In The Twofold Room, Marie-Michelle Deschamps uses the edifice of the hotel as a metaphor to describe language. Room by room, the reader follows the tour of this building, led by the engaging voice of its guide. Absorbed by these surroundings, the visitor cannot help but succumb to the illusion. The text builds a physical space in which to experience language, bringing together the material world and the abstract form of language.
Seducing us with a double play on illusion, this project describes language as a tactile place, which it exists to represent. Though we may suspend our disbelief, language remains distant from reality. This metaphorical property of language, its indirectness and multispecificity in discourse and in culture, was described by Édouard Glissant as opacity. It is what we comprehend through emotional understanding more than by purereason. It is increased by our cultural diversity and it is felt in all the subtle details as well as in the most verbose fresco.
Art shares languages capability of “saying without saying everything by saying it”, a skill Glissant attributes to certain writers. Like language, art functions as metaphor. The artist transposes, translates, and betrays the real. With this aim, they proceed with citations and fragments.
Here, the work of Marie-Michelle Deschamps, functions both a study of language and as a written work. The narrative exists in parallel with the manifesto it supports.
If we had to describe, using yet another metaphor, the experience offered to us by the artist, I would suggest that of the book – a palimpsest in which certain pages have been erased through use over time and patiently rewritten. The work, produced by Marie-Michelle Deschamps, suggests the composition of a filter both enigmatic and rigourous.
Translation from French by Josée Aubin Ouellette
Marie-Michelle Deschamps (b.1980) lives and works in Montreal, Canada and Glasgow, United Kingdom, where she graduated with an MA from the Glasgow School of Art in 2012. Recent exhibitions include a two person presentation at the Sunday Art Fair in London, UK with Galerie Gregor Staiger, Zurich (2013); Valise, BQ, Berlin (2013), Germany; Routine Investigations, a duo with Justin Stephens at CCA Glasgow (2013); Standard, David Dale Gallery, Glasgow (2013); Master Readings and S, M, L, Espace Saint-Valentin, Lausanne, Switzerland (2013); Don’t leave me this way, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2012); Life-Size, articule, Montreal, (2011). Deschamps has an upcoming exhibition at Collective Gallery, Edinburgh (as part of New Work Scotland Programme 2014 and the Edinburgh Art Festival) and she will be an artist in residence at Studio Voltaire, London in November 2013.
Essayist, critic, and writer of short stories, Lise Gauvin has published several works devoted to Québécois and other francophone litterature. Her recent publications are Part pris littéraire (reedition, PUM, 2013), D’un monde à l’autre, Tracées des littératures francophones (Mémoire d’encrier, 2013), Aventurier et sédentaires. Parcours d’un roman Québécois (Paris, Honoré Champion, 2012). Between 1991 and 2009, Lise Gauvin realised many interviews with the exceptional theorist, Édouard Glissant. Through these exchanges, six texts were created, collected in L’imaginaire des langues, published in 2010 by Gallimard.