Chrysalis: Lionel Sabatté

Press release
Cuturi Gallery is delighted to present Chrysalis by world-renowned contemporary and multi-disciplinary artist, Lionel Sabatté  (b. 1975, France). This marks the gallery’s third exhibition at Cromwell Place and Sabatté’s debut in the United Kingdom. The show presents Sabatté’s new body of works, comprising multi-media paintings and bronze sculptures.
Sabatté’s work explores life, the transformation of matter, and the passage of time through a range of different mediums such as paintings, metal panels, sculptures, paper and installations. Known for his use of unconventional materials such as dust, dead skin, Pu’er tea and coins, his works are often defined as poetic, sensitive, humane yet unsettling. This allows the audience to reflect on the human condition and its impact on the world. Sabatté's most emblematic works include La Meute (2011), which depicts a wolf pack solely created by the dust gathered from the Paris Metro and was first presented at the Natural History Museum in Paris. Additionally, his magnificent concrete sculptures were created in situ in some of the most beautiful prehistoric caves found in France.
Chrysalis unveils a new body of work that is representative of the progression of Sabatté’s artistic practice as an oil painter by incorporating a new material to his paintings: silk. He frequently mentions that paint is derived from petrol, which is essentially the result of the fossilization of dead organisms over millions of years. He refers to his paintings as a reflection and celebration of the living. The title of the show, Chrysalis, alludes to the metaphorical life-cycle of a butterfly and the addition of silk to the painting represents the act of transformation and rebirth, bringing a new form and meaning. Silk has played an important role in the history of human civilisation. Originating from China, silk became the most exported material across the globe allowing for rich exchanges of cultures. 
The discarded silk incorporated into the works gives it a new life which results in a series of large abstract paintings that convey an ethereal complexity and texture through strong effects of light. These paintings, according to Sabatté, are inspired by historical still life. Presently exhibited at the Louvre, The Ray (1728) by Jean Simeon Chardin, in particular, left an impression on the artist. Although critics frequently neglected it because of its visceral aspect, many artists, such as Henri Matisse, admired it. Sabatté expressed that the painting is a great allegory for life and metamorphosis that almost embodies eternity. 
Lionel Sabatté graduated from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 2003 and has since received several artistic prizes including the Award of painting from the Del Luca Foundation in 2019 and the Award from the association « Les Amis de la Maison Rouge - Fondation Antoine de Galbert » in 2018, the Drawing Now Prize in 2017 and the Beijing Yishu 8 Prize in 2011.
Chrysalis will be on view at Cromwell Place, London from 13 to 26 March 2023.
Installation Views