For his first solo exhibition at galerie Sultana, Emmanuel Lagarrigue wanted to base his work around the writer Helen Bessette (1918-2000) – a singular literary figure, Helene Bessette developed a highly personal writing style during the 1950s and 60s. Elaborating a body of work with an early disregard for any literary progression, based on a sharp use of language without comfort, nor decorum. As Bernard Noel has again stated: “this writing does not stop, does not develop, is not embellished but emaciates, cuts, carves up. It does not stop stripping back so that the only thing that matters is the energy that quickens the words to give form to the mental action.
Pursuing the dialogue that links him from his beginnings with the writers (Beckett, Deville, Jauffret, Delaume, Steiner, etc), Emmanuel Lagarrigue’ exhibition proposes challenging sculptural and installation work. Searching to explore what physical impact a text can have as much on a material as on the spectator, he translates it and encodes it as well as our perceptions. Using the specific plasticity of Bessette’s tongue, Lagarrigue makes it eat away at the foundations of our imagination. In this way the spectator shifts around in the weakened underbody of language, to the rhythm of the text itself.
The six oak beams are carved with six extracts from Happiness of the night” by Hélène Bessette translated into Morse code. Each beam proposes a “quatrain” in which each line corresponds with one of its sides. Two of these phrases are extracts from this body of work and give rise to two light pieces: one, in the stock room is made up of nothing but a lighting device and turns off an existing light source that is plugged in above. The other above the entry is an absolutely minimal sculpture. The very slow rhythm of their flashing makes understanding the Morse code of the text almost impossible (you need a few minutes to make out the very short phrase that makes up the title). Finally, An Hysterical Attempt is the sketch of a wall constructed with bricks to be fabricated to replace the usual gravel used in concrete by pieces of oak that came from the carving of the oak beams.