What we are not able to guess, to see, – or nearly even to touch – in the ceramics of Elsa Sahal’s third personal exhibition at Claudine Papillon Galerie, is that their mineral luster, their tangible weight, the evidence of their presence, are the fruits of a work that is soft and fragile. To say more, their creation is a struggle of manual intellect against collapse.

The clay is a fragile element before experiencing consecutive firings that give a sensual permanence when the vision of the heat (of the hues, of the forms) fights the sensation of the cold (of the material). Elsa Sahal works the clay by slabs; she manipulates vast sheets whose thickness is conditioned by the needs that this material holds, in order to be one with itself. Without respect of physical laws, there is a fold, a fracture, a collapse. Without balance of the forces – the ligaments, the muscles, and the thought of the artist, the weight, the density, the texture of the stoneware – the nothingness settles again at the primitive center of the acting creation.

This duplicity duly placed in the stakes of creation, we clearly understand the ins and outs of its results. Through three distinct approaches, Elsa Sahal presents us three different examinations of the divided representation – in other words, the "square root of the representation."

"Her Arlequins" of soft colors, bent by drawings of a diamond pattern in their raised flesh, are equally precious and gold leafed as they are miserable in their acrobatic status. A harlequin: it's not serious, it comes from nowhere, except for its prestigious painting reference; it's nomadic. It is without origin, like the Wandering Jew with his crazy and wise stories. But these harlequins are headless, and contrary of certain Saints of the church statuary; they don't even hold their heads under their arms. Nonsensical, maybe without head, but not without end.

As black as these figures are pastel, as somber as they are exuberant, "The Autels" are the counterpoint, the continuo. We have to slow down when we meet these altars; the tempo changes. The trip ends in front of the support of reflection that offers their fragile twisting swelling, their metaphysical branches, their miniscule allegorical accessories. The artist created them with basic gestures: rolling, digging; some vanities are born by this economy of gestures. We can plunge ourselves in their contemplation as we used to do when we were children, in front of "scholar rocks" (stones on pedestals), whose scale was multiplied by 100, by 1000, by the imagination of the observer. Or yet like curiosity cabinets of the Renaissance, we compared the fanciful entities but soon realized that their nature opposed the pride of a booming culture.

Finally, "The Equilibres," the virtuous interlocking of gravity and tension, the recomposing of the human organism that modernity decomposed. Like the letters of a palindrome, the distinct elements of bodily flesh stopped in their trajectories are to give proof of a simple impulse: the realism of Elsa Sahal isn't an obedience of formal public opinion. It is in her temporary fidelity felt by the organs, in her ardent desire of meeting the unknown, the challenge, in her touch, which dictates sound to the material: listen to it and let it guide.

On the second floor of the gallery, we can see the exquisite first draft of the Fountain that Elsa Sahal thought and realized for the Tuileries in the context of the outdoor projects for FIAC. A marvelous discovery of ceramics was found in the original foundation of the garden. The ceramist Bernard Palissy, their author, is the founder of the pre-modern practice of ceramics and inventor of an overflowing wildlife aesthetic and visionary; Elsa Sahal merits to declare herself an inheritor of his practices.