My conscience bites my
tongue [langue] with your
As soon as we kiss, we
Between the two lips runs the language [langue].
– Hélène Cixous, L’Amour du loup et autres remords
The poet Clayton Escherman has the theory that the moment we started painting animals is also the moment we understood ourselves to be human. Taking cave painting, doodles and other forms of proto-language as a starting point, Ceel Mogami de Haas’ work maps forms of communication, from the song of the she-wolf to layered up literature.
An old woman stuck humming a North Indian hunting song stares over at a French-speaking wolf, who seductively smokes a cigarette. Both CGI characters are surrounded by marble landscapes, that depict sketches of food and the body’s digestive system. The stone inlay technique is hand-work that has remained the same since it was first used in Baroque churches, but these pieces are carefully calculated by computers and cut out by lasers. They seem to speak, to each other and to the she-wolf, with not just a pictorial language as there are texts etched into the stone too. Is it a failing of man to not understand objects and animals as polyglots?
Ceel Mogami de Haas (1982) was born in Botswana, educated in English and American literature in France, before studying art in Amsterdam, where he completed a residency at the Rijksakademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in 2018. de Haas runs an art space in Geneva called ‘one fog in gee’. This is his first exhibition in the UK.
Sat 26, Wed 30, Thu 31 Oct, Fri 1, Sat 2 Nov
1 – 6pm
Sat 2 Nov – Performance evening; live harp + visuals by Tatyana Phillips and new reading by Louis Mason: 5.30 – 8pm