Basement Roma – Roma (Italia)
Febbraio-Settembre 2023

Basement Roma, the project led by CURA. since 2012, announces the opening of its new Rome-based exhibition space, with the first solo exhibition in Italy by French artist Sara Sadik, Xenon Palace: Crystal Zastruga, a multi-media installation resembling a futuristic hookah lounge.

Xenon Palace is a place far from the real world, a smoky environment, inhabited by fantastic creatures, the Xenons, which appear from the fumes of hookahs. Here the artist explores the magical dimension of childhood that takes shape in adulthood, through an immersive surrounding, crossed by a big inflatable sitting, that takes us into the suspended universe of Zetrei, the main character, played by Émile-Samory Fofana. Zetrei is a lonely man who has lost his family and friends, forced to live in a foreign 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.

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. Here, amid the hallucinogenic visions of smoke, Zetrei plunges into the dimension of Crystal Zastruga, a snowy landscape dotted with icy crystals, in which his journey is fulfilled.

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.

“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. The cultural and religious repression of the Islamophobic society not only aims to exclude but also to foreclose any feeling of community conveyed by symbolism.” (Félix Boggio Éwanjé-Épée and Stella Magliani-Belkacem in Sara Sadik, CURA. 38, The Generational Issue, Spring Summer 2022­.)

Born by a collaboration among private and public 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.

With Sara Sadik’s exhibition and the opening of its new space, Basement Roma celebrates ten years of exhibition programming. Conceived as a physical extension of the editorial activity carried out by CURA., Basement Roma focuses on the research of the new generations of international artists, new media, digital culture, and new languages, confirming its interest in the most current proposals of the contemporary art scene.

Basement Roma’s new graphic identity and website are designed by Dan Solbach (with Emma Kouassi).

Sara Sadik, Xenon Palace: Crystal Zastruga curated by CURA. in joint curatorship with Kunsthalle Lissabon.

Basement Roma: February 22–April 28, 2023

French Academy in Rome–Villa Medici: April 26, 27, 28, 2023

Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon: June 28–September 2, 2023

In partnership with: French Academy in Rome–Villa Medici, Kunsthalle Lissabon, Crèvecoeur, Paris. The exhibition is produced by Basement Roma thanks to the support of: Francesco Della Rovere, Ghella S.p.A, Marval Collection, Soft:Art.

Founders and curators: Ilaria Marotta, Andrea Baccin

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). In 2023, Sara will be part of L’Almanach 23, Le Consortium, Dijon (FR).