Uniting in Breath: Sarah Brahim’s Flesh Memory at the Richard Mille Art Prize 2023 | Savoir Flair
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Uniting in Breath: Sarah Brahim’s Flesh Memory at the Richard Mille Art Prize 2023
article RICHARD MILLE
by Assele Kahwaji 3-minute read February 26, 2024

Sarah Brahim transforms algae into art with Flesh Memory.

Suspended over the courtyard pool of the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Flesh Memory intertwines its surroundings with a play of light, wind, water, and reflections. Crafted by visual artist Sarah Brahim, a finalist in the Richard Mille Art Prize 2023, Flesh Memory responds to this year’s theme of ‘Transparencies’ through the essence of breath—an unseen force that connects all life across generations.

Constructed from a biomaterial derived from algae, the artwork serves as a testament to the origins of breath. Algae, with its unique photosynthetic abilities, produces the oxygen vital for terrestrial life, contributing to the living memory that sustains all existence. Once its life as an artwork is complete, the material seamlessly returns to the earth, symbolizing the cyclical nature of life and regeneration.

A Saudi visual and performance artist, Brahim is renowned for her immersive video installations that delve into the experiences of the body. Her multidisciplinary approach explores somatic gestures as a language to express themes of grief, metamorphosis, the unseen form, and our relationship with the natural world.

img RICHARD MILLE

For Brahim, breath is not merely a physiological function but a conduit of ancestral lineage and shared experience. "Flesh memory," as she defines it, encapsulates the amalgamation of conscious and unconscious experiences acquired through genetics, osmosis, and the environment. It embodies the essence of our being, akin to the timeless transmissions of breath that link back to the very first life form on earth. 

As time passes, Flesh Memory will begin to disintegrate, returning to its elemental state. This decay embodies the transient nature of existence, highlighting the impermanence of life and art. With its full disappearance, it emphasizes the fleeting yet profound impact of art on our collective consciousness, leaving behind the echoes of its message long after its physical form has vanished.

Visit the captivating 'Transparencies' Art Prize exhibition at Louvre Abu Dhabi, open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 8:30pm until March 31st, 2024.

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