Laurence Cathala

Born in 1981

Lives and works in Lyon

“Books, magazines, and printouts can be found in many different forms throughout most of Laurence Cathala’s work: they appear in the bookcases that line the various interiors that the artist designs, manifest themselves as pictures or as fake objects, are used as generic forms, as phantom objects highlighted by the absence of text, through borrowed or invented quotations, or even become grounds for the production and showing of the work – with most of these possibilities likely to combine.
(…) As objects that can be both read and looked at, even when they only contain text, the books refer in an almost self-reflexive way to Laurence Cathala’s artistic work, in which she tends to merge together drawing and writing, which both share a common etymology with the Greek graphein. A graph is a trace, either written or drawn, in that the ancient Greek term does not categorically dissociate the fields of what is describable and visible. One could therefore consider that most of Laurence Cathala’s work results from an approach that consists in creating graphs; that is to say, written forms in their widest acceptation. (…)
The artist works within a form of great divide between two adopted figures: on the one hand the writer, and on the other the historian, or at least the archivist. The hybridisation of these two postures is the process that gives form to her work. More precisely, the linking together of the elements that appear in her work, the connections that she creates between them, the uncertain temporality with which they face us, and the appropriations they can be subjected to by the artist or the viewer, all contribute to producing a sort of ghost writer. Therefore, it is not surprising that the term ghost-writer should appear in the title of several of Laurence Cathala’s pieces.
The writer in question is not quite the artist herself, but rather a fictional figure that emerges at the crossroads of her works. A ghost writer is someone who writes in someone else’s shadow. Yet there is no ghost behind the artist’s writing. It might even be the other way round: Laurence Cathala might well be the ghost behind the fictional writer that her work presents.” (…)

Excerpt from Laurence Cathala, La vie des livres, Jérôme Dupeyrat, 2016
Translated by Lucy Pons

Biographical notes translated with the support of the Centre national des arts plastiques - Cnap.