Night, they say
Original title: Nit, deien
White marble, dry ice and wood
Dimensions: 35 x 450 x 1135 cm
Reference: ACF0323
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In Nit, deien, Eva Lootz reflects on the linguistic tracks which can be detected in an apparently unimportant semantic and phonetic coincidence: the fact that the word ‘night’ appears in the main Indo–European languages as a kind of negation of eight: ‘no–eight’. In French, the nuit – huit pair; in Italian, notte – otto; in Spanish noche – ocho; in German Nacht – acht; all seem to have a strange affinity in their mutual relation. By paying attention to mere coincidences we also pay attention to the sediments of language. With this experience of language, sculpture regains the commemorative purpose to which it had traditionally been linked. But no longer as commemoration of grand deeds, heroes, saints or wise men, but of memory itself: Mnemosyne. For some time now, Lootz has been listening to language and paying attention to those sediments which, like the footprints left by a walker, are deposited on awareness. Indeed, the concern with the eight does not appear in her work as a Pythagorean or Kabbalistic fascination with the magical power of numbers, but rather as a reflection on the experience of walking itself. It could be said that Lootz’s work on the relationship between language and the road is a systematic undertaking. Since La ruta de la seda (1986), a sculpture which evoked the passage of the caravans of Mediaeval merchants through deserts and across seas, it would seem that the relationship has become clear to her. All her systematic, obsessive thoughts on the road, walking, its codes and instruments are there: the foot, the footprint, the shoe, the skate, the sledge, the snowshoe, the stick, the bridge, the river, the tides of the sea, the constellations… So many things in her work are related to thinking, reading and interpreting as a way of walking! Since La ruta de la seda she has become aware of the phenomenological experience by which ‘matter becomes sign’ and matter becomes language; in other words, that experience is at the root of her concern with the structure of codes. But in a way, since Nit, deien she has begun to formulate what we might call ‘a politics of the visible’, which characterises practically all her work since the 1990s. If until then she was (and still is) fascinated by what the formation of codes allows us to see, from that point on she began to take an interest in the things which the petrification of those very codes prevents us from seeing. On that subject she often quotes Cézanne’s phrase ‘you have to hurry if you still want to see something’, since our vision is too filtered, too hampered by codes. Without doubt, the work in which she most effectively addressed this issue was her 1994 installation at the South London Gallery entitled A Farewell to Isaac Newton, where she dealt explicitly with the theme of the disappearance of the visible. However, she also tackles the problem in Nit, deien, as she acknowledged in her conversation with Maya Aguiriano, in issue 21 of the magazine Zehar: ‘What fascinated me about the dry ice I used in this installation was the fact that it disappears without a trace, that flirtation with the invisible. What interested me was to find the track, the trace, the print of a process that is only retained in language.’ Hence the expressive power of the installation. There is not only an interaction between the blocks of marble arranged in the space and the blocks of dry ice, which slowly fade away with the passage of time, but also an interplay between the visible and the invisible.

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