Sara Sadik

Xenon Palace: Crystal Zastruga

February 22 — April 21, 2023

Basement Roma is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in Italy of the French artist Sara Sadik, Xenon Palace: Crystal Zastruga.

Born by a wide collaboration between public and private institutions, Sara Sadik’s exhibition will then move to the French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici, with a three-day performance (April 2023) before moving—with a second chapter of the show—to the Kunsthalle Lissabon at the end of June 2023.

Xenon Palace: Crystal Zastruga is a multimedia installation resembling a futuristic hookah lounge, a place far from the real world where the artist explores the magical dimension of childhood that takes shape in adulthood. Xenon Palace: Crystal Zastruga is a parallel and somewhat hallucinogenic world inhabited by fantastic smoky creatures, the Xenons, which appear from the fumes of hookahs. Through an immersive environment, packed with videos and sculptures, the exhibition takes us into the suspended dimension of Zetrei, the main character, played by Émile-Samory Fofana: a lonely man who has lost his family and friends, forced to live in a foreign, dystopian and alienated world, and that only by spending his days at Xenon Palace finds his haven of peace, capable of soothing the loneliness and sadness of his own existence.

“When speaking of Sara Sadik’s work, there is often talk of beurcore: in a sense, a reinvention of Afrofuturism based on the experiences and cultural references associated with the Maghrebin diasporas. But care should be taken not to reduce her work to an aestheticizing of urban cultures. This bias constantly threatens contemporary art by acting as a passageway between marginal or peripheral modes of life and the universe of commerce or publicity. How to pay justice to such work without tumbling into a descriptive exercise or a sociological explanation?” (Félix Boggio Éwanjé-Épée and Stella Magliani-Belkacem, Sara Sadik, CURA. 38, The Generational Issue, Spring-Summer 2022.)

Clearly focused on the themes of integration, identity, and marginalization in a still deeply discriminating society, Sara Sadik’s work features some of the central themes of social policies centered on institutionalized racism and its process of de-symbolization.

“The cultural and religious repression of the Islamophobic republic not only aims to exclude but also to foreclose any feeling of community conveyed by symbolism. This is the objective when the right-wing evokes so virulently and obscenely a Judaeo-Christian society: while the dominant benefit from a symbolic set of references, the oppressed are condemned to being stereotypes.” (Ibid.)

Halfway between fiction and documentary, everyday experiences, biography, video games, science fiction and French rap, Sara Sadik’s work creates initiatory stories in which young characters move eagerly within an identity process of physical and mental transformation.

Sara Sadik was born in 1994. She lives and works in Marseille. Recent exhibitions include Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (DE); Biennale de Lyon (FR); Crèvecœur, Paris (FR); CAC Brétigny (FR); Manifesta 13, Marseilles (FR). Her work is included in various institutional collections, including Fonds de dotation Famille Moulin / Fondation Lafayette Anticipations, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, Centre National des Arts Plastiques. In 2023, Sara will be part of L’Almanach 23, Le Consortium, Dijon (FR).

February 21, 2023
Soho House Rome
The Art Room 02: Sara Sadik in conversation with curator Martha Kirszenbaum
(Soho House members and guest list only)

February 22, 2023
Basement Roma
Sara Sadik, Xenon Palace: Crystal Zastruga
Through April 21, 2023

April 26–28, 2023
French Academy in Rome – Villa Medici

June 28–September 2, 2023
Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon

In collaboration with
French Academy – Villa Medici
Kunsthalle Lissabon
Crèvecoeur Paris
Soho House Rome

All images:
Sara Sadik, Xenon Palace: Crystal Zastruga, 2023
Installation view Basement Roma, 2023
Courtesy: the artist and Crèvevoeur Paris
Commissioned by Basement Roma
Photo: Roberto Apa