Érik Desmazières: The Ambrosia of the Mind
NY Arts Magazine, February, 2002, Vol. 7, No. 2, by Mark Daniel Cohen
"They were urged on by the delirium of trying to reach the books in the Crimson Hexagon: books whose format is smaller than usual, all-powerful, illustrated and magical." — Jorge Luis Borges, "The Library of Babel"
The recent exhibition at Fitch-Febvrel was a stunning exegesis of Desmazières' capabilities. Containing more than two dozen etchings enhanced with aquatint, the exhibition was dominated by La Salle Labrouste de la Bibliothèque national, 2001, an enormous rendering of the main reading room of the national library in Paris, elaborate with a dizzying that seemed to possess the scale of a landscape.
As fortunate was the inclusion of several of Desmazières' illustrations for a year 2000 edition of Jorge Luis Borges' "The Library of Babel". When illuminated by a master printmaker, Borges' story of the world as a perhaps infinite library makes the ideal instance of the illustrated book, which is the ideal application of the etching.
What such work offers is strictly pleasure, but from the hands of a master such as Desmazières, the pleasure is a rarefied one. And in a time of war, terror, and growing peril, rare pleasures are to be treasured. They are the stuff of life. There is something of magic in them, as Borges well knew.