Odette Eid | My Heads
I have known Odette Eid for many years and have followed her artistic route throughout this period. She has significantly surpassed her previous work, with the joviality and humour that have always been peculiar to her, further blooming in this translated phase, especially through the Heads. Odette has found, along her sculpture route, a direct contact with her hands, thereby handling a wide range of different materials such as plaster, wire, evocative pieces reminiscent of clothes used by dear ones. The head was made to think, meditate, imagine and invoke. This is the summary of everything in our lives.
Odette Eid | My Heads
No matter how much I have been following Odette Eid’s work over the years, her most recent creation still comes as a surprise. His “Heads” show the full maturity of his work, and maybe also the best of it. How can one not appreciate these forms which are the same time minimalist and exuberant, or the expressions of these creatures which look at us with an ironic and mocking look, often with seduction in the air or even a falsely sulky pout? I liked them, and liked them very much. Heads are no new development along Odette’s path, being repeated in her works in bronze, isolated or more often brought together in a tense manner in groups representing memories, two sisters, men of my life, a cry for freedom, or even the creation of Humanity. In the repeat expression of the movement that animates these sculptures, these show themselves, in their own way, to be like avatars of creation of cloth creatures more likely to show feelings and emotions, denouncing the duality and the tension of opposites. This is what is present, for example, in the men’s and women’s figurines swallowed up by an immense and voracious mouth, open on both sides, created under the inspiration of an old work by Salvador Dalí. The novelty, therefore, is not the issue or the subject addressed in the work project, but rather the extraordinary synthesis that this new Heads series presents to us. Before, they were part of distinct groups, coexisting under conditions of inequality: on the one hand “serious sculpture” and, on the other, the most free and playful sculptures and free conditions, which, however, some people considered just as a form of “handicrafts”… He acted with the competence that the new technique and the knowledge of his profession, these new paper and plastic heads are moulded as very light sculpted pieces, maybe reminiscent of the works of Picasso, in its asymmetry and the distortion of its shapes and, if there is no presentation of other characteristics to be remembered, then, in indicative mood, this would indicate vague burlesque masks of a Brazilian puppet theatre (mamulengo) or a sea horse. This is because the masks, as they disguise, also reveal what is hidden behind them. And it is in this playful spirit of popular masks that Odette’s Heads show us the full extent of the freedom which has been achieved through her creation. It was not enough to create the sculpted form: it was necessary to paint it and then enrich it with ornaments so that its true expression could be complete. Thus came into the scene everything that she had at home or that she could find, such as wool, ropes, buttons, strands of tapestry, fringes, lacework, chains, ear-rings and necklaces in costume jewellery, wire strands and minute metallic plaques, and a profusion of old items of knitwear and other fine fabrics. Lace of a wedding dress, silk bought for a party but which is too ostentatious for sober tastes and hence never used (but now patiently cut out to be part of nearly all heads), an embroidery on grooved cotton which one day was part of a coat within a bridal trousseau and many other types of fabric, of gala and party use, offered by her friends; everything scattered around Odette, to allow her to choose each type of fabric or ornament based on the textures and/or the combination of colours… Everything is done without premeditation, from the expressive painting in plaster through to the final assembly of the heads, with the happiness and the grave seriousness with which a child immerses itself into a toy… The way they are made, these Heads get closer not only to sculptures and the fabric dolls of the previous production, as also, especially, in large figures of a Nativity scene which Odette had created some time ago, and in which she showed the same, taking care of the production of her clothes. In particular, they appear to one of the Wise Men, all in white and with subtle ornaments, with clothes made out of simple fabric, as is convenient for the humility of the Mother of God; however, St Joseph brings a head covered by the traditional striped handkerchief which is a Palestinian national symbol… “I got my own back, didn’t I?”, says Odette, crafty, on showing images of these pieces… The fact is that none of these changes are at random. Condensed, the figures of the Nativity Scene may now be reduced only to heads, without any loss of expression, as a summary of an experience of life. When, at the age of 60, Odette could finally dedicate herself to her passion for art, which has always been part of her life, she managed to get emancipation and realisation which are now mirrored in her serene maturity. Recently, to a person who asked her about the technical details of the production of her Heads, Odette wisely replied: “First you need to meet this 85-year-old woman, as you will not understand my work unless you know me”. She is partly right. Here, creatures are dissociable from the people who raise them, and each of these Heads, each one different, free from the interweaving in which they found themselves in sculptures and cash dolls, gained full autonomy and can now express delicate hues representing states of spirit, bringing back, in the remains of beautiful fabric of the past, remnants of history, fragments of memory, feelings, fantasies and dreams that now seem to have found a definite place in Odette’s soul. However, one would be very mistaken in expecting to see in her the representation of the “elderly woman” she says she is. A serene happiness of accomplishments also oozes from the bubbliness of a young girl, and magnetifies the Heads, with full awareness of own power. “At this age, I don’t think we need to please anyone. I do what I like and what gives me pleasure”. Did you like it? Liked it? Didn’t like it? Would you have liked it?” This is the lesson of serenity and wisdom that is transmitted by these pieces of extraordinary creativity, by Odette Eid
Odette Eid | My Heads
“With her forefathers settled in the distant Middle East, Odette sends to us, through their heads, the happiness and drama of short life on the big screen.” José.” José Nêumanne Pinto.
At the opening of the exhibition, there shall be a launch about the series It All Started in the 1980s, with intriguing cloth dolls, but, soon afterwards, Odette Eid (born in the Lebanon, 1922, comes to Brazil in 1925) went to master bronze sculpture, attending the studios of Domenico Calabrone and Elvio Beccheroni, with drawings by Odetto Guersoni. Next, there were several additional courses, many exhibitions in Brazil and abroad, and the prizes. Now, at the tender age of 85, taking up once again her primitive style of language, Odette conceives the Heads, from which her artistic maturity arises. This new series is showcased at the Estação Art Gallery, and there is a book version to be launched at the opening night of this event, with texts by Janete Costa, José Nêumanne Pinto, Marcelo Araújo, Paulo Vasconcellos, Ricardo Ohtake and Antônio Hélio Cabral (with the takings being reverted in favour of the Sírio e Libanês Hospital).
There are 32 female creatures that remind one of surrealist metamorphoses and also the naïve expressions of popular dolls. In common there is freedom, the capacity for transformation so as to install new vocabulary segments. “With the competence that the technique and the flavour of the post, she moulds these new paper heads and plaster items in sculpture, that could remind one of Picasso, with the signature and the distortion of his shapes, and if there were no other characteristics to remind us as well, in indicative mood, we would be reminded of vague burlesque masks of a Brazilian puppet show or a Sea Horse”, Janete Costa explains. The “Heads” series, according to Marcelo Araújo., “is very similar to the Guignol puppet show, encouraged by an interior force that seems to explode with vitality”. Each one, after being moulded and painted, receives a host of adornments that the artist places around it, to tell different stories with wool, ropes, buttons, strands of tapestry wire, lacework, chains, bracelets and necklaces in costume jewellery, wires and other fine fabric, such as a lace used in a wedding dress, a silk item bought for party clothes, and the like. “Everything is done without premeditation, from the expressive painting of the plaster to the final assembly of the heads, with the happiness and the grave seriousness with which a child dedicates itself to a toy”, affirms Janete Costa. In these work projects, Odette Eid invites the spectator to pore over the enigma of the faces. The Heads have expressions which reveal, hide, provide fun, share, ironise, and also intimidate, and hence it shall also, in some cases, to be difficult even to face them. Who knows why the artist, in this “great play activity”, places us before ourselves.
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