Le Ciel (L'Étranger)

2014

The images in this portfolio are a selection of altered book pages from a 2013 edition of Albert Camus' novel L'Étranger, first published in 1942 by Éditions Gallimard. The book was disassembled (two copies, actually) and each of the 172 pages of the text of the story was altered with pigment print inlays.

Le Ciel (L'Étranger) was originally born out of an interest in combining word and image in a single gesture by following color cues that occured in a text. I always felt the result was problematic in that the work was chasing a kind of formal effect at the expense of a text that should more likely be discussed than decorated. It wasn't until I read Kamel Daoud's book The Meursault Investigation a year or two later that I was able to feel a bit more comfortable with what I had done to Camus' book in 2014.

In my work, Moussa remains unnamed and whatever textually there is left of him disappears behind undifferentiated, blue fields of color. Talk about white privilege.

"Cette histoire, c’est un cadavre qui l’a écrite, pas un écrivain. On le sait à sa façon de souffrir du soleil et de l’éblouissement des couleurs et de n’avoir un avis sur rien sinon le soleil, la mer et les pierres d’autrefois." — Kamel Daoud, Meursault, contre-enquête (The Meursault Investigation), 2014

"That story — a corpse wrote it, not a writer. You can tell by the way he suffers from the sun and gets dazzled by colors and has no opinion on anything except the sun, the sea, and the surrounding rocks" — translation by John Cullen