Translation as Negotiation

Translation as Negotiation

La Kunsthalle Mulhouse

Thu Van Tran, Au plus profond du noir, 2013. Two thousand books and pallet in hevea wood, 85 x 90 x 90 cm.
© Meessen De Clercq. Courtesy of the artist and galerie Meessen De Clercq, Bruxelles.

February 15, 2015

Presque la même chose (Translation as Negotiation)
February 12–May 10, 2015

La Kunsthalle Mulhouse / La Fonderie
16 rue de la Fonderie
68093 Mulhouse Cedex

T +33 (0) 3 69 77 66 47
kunsthalle [​at​]

Ignasi Aballí, Alex Baladi, Cathy Berberian, Pierre Bismuth, Julia Bodamer, Gérard Collin-Thiébaut, Nicolás Lamas, Ilan Manouach, Antoni Muntadas, Till Roeskens, Sébastien Roux, Thu Van Tran, Martina-Sofie Wildberger

“From the impossible to the possible: the experience of languages in Louis Wolfson’s work,” a lecture by Frédéric Martin,

“Translating colour: seeing and thinking differently,” a lecture by Annie Mollard-Desfour, linguiste-lexicographe,

Works of tribal art from private collections.

Translation is everywhere, in all forms, it is neither a science nor an instinct, it communicates thought and facilitates travel. Translation as Negotiation is an attempt to understand others. This exhibition is clearly part of a set of questions asked by Umberto Eco in “Mouse or Rat? Translation as Negotiation,” an essay on his experiences in translation. In his view, translation does not allow us to say the same thing, but at best, almost the same thing. He continues by highlighting that all the complexity of the task lies in the word “almost.” This almost, central but indefinite, appears as an elastic and extensible adverb to be used as a form of “negotiation.” This is at the heart of any attempt at translation. What value should we give the word almost? Translation can be applied to all forms of language, written, aesthetic or auditory, and that each has its own perimeter for negotiation.  

In Translation as Negotiation, Umberto Eco uses a series of examples and personal accounts to illustrate the problems which translation poses. Translation as Negotiation takes up the thread of his text, chapter by chapter, and the artists and artworks are at times providing a response, and at times building on the questions the author raises. The idea is not to create a corpus of artworks related to the subject, but rather to continue the reflection through formal or textual research, but also through knowledge or personal stories. Artworks, conferences and portraits, without any hierarchy, are also making up the content of this exhibition, which is a modest attempt at saying how difficult it is to negotiate a translation.

Curator: Sandrine Wymann

Enquiries/press office: Clarisse Schwarb, clarisse.schwarb [​at​]

La Kunsthalle Mulhouse is a member of d.c.a. La Kunsthalle is a cultural establishment of the City of Mulhouse. With the support from the Regional Cultural Affairs Office of Alsace, the Ministry of Culture and Communication, and  Department of Haut-Rhin. This exhibition is supported by Swiss Arts Council.

Translation as Negotiation at La Kunsthalle Mulhouse
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February 15, 2015

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