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Haiku de Nuit

Haiku de Nuit, 2015 / In collaboration with Carole Naggar / Varied edition of 5 / Archival inkjet on watermarked Dobbin Mill papers

Size: 11.75” x 6.75” x 0.5”

I responded to Carole Naggar’s poem about her mother’s absence & illness by focusing on the haptic experience of reading. The poem is presented first in French, its original language, and then in English. As the stanzas of the poem mourn the loss of her parent, the ink fades. Words are displayed only on these two double-page spreads, which are separated by the central signature, dark papers with jagged holes. The remaining pages dominate the choreography of the read, expressing emptiness and silence through their color, texture, and sound.  


About the poet: 

Carole Naggar is a poet, photography historian, and painter. Among her poetry books are En Blanc (1974), Night Light (1979) Corps (1980), Ukiyo-e (2005) and Voyage à Kyoto (2015). Her poem "night Haiku" was written in honor of her mother, Denise Naggar, who suffered from Alzheimer's since 2003. It deals with feelings of loss and mourning. 

Carole and I have known each other for more than 30 years; this was our first artistic collaboration.

From Paul Van Capelleveen’s essay in the catalog Read Me. Like a Book:

Material has always played a supporting role. It is also a carrier of meaning. In Haiku de Nuit (2015), for instance, the four pages with poems about a mother with Alzheimer’s are surrounded by a much larger number of blank pages (24) that radiate emptiness and silence. But the paper is not really blank. The rough surface, inviting the reader to feel it, has embedded dark fibers or human hair, there are spots of color from gray to purple, the paper contains jagged holes and dark watermarks. The order of the paper suggests a journey from outside to inside―from the hair to the scalp, and then to the layers of the brain―contact similar to a medical scan. 

Pluie pluie                                                        

Riz acre coulant

Du ciel sac déchiré



La peau blanche comme un os

le sourire n’appartient pas

à mon visage


Tu entends enfin mes larmes

Vois mon cœur devenu trop grand

Pour le paysage


Mais il est tard le vide creusé

par ton absence ancienne


même ne peux plus l’emplir


Toute chose m’assaille 

piqûre de guêpe par-



les peines.

je convoque un vol

de hérons blancs, leurs ailes bruissent

douce soie déroulée


Ma mère absentée 

Derrière des yeux opaques

je fais le deuil

de ce qui ne fut pas


Accrochée aux mots 

des autres 

tournique répète renonce


Accrochée à ses placards 

Encore un petit tailleur de printemps


Désespoir de frivolité fière

Khôl tremblé aux paupières

Livres ouverts clés perdues



Je marche, le vent

Me jette au visage

Des paquets de nuit

Musée fermé

Dans le grand jardin

Les Nymphéas dorment

Pourquoi cette foule aux portes


Paris les trous d’absence

Tous les matins

Je parle à mes morts.




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