‘A…has come into the bedroom by the inside door opening onto the central hallway.’ (Page 23)
‘Neither she nor Franck moves.’ (Page 15)
For the exhibition the participating artists were asked to reflect upon a book title from the Jan van Eyck library as reference for their contribution. Wiersma chose the novel ‘La Jalousie’ by the French author Alain Robbe-Grillet. The novella is set against the backdrop of a banana plantation1 and tells the story of a woman called A… and a man named Franck, who might have an affair.
In responding to Grilletʼs writing styles2, the first chapter of ‘La Jalousie’ was taken as a departure for an act in which the narrative is further disseminated in time and space. Selected sentences3 from the novel were printed on separate pieces of paper and placed at random into the dozens of books present on the shelves of the University of Maastrichtʼs library. On the entrance glass wall of the university’s reading room, a vinyl print is being permanently displayed introducing the first page (legend) of the novel. Once someone takes out a volume containing a line, a fragment of ‘La Jalousie’ unfolds, and a new reading affair may commence.
- Map of the set of the novel showing the estate plus the surrounding banana plantation. With great, mathematical precision – and from a distorted view behind the blinds – the narrator observes and describes the smallest movements of the main characters, who seem to be killing their time in and around an old colonial estate enclosed by a garden. Although Wiersma wasn’t compelled by the story at first with its endless repetitive scenes, lack of plot and emotions, colonial connotations and absence of a narrator’s commentary – like a sultry, Tropical night – it stuck under her skin.
- Grillet’s objective and cinematographic descriptions of the different scenes leave the reader room for various interpretations, for projecting the imagination onto the ‘empty’ landscape Grillet draws upon. Grillet started writing novels that challenged or eliminated traditional narrative conventions in plot, setting and character and that offered innovations in point of view and time. Roland Barthes coined this anti-novel as the beginning of the ‘New Novel’. The novel plays with space and time in ways that force the reader to reconstruct the story. Image taken from Robbe-Grillet’s film on libraries ‘Toute la mémoire du monde’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0RVSZ_yDjs
- Cards scattered around.