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Being-Names (2004)

Jean-Bernard Métais, "Being-Names" (2004). Archives Départementales de La Sarthe. Le Mans (France)

 
Installed in front of the new Archive Building, "Being-Names" reads like a litany inscribed upon a semi-transparent curtain. The artist has assembled, in alphabetical order, the name of every single village, town and city in the region of La Sarthe. The strange poetic unity of the inscriptions, coupled with the faraway sounds of the ancient names, certain of them with origins that date back to the Gallo-Roman era or the French Revolution, leads us on a curious trip back in time. This unsettling recognition reminds us of the intimate relationship we have with the names of places that may be extremely familiar to us, but whose extraordinary poetic richness has escaped us. By upsetting the regular order in which we are used to seeing these names, the artist's work at the Archives reconnects us with a precious yet fragile link to the rich underworld of everyday words.

Stainless Steel 4 x 8 m
Commissioned by the Conseil Général La Sarthe -Cost: 180 000€

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