The Encounter of the First and Last Particles of Dust

  • VENUE: Grey Noise, Unit 24, Alserkal Avenue, Street 8, Al Quoz 1, Dubai, UAE
  • START: 11:00 AM
  • END: 07:00 PM
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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 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 family home. She went back at the end of the year of 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 on 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 between 1995 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 more accessible. 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 history 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.