Translation finds itself in the midst of a tug-of-war, between a fidelity to language and to the accurate rendering of meaning. It employs a necessary undoing of language, a return to an expressionless linguistic flux, to where information, sense and all intention, temporarily enters an inaccessible realm beyond the transmittal of subject matter. Evans’ practice stops here, at this startled inbetween. By focusing on the materiality of the text, discarding symbolisation and returning to the symbolised itself, it claims permanence here and dwells on this embryonic form. Whereby the formal quality of the text takes a direct part and is no longer in service to the cause of the text.
The Kings James Bible, a translated document and the work of 47 scholars, is a translation produced under instruction to ensure the episcopal structure of the Church of England and a belief in its ordained clergy. In Esther’s translation, the bible is not illuminated, rather, it is accelerated, and via an automated process it is coded and further mystified, not intentionally but by employing fidelity to individual words and syntax as an artifice. Translation here is a subversive interaction with the text, it is presented as unresolved, in-flux; the text is coded with colour, fragmented, altered, the Golden Ratio is employed as a means to decide what is kept and what is omitted.
Walter Benjamin likens the unity between content and language to a fruit and its skin, whereby ‘the language of the translation envelops its content like a royal robe with ample folds.’ Evans’ translation does not renew the life of the original, the fruit has been peeled, dissected, stuck to the walls, to the floor, hung out to dry, rot and decompose. This translation looks between the lines, penetrating to the primal point to where line, mark and space converge.
Nadia Quadmani is a writer, artist and translator based in London and is a graduate of the Royal College of Art’s Critical Writing in Art and Design MA Programme. Nadia is also an alumni of Middlesex University, where she obtained her BA in Fine Art.
Esther Evans is a visual poet and founder of Concept Ink Press.