Javier Téllez’ film and installation work challenges the role of authoritative institutions and established notions of normalcy. For this black and white film transferred to video, Téllez stages an enactment of an Asian parable that recounts how six blind individuals were asked to touch an elephant and relay their experience. The title for the piece is borrowed from the name of an essay by eighteenth-century French philosopher Denis Diderot and suggests the difficulties the blind and the sighted have in understanding each other’s experience. The blind may not see the world as the sighted do, while the sighted only have a limited experience of living with blindness. This work–part scripted fiction, part documentary film–opens a path for mutual understanding through the moving acceptance of our shared humanity.

Generous funding for this video installation is provided by the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation.

Related Programming:

Perspectives: Javier Téllez
April 20 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm


Javier Téllez
Valencia, Venezuela, 1969
Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See, 2007
16mm film transferred to digital video, black and white, 5.1 dolby surround sound, 27 min 36 sec
© 2007 Javier Téllez. Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich

Promised gift of Jeanne and Michael Klein, 2015