Petrograd 1996

Saban, Ody

The abiding themes in Saban’s work are the sea and the erotic (she says, ‘Historically, love belongs to the Orient’), which taken together perform a hermetic, oceanic world in which the concept of the fluid is both literal and a powerful metaphor. Embracing or copulating couples are often the major compositional element, their bodies forming a cross whose diagonals signify multiplication. The lovers and the space around them are characteristically filled with living objects that enact the fulfilment of their own desires, and all is seemingly in a state of flux and renascence; flowers are eyes, lakes are cheeks, landscapes are bodies, sexual organs are plants. It is important to recognise that this is a mere artistic conceit, for Saban presents the viewer rather with what she has seen to be true: ‘My art is magic art. I am a shaman, a seer. I am in continual metamorphosis… I transform myself. For example, I feel a flower. I enter into its skin and regard the world through it, just like I enter into the skin of someone else’.