Archive for the ‘artists’ category

black hussars or the famous metaphysics of progress

September 30, 2013

In L’Argent, which he published in 1913 , Charles Peguy recalls his childhood, when he was a pupil in an elementary school which adjoined the “normal” school of teachers in Orleans (South West of Paris). The story begins in 1879.

After the victory of the Republicans, the “Paul Bert” law redefines the “normal” schools founded by Guizot (Louis-Philippe’s minister of education) in 1833. The teachers-trainees taught at Peguy’s school. Peguy described them in these famous terms: “Our young masters were beautiful as black hussars. Slender , tough , strapped , serious and a little trembling in their early and sudden omnipotence.” “Black hussars ! And, indeed , their uniform was very dark , from the shoes to the cap, a civic uniform.” Peguy added that they ” were really the children of the Republic , the infants of the Republic , the black hussars of the severity.” Black Hussars, the cavalry squadron formed in 1793 by the young French Republic, the soldiers of the Year II !

The term “black hussar” will stay and qualifies those who, in the third or the fourth French republic, incarnates the civic mission of educating the people. They are the main stakeholders of the free and compulsory secular education that Jules Ferry laws introduced in the 1880s. All children from France , aged from 6 to 11 benefit from this instruction. Meantime, the labour is allowed for young people older than 12. Others young people can stay at school after obtaining their “certificate of primary studies” (at 11), but they are really few and high school students, as college students, are a tiny minority .

The key education, then , is given in these elementary schools by male teachers and , from the beginning, by female teachers. These teachers are officials showing a moral authority even if they are not rich. And they are part of the Republican elite.

As “normal” schools of teachers are departmental, teachers-trainees have the same social origins than the pupils they will teach. Sons (or daughters) of workers, of small farmers , of small landowners, throughout France , they begin to climb the social ladder without moving further from those around them. In three decades , the French population evolves quickly, gets urbanized, reaches an increasing life expectancy. The French language imposed itself against dialects and languages ​​, sometimes forcibly. Dechristianization gets broader, the general level of education grows rapidly, while the masters embody the project of secularization and “a positivist metaphysics.” ” It was, Peguy says , the famous metaphysics of progress .”

Peguy added in 1879 that “teachers were always ready to shout ” Vive la Republique ! Vive la Nation !”, that they would have shouted so even under the Prussian saber. Because for us, confusingly, the enemy, the whole enemy, the evil spirit, was the Prussians . It was already not so stupid . Nor so far from the truth. That was in 1880. This is 1913. Thirty-three years later. And we returned to this feeling.” End of quote.

In 1914, these teachers go to the front with the pupils they have trained. They pay the same toll as other French to their homeland.



Eye for an Eye: healthy people lend people with disabilities parts of their own bodies In order to make up for the deficiencies of the body with disability

September 14, 2013

Żmijewski’s film is here

Eye for an Eye – ancient legal formula calling for revenge for harm gains a new meaning in Artur Żmijewski’s film and photographic series. The film features people with disabilities, who suffer from severe difficulties in their everyday lives as a result of amputations.

A temporary relief in their struggle with daily activities is brought by healthy people, who lend them parts of their own bodies. In order to make up for the deficiencies of the body with disability, they lock with it in an uncanny embrace. However, offering a healthy limb requires breaking the barriers of intimacy, i.e. touching the scar – the most sensitive part of the body after amputation.

Thus, Żmijewski’s film becomes a story of intimacy and ways of overcoming the mechanisms of exclusion.


Bellino’s History: my name is Therese

September 13, 2013


Bellino’s History
The Memoirs of Jacques Casanova de Seingalt, 1725-1798. Volume 02


“My name is Therese. My father, a poor clerk in the Institute of Bologna, had let an apartment in his house to the celebrated Salimberi, a castrato, and a delightful musician. He was young and handsome, he became attached to me, and I felt flattered by his affection and by the praise he lavished upon me. I was only twelve years of age; he proposed to teach me music, and finding that I had a fine voice, he cultivated it carefully, and in less than a year I could accompany myself on the harpsichord. His reward was that which his love for me induced him to ask, and I granted the reward without feeling any humiliation, for I worshipped him. Of course, men like yourself are much above men of his species, but Salimberi was an exception. His beauty, his manners, his talent, and the rare qualities of his soul, made him superior in my eyes to all the men I had seen until then. He was modest and reserved, rich and generous, and I doubt whether he could have found a woman able to resist him; yet I never heard him boast of having seduced any. The mutilation practised upon his body had made him a monster, but he was an angel by his rare qualities and endowments.

“Salimberi was at that time educating a boy of the same age as myself, who was in Rimini with a music teacher. The father of the boy, who was poor and had a large family, seeing himself near death, had thought of having his unfortunate son maimed so that he should become the support of his brothers with his voice. The name of the boy was Bellino; the good woman whom you have just seen in Ancona was his mother, and everybody believes that she is mine.

“I had belonged to Salimberi for about a year, when he announced to me one day, weeping bitterly, that he was compelled to leave me to go to Rome, but he promised to see me again. The news threw me into despair. He had arranged everything for the continuation of my musical education, but, as he was preparing himself for his departure, my father died very suddenly, after a short illness, and I was left an orphan.

“Salimberi had not courage enough to resist my tears and my entreaties; he made up his mind to take me to Rimini, and to place me in the same house where his young ‘protege’ was educated. We reached Rimini, and put up at an inn; after a short rest, Salimberi left me to call upon the teacher of music, and to make all necessary arrangements respecting me with him; but he soon returned, looking sad and unhappy; Bellino had died the day before.

“As he was thinking of the grief which the loss of the young man would cause his mother, he was struck with the idea of bringing me back to Bologna under the name of Bellino, where he could arrange for my board with the mother of the deceased Bellino, who, being very poor, would find it to her advantage to keep the secret. ‘I will give her,’ he said, ‘everything necessary for the completion of your musical education, and in four years, I will take you to Dresden (he was in the service of the Elector of Saxony, King of Poland), not as a girl, but as a castrato. There we will live together without giving anyone cause for scandal, and you will remain with me and minister to my happiness until I die. All we have to do is to represent you as Bellino, and it is very easy, as nobody knows you in Bologna. Bellino’s mother will alone know the secret; her other children have seen their brother only when he was very young, and can have no suspicion. But if you love me you must renounce your sex, lose even the remembrance of it, and leave immediately for Bologna, dressed as a boy, and under the name of Bellino. You must be very careful lest anyone should find out that you are a girl; you must sleep alone, dress yourself in private, and when your bosom is formed, as it will be in a year or two, it will only be thought a deformity not uncommon amongst ‘castrati’. Besides, before leaving you, I will give you a small instrument, and teach how to fix it in such manner that, if you had at any time to submit to an examination, you would easily be mistaken for a man. If you accept my plan, I feel certain that we can live together in Dresden without losing the good graces of the queen, who is very religious. Tell me, now, whether you will accept my proposal?

“He could not entertain any doubt of my consent, for I adored him. As soon as he had made a boy of me we left Rimini for Bologna, where we arrived late in the evening. A little gold made everything right with Bellino’s mother; I gave her the name of mother, and she kissed me, calling me her dear son. Salimberi left us, and returned a short time afterwards with the instrument which would complete my transformation. He taught me, in the presence of my new mother, how to fix it with some tragacanth gum, and I found myself exactly like my friend. I would have laughed at it, had not my heart been deeply grieved at the departure of my beloved Salimberi, for he bade me farewell as soon as the curious operation was completed. People laugh at forebodings; I do not believe in them myself, but the foreboding of evil, which almost broke my heart as he gave me his farewell kiss, did not deceive me. I felt the cold shivering of death run through me; I felt I was looking at him for the last time, and I fainted away. Alas! my fears proved only too prophetic. Salimberi died a year ago in the Tyrol in the prime of life, with the calmness of a true philosopher. His death compelled me to earn my living with the assistance of my musical talent. My mother advised me to continue to give myself out as a castrato, in the hope of being able to take me to Rome. I agreed to do so, for I did not feel sufficient energy to decide upon any other plan. In the meantime she accepted an offer for the Ancona Theatre, and Petronio took the part of first female dancer; in this way we played the comedy of ‘The World Turned Upside Down.’

“After Salimberi, you are the only man I have known, and, if you like, you can restore me to my original state, and make me give up the name of Bellino, which I hate since the death of my protector, and which begins to inconvenience me. I have only appeared at two theatres, and each time I have been compelled to submit to the scandalous, degrading examination, because everywhere I am thought to have too much the appearance of a girl, and I am admitted only after the shameful test has brought conviction. Until now, fortunately, I have had to deal only with old priests who, in their good faith, have been satisfied with a very slight examination, and have made a favourable report to the bishop; but I might fall into the hands of some young abbe, and the test would then become a more severe one. Besides, I find myself exposed to the daily persecutions of two sorts of beings: those who, like you, cannot and will not believe me to be a man, and those who, for the satisfaction of their disgusting propensities, are delighted at my being so, or find it advantageous to suppose me so. The last particularly annoy me! Their tastes are so infamous, their habits so low, that I fear I shall murder one of them some day, when I can no longer control the rage in which their obscene language throws me. Out of pity, my beloved angel, be generous; and, if you love me, oh! free me from this state of shame and degradation! Take me with you. I do not ask to become your wife, that would be too much happiness; I will only be your friend, your mistress, as I would have been Salimberi’s; my heart is pure and innocent, I feel that I can remain faithful to my lover through my whole life. Do not abandon me. The love I have for you is sincere; my affection for Salimberi was innocent; it was born of my inexperience and of my gratitude, and it is only with you that I have felt myself truly a woman.”


freedom in society can be measured by the distribution of orgasms

September 1, 2013

the clitoris was discovered in 1998

the internal clitoris is a complex structure composed of:

– two erectile corpora cavernosa which wrap around the vagina when stimulated,

– two erectile bodies connected to the body of the clitoris

– two vestibular bulbs

– the glans of the clitoris

the clitoris at rest, which is largely internal, can measure up to 9cm long

the real female sexual organ is virtually invisible

About cliteracy by Sophia Wallace, a New York artist:

the artwork includes 100 natural laws about the clitoris

01 septembre 2013source:

the king (of contemporary art) is naked and it is time to claim it? really?

August 6, 2013

a month ago, Luc Ferry (a French philosopher and former education minister) denounced in Le Figaro “these temples of ignorance that are the regional contemporary art funds (FRAC)” and, in general, public subsidies in favour of contemporary art.

“The truth, he wrote, is that state aid often allows vulgar impostures to be considered as masterpieces.”

He continued further:

– some artists repeat and rehash ad nauseam, one hundred years later, but with no courage and thanks to taxpayer money, what Marcel Duchamp had already done a thousand times at a time when, at least, he ran the risk to “shock the bourgeois”.

– Let’s face it: if these disgusting things were in the lobby of my building, I would ask my caretaker to call urgently the City public services to get rid of it.

– Those who want to buy this kind of artwork are free to do so, it is their choice, but, please, may them do it with their own money! Some snobbish and ignorant people could agree to buy this junk for a golden price, but it is unacceptable that they pay it out of “our” pockets on behalf of their aberrant conception of culture. Reading these lines, the “Red Guards of contemporary art” will cry fascism. Whatever, the king is naked and it is time to claim it.




bookstores: “buy local” networks, a militant approach for local consumption and preserving employment

July 28, 2013

In France, selling books is a “mature” market. It is going down for 3 years.

selling books has become the less profitable retail business.

The average net income is 0.6%, against nearly six times more for other businesses.

independent books retailers represent more than 40% of book sales and between 12,000 and 13,000 jobs. They are 2500 to 3000. To avoid closing their shops in quantity, the booksellers modulate their own wages.


Globally, the trends are almost the same:

– an increase in online shopping,

– the closure of large retail chains

– the majority of shopping is always in bookstores

– independent bookstores are trying to diversify by playing a more important cultural role or become a stakeholder in the “buy local” network, such as Germany and the United States, where a professional survey also shows even better the last year. This move is part of a militant approach for local consumption and preserving employment.



So Roy Lichtenstein is now a “classic”

June 26, 2013

Today Roy Lichtenstein is considered as one of the “stars” of the pop movement as well as a great master of American painting.

But after a few years performing to the forefront of pop art, Lichtenstein goes well beyond.

It was quickly seen as a postmodern artist since he cited in his works the artists and styles of art history

Then, in the last years of his life, returning to the kinds of naked and landscape, it became almost a tradition painter.

So Roy Lichtenstein is now a “classic”

But what makes the strength of his art  is also the amused distance, sometimes critical without becoming cynical, he held both on himself and on arts, from its beginnings to the end of his life.