To me, books have always been alive like people. I hold an open book
in my hands, like a beloved face that I decipher- but also aggress,
cover, erase. Often I fall asleep, I wake up with a book in my hands.
Maybe my room has paper walls.
My links to books is double. There are the books that I write, dwelling
with delight inside my maternal language, where every word is heavy
with memory, with culture, with multiple and stellar connections.
And there are the books that I have been making since I arrived in
the United States in 1987. Their materials are immediately “readable”
and palpable, beyond a language that I do not share with the outside
world anymore. Open books of a double exile- from Egypt and from France:
the first was a book of sand, inspired by Edmond Jabès ‘s
poetry. Some, like the book of music, the book of moss, the book of
exile, the logbook, appropriate and divert printed pages. Others such
as the book of ashes or the book of ink whose pages seem charred,
allude to Heine’s premonitory sentence, written much before
the Holocaust:” When they burn books, it’s just before
they start burning people.” Others yet reflect my vision of
nature as a “temple with living pillars”, close to Baudelaire
and Hoffmansthal, and pages then become feathers or bark, clay or
bread dough, sea salt or snakeskin.
Books of exile, books without beginning and without end, whose joined
pages appeal to the touch as much as the sight: I have always dreamed
of a text that could communicate to all of our senses.