Born in Iran in 1955
Lives and works in Paris
After studying painting at the University of Tehran, Narmine Sadeg moved to Paris in 1977, and continued her studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, at the Sorbonne, and at the Paris-Diderot University. A former student of Christian Boltanski at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, she was, in the late 1980s, interested in multi-disciplinary installations.
In the early 1990s she showed her work at the Galerie Giovanna Minelli in Paris, which also represented Thomas Struth, Willie Doherty, Craigie Horsfield, Jean-Luc Moulène and Olivier Blanckart.
In 1992-3 she was awarded the Villa Médicis hors les murs prize. This enabled her to make several visits to the United States. While there she worked on a huge video installation project entitled Tell Me About Art, midway between art installation and documentary film. She was also artist-in-residence at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she continued her investigations into the field of digital art. During a decade, from 1994 onwards, she concentrated on projects that made use of new media. However, her interest in materials finally led her back once again to sculpture, installation and painting.
Her recent work consists of mobile sculptures. These are half human beings, half toys, apparently delicately balanced. They evoke moments of suspense, of waiting for something to happen.
Narmine Sadeg’s work has been shown in a number of solo and collective exhibitions, in France and elsewhere, most notably at the Galerie Giovanna Minelli in Paris, at the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the Centre d’Art Contemporain de la Villa Arson in Nice, and at the Galerie Basilisk in Copenhagen.
Since 2001, Narmine Sadeg has been professor of visual arts at the University of Bordeaux III.
At first glance, Narmine Sadeg’s life-size dolls, installed on a steel tube that is thrust through their bodies and ready to sway back and forth with a single push, evoke a feeling of playfulness.
This feeling, however, fades with time. The dolls seem calm and resolute, but their movement is limited and they can do nothing about it – their situation seems tragic. “In my work,” Sadeg says, “I am interested in modes of display that limit the movements of my characters, constrain their actions, and force them to repeat themselves.”
Narmine Sadeg’s work does not reflect specifically Iranian traits, but offers a consideration of the human condition in a larger sense. Held by the rod that displays them, her characters are silent and reclusive, watching the world from a distance. If we look for what is Iranian in this work, we should perhaps look at the life of the artist herself – at the things that have influenced her concerns. Had she not been born Iranian, and without the events that have affected the recent history of Iran, would the same questions have emerged?