Is it my fault...
Am I the only one? ...who immediately hears in 'Artabo' the whisper
of the Latin 'Amabo', I will love, mingled with 'art', creating art,
performing art, experiencing art... Hearing this so aptly chosen name,
my imagination bubbles with the echoes of a motto, a promise, and an
oath. Once upon a time, we would have said, Nom de guerre. Martial artist
Lætitia d'Etiolles is not a warrior with mask but painter with
words, her shield as vulnerable as a signature.
The Kaligram series stuns with the magnificence of plastic achievement,
seamlessly weaving opposites, the coîncidentia oppositorum of
the Alchemists and Mystics. She interlaces the power of shapes with
the energy of signs, hence unveiling the shapes for our mind. She weaves
a dialectic between allusive organic shapes imbued with animal or plant
reminiscences and abstract earmarks, unique conceptual schemes - the
hidden ideography of the enigma. The sixteen symbols of the Artabian
or Artabesque alphabet, riddled with arrows, crosses, wheels, spirals
and notches stand revealed as monumental architectural designs. That
which will be constructed is already construction. The symbols will
suit whether they merge to build the robust skeleton of a primeval being
or the sturdy frame of a machine for some uncertain purpose.
The outpouring of raw power and masterful flair at Artabo is what I
like to call 'lightning logos'. Their impetuosity is balanced within
a frame of meticulously adjoined, concentric rings. Such passion is
not so much contained and mastered - too easy, by far - as it is supported,
enhanced even, against its background.
Sixteen figures against a background. What melody, we wonder, will array
the dance of these delightful cards garbed in such dazzling colours.
We must rise to the challenge of finding a choreography worthy of their
brilliance. Yet perhaps they conceal the mystery of witching wands demanding
that, together, we invent the arcana and avatars of our fate.
We will have to unravel the shining affirmation of unusual, unique signifiers
where the ever-flickering, never fading message quietly seethes, radiates
and provokes. Aware of their explosive yet constructive potential, we
should watch them enthusiastically albeit carefully. We should attempt
to win them over. Trust them, they will educate our eyes. Artabo the
sorceress beckons us to embrace the obvious, invoked by Wittgenstein,
"It is all before our eyes." As if to say, 'HE WHO LOOKS WILL
Senior Lecturer, Paris X University