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Book presentation A comme Boa (une édition Thalie)

With artist Agnès Thurnauer, author Tiphaine Samoyault and Nathalie Guiot, President of fondation Thalie and Fondation Thalie in Bruxelles.

The Thalie Foundation initiated the publication of A comme Boa, a collection of visual and textual poems by Agnès Thurnauer and Tiphaine Samoyault around Matrice, a sculptural project by Thurnauer.

Tiphaine Samoyault is a writer, critic and professor of French and comparative literature at the Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3. She recently published a critically acclaimed biography of Roland Barthes at the Éditions du Seuil in their “Fiction et Cie” collection.

Agnès Thurnauer is an artist whose paintings and sculptures explore the question of language. She has exhibited in many art centres and museums, in France and abroad. Some of her writing has been published, notably in the “Ecrits d’artistes” at the Beaux-arts de Paris, and she regularly collaborates with writers, philosophers and poets.

“The Matrice project makes use of language as space and as potentiality. The letter exists by the hollows formed inside the pieces of the cast. As these pieces are more or less disjointed – depending on how the sculpture is laid out or compressed – the space of language is opened up and can be put into practice according to how one moves about in the space. The hollowed-out letter is open to all possible combinations. Matrice/ground: level with the gaze, Matrice/sitting: level with the body. Unlike a definition that encloses and isolates, Matrice proposes language as an investigation, polyphony, corporeality, place of encounters. Like Greek forums, Matrice advocates the place of language in society – a place open to all languages.   

I was familiar with and admired Tiphanie Samoyault’s work, having read, several years ago, La Main négative, whose focus on the making of things and knowledge had made a strong impression on me. Then I read Bête de cirque, and the Roland Barthes biography, which is a great exploration of language. Barthes who said: “Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other.” In Matrice there is of course this relationship with the other. Barthes also spoke about language which deterriorialises by terriorialising. Matrice lays down language like a pedestal and a floor. For me, A comme Boa, the text that Tiphanie wrote for our book, seemed like the solarisation of images. There is no reciprocal illustration, there is the imprint of the same thing, of which half is expressed in words, the other half in photos. I have the impression that A comme Boa is not something that Tiphanie and I have created alone, but, as the poet Wordsworth said, “The Child is father of the Man.” This book is our Maternité cosmique. Each person will feel like a child, “sitting among the beasts and speaking all the languages.”

Agnès Thurnauer