We Live at the End, Where Fields Are, ~ 1985
Words in Low Alemanic dialect I said as a child and written down by a family member. About stifled natural language expression – the rule at home was to speak Alsatian. The reasons given were that the region has been invaded by both German and French people, and that the true identity was to be Alsatian, and therefore to speak that language. Every trial to speak in French, ended with threats and if obedience was not obtained and a French word still wanted to be said, the small child face met the hard father hand. To express a personal opinion was also forbidden and punished, usually with threats and humiliation. At the age of 6, I had to enter school, where everybody was talking French. I was terrified and refused to talk, because I didn’t want to be beaten. I have been taught French in secret by my mother, under threats.
I remember being forced to repeat a sentence, again and again : “Le loup est derrière l’arbre… le loup est derrière l’arbre.” The wolf is behind the tree… the wolf is behind the tree. I still understand Alsatian, but can’t talk. Except with poetry,
to express myself using words is always associated with possible punishment and public humiliation.
Poetry is like to have wings. Poetry is to go away. Free. Far away from the sarcophagus of dry meaning.
The Lost Art of Facing Anguish / Portrait of my Mother Aged 60, 2010
Blue Line of the Vosges, Inside of a Pillbox, 2011
The Lost Art of Facing Anguish / Self-Portrait, 2010
Alsatian Memories / The Grandfather P.
Wearing uniforms : as God’s Lamb, then the Wehrmacht uniform as a Malgré-Nous at the age of 18. The people called Malgré-Nous have been treated like scapegoats. 100,000 Alsatians have been forced to fight for Hitler, against their will and most have been sent to the Eastern front. There were threats to their families, many were young boys just entering into adulthood who couldn’t face the idea of seeing their family sent in the local concentration camp if they disobey. While in the Wehrmacht, many tried to escape, join the resistance, do sabotage actions. Once the war was over, they were viewed as traitors. Their trauma was only recognised a long time after the end of the war. People here live on a fracture between two countries. External dictators always become internal dictators. Wars grow in countries, enter in homes, in families, in each member’s soul. The reverse process starts inside of each soul. We all carry a potential monster to tame. Context, lack of support, age of trauma, environment, character, public reactions to expression of the traumas transform these shocks into seeds of spiritual growth or make them become pervasive. People need scapegoats to carry emotional burdens so they feel themselves the good and normal ones. These scapegoats need to find other scapegoats. Loops of abuse. Circles need to be broken. To do that, inner shadow has to be faced naked.
Drawing by P. While in the Wehrmacht as a Malgré-Nous at the Age of 18.
Diary Written by P. While in the Wehrmacht as a Malgré-Nous at the Age of 18.
4 – 5 . 07 . 1943
Letter from Mother (Dream)
25 . 08 . 1943
1 hour running with gas mask on the face but still have to sing.
Polish Memories / Place of Deportation and Forced Labour, 2010
Where my other grandfather, Stanislaw, Polish deportee, had to work. It is where he met my grandmother who was a cleaning woman. She fell pregnant and was then terrified that the nazis would send her to the concentration camp if they learn about her relation with a deportee. She cried constantly, tried to hide her pregnancy while laying in the cellar to escape bombs. The child is born in the end of the war, and Stanislaw disappeared. Other children mocked the child because he was a war orphan. That child grew up, was obsessed with collecting weapons, the war. There had to be weapons everywhere at home… in case of attack. An eternal possible attack of unknown enemies. The world was full of enemies, home had to be a bunker, with alarms, weapons, hidden rooms. A domestic dictatorship and paranoïa installed itself. – Don’t trust the outside world. They want to use you, they will betray you, they lie to you, they manipulate you, don’t trust the outside world. Don’t talk to the outside world, here, people could end in the concentration camp if they said a wrong word, there were spies in the neighborhood, you couldn’t trust your own family. People learnt silence. Don’t take unnecessary risks, don’t talk. Don’t express something that is truly you, it is dangerous. The price can be high. – Rules.
Place of Massacre a Century Ago, French Trench, 2010
Trench Coffin, aged 100, 2010
In 100 years, the barbed wire entered so deep in the trunks that it is now part of the trees and seems to come out of them. They still live. There are so many bullets and shrapnel in the wood in these areas that people prefer not to cut the trees. They are allowed to continue to live because they carry war and are useless.
Scythed Flowers on the Ground of the Concentration Camp, 2010
Comes from Greek “thumon” which means “offering” (that is burnt) and “perfume”. It was symbol of courage in many cultures and the Egyptians used it for embalming. People here think it protects from nightmares.
Some even think that it helps the souls to enter in a next life after death.
Pliny said that Achilles used it to heal his wounds, that is why it has that name.
It heals wounds that bleed and accelerates the formation of scars.
Self-Portrait Calling the Soul of the Dead Child in a Well, after Kurosawa’s Akahige, 2010
Dead End Glowing, 2011
Wolf Skull and Rubus, 2011
My Milk Teeth, My Cat’s Milk Tooth, My Dog’s Milk Tooth, 2010
Phonème Cutting the Head in Two, 2010
Mother Healing, 2011
First Flowers of Spring Blossoming in my Shadow in Mental Hospital after Session of Therapy, 2011
The Paris, Texas Light after Session of Therapy in the Mental Hospital, 2011
As “Don’t talk, don’t trust, don’t feel” were the destructive rules when younger, I replaced humans. I knew I could trust the ground, feel it, and talk to it. To lie in the fields, and plow the furrow deep with the feet. The ground was something stable and predictable, with a generous nurturing function. I used to kiss the earth and I always felt amazingly loved by it.
So I became an island.
Self-portrait as a rat island wearing black waters, 2010
Roots Invading Home, 2011
Poetic Bone #2 – The Security Bone, 2010
Part of a sculpture – “I won’t be killed but I know that I will die” – Bone of a wild animal killed, eaten by another one and found in the pine forest. The aim is to use cardiac coherence to rebuild a vertebral column. To dig and to wake up the deep instincts that have been abraded by invalidating environments. The bone is the structure, what is kept when everything else is destroyed. The bone is covered with survival instincts. Safety of the body dissolving fear and safety of the soul dissolving illusory permanence.
Shelter Created by a Stranger, 2010
Inner Guardian, 2010
Survival Sacrifice / Fresh Lizard Tail and Family Archive, 2011
Year 1991, rise of the fear sculpture : 1,31 meter tall and 28 kg.
“When will we die ? Tomorrow maybe, or maybe in few hours, or maybe next week… or maybe when I will come home from school, she will be dead… will he kill her before me ? Will he kill us together ? Will he commit suicide after ? Will he bury us or burn us after ? Will the police come ? Why nobody never comes to protect us from him ? Are there sentences that can be said so he doesn’t kill us ? Is he planning a cold murder ? Will it be pure rage and unpredictable instead ? With which one of his weapons ? Gun, rifle, knife, sword, beaten to death with the bull cane ? Will he carve a cross in the end of the cartridges to make them deadlier like he taught me ? Which weapon hurts the most, with which one would I prefer that my father kills me ? Will he kill us like these parents kill their children in the violent newspapers he likes to read ? Will he come while we are asleep ? [Don't fall asleep, or you will be an easy target] Will one of his friends who like weapons help him to hide our bodies ? Will he kill us quickly or make us suffer to take revenge ? Is she strong enough to fight physically ? How do I protect her if he starts ? Where do I kick him ? What are his weak points ? How can I make sure he suffers enough if I hit him so we have time to escape and run ? Will the neighbours hear us ? Can the dog he uses to beat with the bull cane overcome his terror and attack him to protect us ? [No, protect the dog, too, the dog is like us] What will happen to my beloved dog if he kills us ? Who will protect the dog from the bull cane like we do ? Where are all the cartridges ? How to escape if he locks the doors ? [Caught like a rat in the bedroom, too high to jump out of the window] How to play dead if he is killing us ? [The heartbeat will betray me]” – A Song of Innocence and Experience
Hydra (Family Tree), 2011
Anonymous Grave of a Child Covered with Wild Strawberries, 2011