Petit Journal #41: "Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, 25 / 24

Born respectively in 1973 and 1974, the French-based Brazilian artists Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain have been working together for about ten years now. Their art sets up a dialogue between language and images in a variety of media. Entitled ”25 / 24”, their exhibition for the Satellite programme continues this exploration by questioning the complex relations between time and space.

Visitors experience the first work in their installation in the entrance area: laid out on the ground, a carpet pattern designed by the artists (a simplified compass rose) defines a new geography. The repetition and proximity of the signs make us lose our bearings and create confusion, sketching out a new order of things. Visitors are thus led to question their own position in space, but also the power relations that guide the world and its geopolitics.

Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain engage here in a meditation on the role of language and its symbolic and physical place in our societies. Language reveals its multiple functions, both as tool of communication and instrument of reading and also as a reflection of different cultures. Influenced by semiology, their works draw on the world of graphic design and communication, the codes of which they subtly appropriate. They create new typographic styles by substituting the letters of traditional alphabets with forms taken from everyday life or the world of science.

In keeping with this spirit, on the mezzanine the artists present a new series of prints made by juxtaposing different time zones. Each of the letters of the alphabet (except j) corresponds to one of the 24 time zones. Expressions such as “midi à Paris” (noon in Paris) are then transcribed into this code, then completed by the application of colours in accordance with the cycle of day and night.

In the foyer a video projection shows a geometrical form which turns out to be a silhouette of the Pentagon. Playing on the graphic qualities of the building, but also on the symbolic meaning attached to it, this work presents an image that is almost hieratic. Patient visitors will discover tiny modifications to the form, which correspond to the modelling of the variations in light. Transformed into a sundial, the Pentagon goes from shadow to light, from omnipresence to almost complete disappearance.

Echoing this work, a double projection presents two different visions of the same landscape, side by side. These scintillating images, which seem to be moving slightly, are not videos but photographs, still images in the process of being retouched by computer. The vibratory quality is due to the fact that all the black pixels have been selected. Detanico and Lain are thus addressing, with great pertinence, the connections between different levels and types of image.

Their meditation on this theme is further enriched by a work presented on the Jeu de Paume website.

Exhibition curator: Fabienne Fulchéri