa’s works, the faces of the canvases become the landscape itself, acquiring an eternal connotation. Elegiac references to Lebanon, Safa’s country of origin, shine through the idea of a Middle Eastern atmosphere and light, which seems to belong to a given memory that she now also owns and share.