Adam Bell review “Le nom qui efface la couleur”

Book review: Le nom qui efface la couleur, Adam Bell


Created during a residency at Le Blanc, France, the black & white images that make up Israel Ariño’s Le Nom Qui Efface La Couleur resist easy interpretation. As loosely related images, they offer a sombre portrait of a sleepy French town. Romantic images of old cars, fallen fruit, and dilapidated farmhouses suggest a town forgotten or suspended, outside the grip of the modern world, or falling away. Although the work is a melancholic document of a place, it is also an exploration of photography’s ontological nature. Somewhat cryptically, Ariño speaks about the work as dealing with the ‘disappearance of things’. Throughout the book there is a sense of coming in and out of being– stuffed birds turn away, shelves are shrouded, tracks lead into a snow-covered field, and fruit lies on the ground, waiting to be picked up. While the work presents a world falling away, it also points to a deeper mystery of photography about what images preserve, what they change, and what slips away.

Ariño has created several books over the past couple of years. The most recent titles include Atlas and Terra Incognita (both Ediciones Anómalas). Like his most recent book, both titles weave together poetic black & white imagery that call to mind Aleix Plademunt’s recent Almost There (MACK, 2013) and the work of Raymond Meeks–stubbornly romantic, yet utterly contemporary. The title, Le Nom Qui Efface La Couleur, loosely translates as ‘the name that washes away, or erases, colour’,and seems not only allude to the town, Le Blanc – or White – where the work was made, but also to photography itself. For photography, like language, points and shows us the world, transforming it in the process. 1+1=3. In all photographs, the things photographed, and the photograph itself, change and disappear, remain separate, and yet give us something new.

Written by Adam Bell / Published 18 July 2014

Adam Bell reviews in Paper Journal