Stéphanie Sautenet

Stéphanie Sautenet is so inspired when she speaks of her work that it is difficult for me to write other words than her own here. She says she apprehends drawing like a blind person. This conveys both the notion of always beginning anew and the fear of the unexplored. The fear is that of each drawing as a trace of a journey between the world of death and that of the living. She goes on to specify “every drawing is a mask, a window onto death.” I wrote that she “specifies,” but when she draws or writes, Stéphanie Sautenet complicates as she specifies. Traces are also a mask; drawing reveals and conceals. This known paradox did not prepare us for the one with which she immediately follows it: a window open onto death. In the imaginary worlds of peoples who sought to represent them, the world of death is underground, with only sterile light or earth. For Stéphanie Sautenet, death is airy and the dead float in the light. No hell, only sky? The line of her pencil is light but with the precision of a scalpel that flays alive. Sensuality and pain. Except that recalling the tradition of vanitas, death is not in the drawing but surrounds it. She draws life of extreme intensity, human and animal combined, but a life that is threatened, the life of the saturated work unable to withstand another scratch. We find again the density of the drawing in Stéphanie Sautenet’s poetic writing. On her site, a poem of hers where the Bernard Noël of “skin and words” could recognize a soulmate. Sublime. And she signs it “Ssoloeil,” far from the grave.

Patrick Cady

Stéphanie Sautenet – Bacchanales