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It's a numbers game, Hady Sy


Du 07/03/2024 à 17:00 jusqu'au 13/04/2024 à 17:00

This monumental project develops the artists long term fascination with the numeral world, and explores a myriad of culturally significant numbers, striking a careful balance between the personal and symbolic to explore the delicate ways in which form informs meaning. 


At the moment of the devastating Beirut port explosion Sy looked up to see 6.09 on the clock on the wall. Here, a personal moment of revelation is transformed into a sculptural form, providing for the viewer an explorable, almost tangible space between signifier and experience.


From everyday transactions to the unforgiving face of war, and from search engines to medicine, Sy argues that numbers have come to represent, even subsume, individuals. In this context, Sy’s aim is humanizing, drawing attention to the way that numbers operate throughout human life, and how the stories that ground them can bring forward the human in the machine. Seen from this perspective, perhaps we have become that liminal space between signifier and experience opened by Sy through his numeric concentration. 


In any case, absurdity is key, and as testament to this, Sy’s huge statement sculpture of the number googol is its clearest form. Written as the digit one followed by one hundred zeros, the googol is perhaps the largest number, and was inspiration for the name of google, the infamous search engine. Sy’s representation of the googol in sculptural form is a testament to the banal absurdity of numeric order in the face of human life.


Hady Sy, born in Beirut in 1964, is a French-Senegalese multidisciplinary artist known for shedding light on social, existential, and geopolitical issues through the lens of intense idealistic humanism. His upbringing in Beirut, influenced by his progressive Lebanese mother and his father, the first Senegalese Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, shaped a multicultural and open-minded environment that profoundly impacted his artistic perspective. 


After completing his Bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts at Beirut University College in 1984, Sy moved to France, earning a Master’s degree at the École Française des Attachés de Presse (EFAP) Image et Media and started a DESS in political science at Sorbonne University. In 1988, he founded the International Festival of Fashion Photography and served as its creative director for a decade.


Relocating to New York in 1996, Sy founded H Design Studio, collaborating with notable clients such as the CFDA, Conde Nast, UNEP, Yves Saint Laurent, Karl Lagerfeld, Canon, Kodak, and Cipriani. Witnessing the events of September 11, 2001, in New York City, prompted him to create two impactful exhibitions: In God We Trust (2004) and Not For Sale (2007). These exhibitions, using X-ray prints, explored themes of identity, race, religion, and war, ultimately advocating for tolerance. Not for Sale was acquired by the Fonds National d’Art Contemporain permanent collection in France. 


Sy’s One Blood project (2009-13) took him to 79 countries to photograph 546 blood donors, presenting their portraits in a multimedia installation at Visa pour l’Image in Perpignan, France. The project transformed individual portraits into a common denominator of humankind, displayed alongside bags of donated blood.


In 2017, Sy presented Sifr, reflecting on the value and nature of currency in contemporary society. This project included the creation of zero-dollar bills to ponder the essence of money. Two years later, Sy’s Wall of Hope, a sculpture on permanent display in downtown Beirut, exploded a border fence, addressing issues of inequality and challenging ideological, psychological, and socioeconomic purposes of walls.


In the aftermath of the Beirut port explosion of August 4th, 2020, Sy created sculptures representing the number 609 – one minute after the blast – embodying Beirut’s essence as the ultimate Woman. These sculptures were exhibited at Villa Audi, Beirut during the Art Blessé exhibition. 


Gallery Hours: From Tuesday-Friday 11:00am-6:00pm, Saturdays 11:am-4:00pm


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