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Saffa

/ Raymond Hains /

1964
Painted wood on plywood

Saffa, an ordinary everyday object, is naturally reminiscent of pop art, but with a more ironic spin. In the artist’s imagination, which is fuelled by literary references and verbal and visual associations, Saffa and Seita, both Italian and French match manufacturers respectively, represent “artists in their own right like Soto and Stampfï”. Hains invents a biography for them. “I imagine two artists each of whom had a monopoly on matchboxes”. This technique is a way of setting himself apart from the coldness of pop art, but also of criticising the personification of New Realism, which he considers to be excessive. His works herald a new direction: Hains is no longer satisfied with directly appropriating fragments of reality, but subverts this reality through the use of photographs, some of which are inserted in light boxes, and objects which undergo a series of semantic shifts, wordplays and puns which reveal their poetic and unusual aspect.

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Saffa - ©ADAGP, Paris 2010