Magazine article Artforum International

Latifa Echakhch

Magazine article Artforum International

Latifa Echakhch

Article excerpt

KAUFMANN REPETTO

In Italian, the word verso has several meanings: a line in poetry ("verse"), the direction of movement ("toward"), and the hack side of a sheet of paper ("verso"). As the title of Latifa Echakhch's recent exhibition, the word reflected the complex and stratified nature of her work. The artist seeks and reveals the polysemic nature of words and things--meanings that slide into one another, sharing some aspects yet elsewhere diverging. Enluminure (Illumination), 2012, a site-specific work the artist prepared for the gallery, was made of black ink that had been dripped down the gallery windows. It was a written account of the space, rhythmic and unstable. The lines became a wall, a curtain, rain, tears. They could be read as arabesques, or one could take them as the manifestation of an aggressive gesture intended to negate the view, obscuring the transparency of the glass, or of an intimate desire to mark a time and space with one's own hand. This multiplicity of suggestions was echoed in the title, which could refer to painted manuscripts, to lighting, and to enlightenment. The idea of casting light was contrasted with putting something in the shade, and the idea of revelatory writing countered the black trail delineated on the window in indecipherable fashion.

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In relation to the exhibition title, Enluminure was a reminder that the most visible and clearest aspect of things does not always reveal what lies beneath them. Insofar. as "Verso" alluded to a direction to be taken, one could not tell precisely which one, just as the ink, left to drip, followed various paths dictated by chance. …

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