In the passageway leading to the Kamel Mennour Gallery in Paris, an overhead projector, casting a circle of light on the ground, incandescently lights our way (Michel Verjux, Passage Obligé, 2012). Before entering, we read the name Kounellis inscribed in fire (Jannis Kounellis, Kounellis Writes with Fire, 1969). Once inside the gallery, a Daniel Buren composition in glowing optical fibre shimmers with blue-green fluorescence; and eight dangling light-bulbs across the room light up… precisely nothing (Michel François, Ampoules, 2012). Further on, three artists are locked in dialogue: Anish Kapoor, with an alabaster Untitled (2011); Alfredo Jaar, ‘lit up with immensity’ (M'Illumino D’Immenso, 2009); and Ann Veronica Janssens, showing the Paris sky, live (Ciel, 2002/3). Then come François Morellet’s blue neon crosses (Triple X Neonly, 2012) opposite a Pierre Soulages’ canvas venturing ‘beyond black’ (a reminder that darkness is always preceded by light) and a sun-drenched seascape by Gustave Le Gray (Le Soleil au Zénith – Océan n°22, 1856/7). The end room contains a corner-piece by Dan Flavin, (Untitled (to the Real Dan Hill), 1978), confronted by Othello & Desdemona (c.1861) by Eugène Delacroix; we see Othello going mad, consumed by a murderous passion for the one he loves. Meanwhile a naked man in police handcuffs, gazing at the woman in front him, lies condemned to the darkness of a prison cell (Mohamed Bourouissa – La Prise, 2008).
The exhibition Lux Perpetua presents Light as a revealing and creative force. The title comes from the incipit of a Requiem – a mass for the dead. We are reminded that Light itself creates the images of our world, diffusing warmth and revealing what lies hidden in the shadows… shadows which could not exist without light. As Heidegger put it: ‘It’s harder to preserve limpid darkness than to obtain a clarity that has no wish to shine.’

Translated from Frenh by Simon Hewitt
Michel Verjux
Passage obligé, 2012