February 15, – February 25, 2020

Lionel Sabatté and Cima Rahmankhah‘s jungle emerges from the depths of Downtown Los Angeles, an exceedingly industrial and arid area, where unplanned plants and lianas spontaneously grow around concrete highway bridges under which the most vulnerable find shelter. Both artists, using drawing as their medium – Cima on paper on the walls and Lionel with lines of metal scattered through the exhibition space – invite us to enter an environment in which body hair becomes landscapes, where prey animals graze, not exactly at peace.

Using metal rebars as his drawing tool, Sabatté keeps the lightness of his repetitive lines, almost as a quick doodle around which we can walk and wonder. His bestiary for this exhibition brings together fantastic creatures, all evoking herbivores and vulnerable animals, all are potential prey. He transforms urban and economic building materials into interconnected and wild natural biotopes. His research on the mineral, the animal, the organic gives us access to poetic, sensitive and disturbing works that participate in a global reflection on our condition and the place we occupy in our environment.

Sabatté’s practice has always been very influenced by parietal art. Animals have been represented in all civilisations, on multiple supports since the earliest times. Somehow, their representation has always echoed their long lasting relationship to mankind. Animal iconography takes its roots in its strong symbolic charge, a result of both the proximity and distance between man and animal, a source of fascination and fear. It became a genre, evolving at each time within the history of the arts. Claude George Mallet defines the artists quest to “reveal the animal soul”*. This sacralisation of the animal reign has shifted today and Sabatté’s creatures tend to act as mirrors to reveal our own souls. Each of his sculptures is a milestone, staged on cinderblocks, defining a path we are invited to take, almost as voyeur of both their raw vulnerability and strength.

They are surrounded by Rahmankhah’s drawings of body hair, with a direct reference to “L’Origine du monde” by Courbet. The fame of this painting, the fascination it aroused is in part due to its escape of pornographic status thanks to Courbet’s great virtuosity and the refinement of his amber colour scheme, a direct reference to Renaissance Masters as Titian and Veronese. Yet the question of voyeurism remains and by building landscapes with representation of discarded and ignoble bodily waste, Rahmankhah opens a similar path between fascination and disgust. “I’m attracted to things that are neglected – to their otherness” she says. An interest she shares with Sabatté who collects materials that keep the traces of an experience, a living. Both of their work results in a “disturbing strangeness”, in latent violence.

Anna Milone

* Les représentations plastiques de l’animal, Claude-Georges Mallet

Lionel Sabatté. Born in 1975, Toulouse (France). Lives and works in Paris and Los Angeles. Graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2003, Lionel Sabatté has begun a process of collecting materials that keep the traces of an experience, a living: dust, ashes, charcoal, dead skin, tree stumps … These elements are unexpectedly combined and the works thus created carry with them a delicacy but also a “disturbing strangeness”. Practicing both the painting, drawing and sculpture, Lionel Sabatté strives to create a dialogue between all his works in a permanent interconnection. His research on the mineral, the animal, the organic to sum up, gives access to us to a poetic works, sensitive, disturbing and that participate in a global reflection on our condition and the place we occupy in our environment.

Cima Rahmankhah currently lives and works in Los Angeles. She received her MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, in 2012. The following year, she did postgraduate studies at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris. Selected recent solo exhibitions include I Can’t Park Myself at MiM Gallery, Los Angeles, 2016, and Echoes of Many at Agency, Los Angeles, 2015. Her work has also been included in numerous group exhibitions worldwide, such as the Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg; the Fundación Canal de Isabel II, Madrid; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Puerto Rico; and the Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico. Cima’s work has been published in Murder Magazine No. 3 and in New American Paintings. “I’m attracted to things that are neglected – to their otherness.”

Pia Vinson was born and raised in France where she started her training in ballet, tap and contemporary dance. After a few years as a dancer and mime at the Opera National de Montpellier, she moved to New York City in 2011 to enroll in the Professional Training Program at the Martha Graham School. It was there that she started creating her own repertory which has since been showcased in several Festivals around the world. Her work has shared the stage with members of Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Jazz Montréal and the Martha Graham Company. In 2016, Pia relocated to Los Angeles. Since arriving in LA, she has performed for various artists such as Dua Lipa, Vance Joy, Oneohtrix Point Never, Radhouane El Meddeb, Xu Zhen. She has also choreographed for Elohim, Kiyomi, Vérité, Luna Shadows, Danke, ESPN & many other performances.