Perfect Language (Jade : Yaxtun # 4), 2015
220 jade rocks
118” x 276”

A decade ago, Yucef Merhi defined a system he called Perfect Language. It is a sensorial metalanguage that can be applied to any language, making it automatically understandable to anyone. Merhi developed this universal language depicting words, mostly nouns, using the material they refer by definition. For example, he displayed the Chinese word for magnet (Cítiě / 磁铁) using and arraging 1000 magnets.

For Perfect Language: Maya, the artist researched and reproduced a set of logograms (Maya glyphs) employing a wide range of materials. He selected elements that for centuries have been part of the Maya culture: earth, cocoa, wood, jade, dyes, beads, etc. Then, he investigated which were the Maya symbols that designate each element; making sculptures and installations that range from 11 inches to 50 foot. To decipher the glyphs represented by Merhi, one must only know that "what you see is what it says".

The selection process of logograms was as rigorous as possible, drawing on the expertise of archaeologists, epigraphist, and academic material. The artist also had the collaboration of botanists, historians, farmers, veterinarians, chefs, carvers, artisans, and experts in various fields.

In Perfect Language (Jade: Yaxtun # 4), the artist made a land installation employing 220 jade rocks, depicting the logogram of jade. Yaxtun means 'sacred rock'. The morphology of the sign is quite similar to the glyph of rock. In order to produce this installation, Merhi had the support of the largest manufacturer of jade in the continent. The academic references used in this work were: Yale University (Houston, Stephen. "The Life Within: Classic Maya and the Matter of Permanence "New Haven. Yale University Press) and UCR (Taube, Karl. "The Symbolism of Jade in Classic Maya Religion." Riverside: University of California).

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