Sabine Darrigan

Born in 1924 - France


biography under completion

She was born in 1924 into a prosperous Basque family in the Landes District of France and grew up there and in Paris, where her father was a banker, later living with her father for a time in Algeria. Orphaned while she was still in her teens, she was dispatched by an uncle to learn home economics with the nuns of St. Paul in Chartres, having earlier failed to earn her baccalaureat. Upon graduating she taught in a college for girls, creating a course in which she taught her pupils to make marionettes. Her career followed a curious trajectory, taking her to Denmark where an introduction to Queen Frederika led to her teaching French to the Princess Margaret. While instructing the princess she simultaneously did a designer training course with the Copenhagen couture house, Vangh and emerged as a designer of hats.
When she returned to Paris a year later, she set up her own atelier. She began designing “dinner hats” which soon attracted a following among the fashionable women of Paris. Even as she was becoming a successful designer of hats, her career as an artist was already beginning to evolve.
The first public showing of her art came about almost by accident, when a friend asked her to design a Christmas window for Hermes in 1955. Two years later her masks were on exhibit at the prestigious Galerie de l’Opera alongside Jean Cocteau.

"Where does it come from, this magic alchemy which transforms couturier silks and flea market treasures into exotic beings which seem to come from the realm of the supernatural? For Sabine, it comes from the materials themselves. Like Michelangelo, who believed that each piece of marble he worked contained a figure waiting to be born, Sabine came to feel that the materials of her work as a milliner—the fabrics and feathers, the ribbons and beads—had secret lives of their own, that they, too, were waiting to be transformed into works of art through the medium of her own skillful hands.
Her works have been called “automatic sculptures,” hearkening back to the surrealists whose aim was to create works of art directly from the subconscious, without resorting to conscious thought. Working with no preconceived idea of what she wishes to achieve, she allows her silks and embroideries, jet necklaces and beaded purses, fringes and feathers, to choose each other, to leave their “world of silence” and, through the conduit of her artistry, to be made manifest as “faces strange and secret”, beings which seem almost alive…
Objects of profound mystery which intrigue and entice with promises of supernatural wisdom, the sculptures of Sabine Darrigan stand parallel to the sacred figures of the world’s exotic places, from Africa to Afghanistan, Bukhara or Bali. Like these, they seem to have been born from the depths of the collective unconscious of humanity itself. And like them they reveal the universal human subtext which underlies all our differences and which now, more than ever, we ignore at our own peril.” Kate Jenkins, 2015.

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Expositions personnelles :

2015 Outsider Art Fair Paris, Galerie Claire Corcia.
Figures d’ailleurs, Mairie du 8e arrondissement, Paris.
2010 Galerie Treize, Rennes.
2000 Galerie Lina Davidov, Paris
1997 Galerie Treize, Rennes
1996 Galerie Suzelle Berna, Paris
1992 Galerie « A l’Arcade Colette », Paris
1990 Galerie l’Ecluse, Paris

Expositions de groupe:

1989 Galerie l’Ecluse, Paris
1957 Galerie de l’Opéra, Paris, exposition avec Jean Cocteau.

Films :

Emissions réalisées en 1990 par Antenne 2 et par FR3
Films de Karine Zibaut : « Les 77 » et « Haut les masques », 2015.

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