“A few months later, still trying to assimilate my new condition, I found myself composing a long explanatory letter to my mother, who had
already been dead for almost two years, a letter that inaugurated a belated attempt to impose a narrative on a life that I had left more or less to itself, disorganised, scattered, uncentred.” In his autobiographical essay Between Worlds, Edward Said mentions a letter he wrote to his mother, a letter that has never been published. Halloubi travelled to New York in search of it; but while the letter remained elusive, its absence altered the direction of his work. A photo of Said’s hand found in the apartment of his widow, Mariam, is used in the video installation to represent an intimate portrait of the writer. Who, nearing the end of his
life, ill, aware of his mortality, in the urgency of the post-9/11 political situation enters a final phase and begins a reflection on late style, asking “But what of artistic lateness not as harmony and resolution,
but as intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction?” The two-screen installation Late dwells on what is deserted and abandoned or happens late in the tale, asking questions about the very nature of art: What is it to influence and continue to make art? Is it not simply a refusal to have done? What is that force which is able to renew itself and continue in other lands, other period and with other authors? That living, moving, force – is it not the opposite of the idea of the New presented as
original, cut off from all that is past?
Hamza Halloubi