Eustache: Denis Savary

30 - 31 August 2019 Galerie Maria Bernheim | Zurich

Galerie Maria Bernheim is delighted to announce a 24 hour solo presentation by Denis Savary for its last iteration in its space on Limmatstrasse before relocating in October 2019 to its new location on Rämistrasse 31 in Zurich.


The series of work entitled “Eustache” presents 3 sculptural diptychs composed of an abstraction of a leather sleeping dog combined with a flying kite in space. As pointed out by Paul Bernard, their hunched figures evoke piles of stones, a gathering of clouds, heavy yet the material – leather – adds a softness that appeals to the viewer’s need to touch, almost to verify if the dog is indeed sleeping.  In contradiction, the kite has the lightness of the wind, the elegance of a stained glass window, ready to take flight within the space of the gallery. The rigid structure and primary colors reference an idea of hard-edge abstraction, but it is within this formal opposition that the dichotomy of feeling is its strongest. If the image of a sleeping dog evokes a calm and warm interior, the kite references outdoor activities and windy afternoons. The soft stack or pile and the window, shapelessness and concreteness, phlegmatic folds and tensed fabric: the space that is cohabited here would be one of a thwarted weightlessness, a weak gravity, of an unstable surface. A space lacking boundaries, somewhere between domestic interior and the great outdoors, “Eustache” displays a wish to circumvent the laws of gravity. 


Savary’s work is known for its references to multiple layers of culture and history. Eustache is also a saint and known as one of the great Martyrs. According to tradition, prior to his conversion to Christianity, Eustace was a Roman general named Placidus, who served the emperor Trajan. While hunting a stag Placidus saw a vision of a crucifix lodged between the stag's antlers. He was immediately converted, had himself and his family baptized, and changed his name to Eustace. A series of calamities followed to test his faith: his wealth was stolen; his servants died of a plague; when the family took a sea-voyage, the ship's captain kidnapped Eustace's wife Theopista; and as Eustace crossed a river with his two sons Agapius and Theopistus, the children were taken away by a wolf and a lion. Like Job, Eustace lamented but did not lose his faith. Eustace became known as a patron saint of hunters and firefighters, and also of anyone facing adversity.

The dog presents a metaphor of Eustache, who through hardships, kept his faith and eventually managed to take flight to his destiny. 


Denis Savary has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions in international institutions and recently at the Musée de la Chaux de Fonds, Museo Pietro Canonica, Rome and MAMCO in Geneva. 


For further information, please do not hesitate to contact:

+41 78 716 14 15