Born 1959 in Brazzaville, Congo, Olivier de Sagazan is a French artist, painter, sculptor and performer. His work typically involves building layers of clay and paint onto his own face and body, transforming his own identity and revealing a half human, half animal seeking to understand his true nature. In Transfiguration he breaks down barriers between the physical and spiritual senses. "I was born in Africa, and have often been asked what aspects of my performance relate to my country of birth and its culture. I believe it is a question of engagement and authenticity: in black Africa, art objects such as masks or fetishes – as well as certain dances are acts of survival in order to connect with the spirits to ask their favours. I don’t believe in spirits or other worlds, but conversely for me a performance is a vital gesture in that it represents a means to question my identity in the world. I want to reveal all the enigma of a face, and thus of the Being which animates it. For me, disfigurement in art isn’t a hostile act towards life: conversely, the effacement is a measure of loss and the transformation a measure of strength."
Olivier's performance, "Transfiguration" was first shown in 1998 at Galerie Marie Vitoux (Paris). Since then, he has performed it more than 300 times in 25 different countries.
Many artists collaborated with Olivier for a new creation inspired by his performance "Tranfiguration".
Olivier de Sagazan