Critics’ Picks

Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain, Timewaves (Chapters IV and V), 2012, looped black-and-white animation.

Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain, Timewaves (Chapters IV and V), 2012, looped black-and-white animation.


Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain

Gallery Martine Aboucaya
5 rue Sainte Anastase
September 8–October 20, 2012

Although their works engage with various media, the artist duo Angela Detanico and Rafael Lain are faithful to particular ideas, chief among them languages, notation systems, and maps—in other words, the systems that we develop to describe and comprehend the world. Within this framework, the pair have explored different themes over the years, demonstrating an increasingly marked interest in space, time, and how to articulate those concepts. Their latest solo exhibition in Paris primarily explores time. Two Voices (all works 2012), the digital animation that gives the show its title, accelerates and condenses into 366 minutes the course of the sun and moon during a year, as seen from Paris. Projected onto opposite walls, two flashes—one faint, the other more luminous—traverse the gallery and alternate cyclically, while two continuous sounds, which change constantly in pitch, signal the shift of duration of day and night. The two digital animations, Timewaves (Chapters IV and V), offer texts that are rendered as if they form arms on a clock; they derive from, respectively, the first and last chapter of The Waves by Virginia Woolf. In a slow, circular motion, words disappear and reappear in different combinations.

Minimal and even austere in form, the projections, with their references to the cosmos and to the passage of time, succeed in touching the viewer’s imagination, generating a subtle poetry. The same can be said for the other works in the show, texts rendered on the walls that combine two words with opposite meanings (and are suggestively abstract: FIRST and LAST, SHINE and SHADE, etc.), playing on the similarity of their graphic signifiers.

Translated from Italian by Marguerite Shore.