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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2017

All Issues
OCT 2017 Issue


Installation view of FIAT#LUX. Courtesy the artists and Agora.

At the Agora Gallery, there opened "an immersion exhibition" entitled FIAT#LUX where Chantal Westby's paintings merge with Lénaïc Mercier's multi-media installation, in a length of light. As I stood there, immersed, I fixated on the way a demi-circle of a shell's pearly painted gleam in the right hand corner, reaches toward its neighbor to the left, a perfect Zen circle, whose very interior extends right out toward you, as it gives off a dark and yet golden light. This grabbed me as it exuded a continuous sparkle like some magnet reaching out directly at you, just as the painter's hands captured by the photographer to the left of this magnetizing circle also reach out. This is a perfect mingling of genres: painting, photography, and the poetry of it all. I couldn't leave that gold-blue circle, simply stood there, but it was like standing within it somehow, taken by the circle that never stopped spinning and reaching. To be sure, there were other works all around yet I was held captive in my place which was very much its place. How not to be held there, as you are by that so famous Keats poem about outreach and in-reach, about what extends out to hold you, like those painting hands. So that this exhibition does not only immerse you in its circling, it reaches out, like this:

                     This living hand, now warm and capable
                     Of earnest grasping,—see here it is—
                     I hold it towards you.



Mary Ann Caws

MARY ANN CAWS is Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French at the Graduate School of the City University of New York. Her many areas of interest in twentieth-century avant-garde literature and art include Surrealism, poets René Char and André Breton, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group, and artists Robert Motherwell, Joseph Cornell, and Pablo Picasso. Conceptually, one of her primary themes has been the relationship between image and text.


The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2017

All Issues