monde lointain

etching on copper, printed with chine collé
1993 - 246 x 350 mm

An exhibition was being prepared in Paris. The theme would be Music, the required technique engraving / etching, and the participants would be limited to, if I remember well, a dozen. And I was invited.

Normally I avoid imposed themes (and I detest contests) but this one really inspired me. Instead of the obvious drawing of musicians and/or musical intruments, I wanted to create the work whilst listening to music and drawing what the music showed me. An experiment in how inspiration would react to it.

The music I chose was by Henri Dutilleux (1916 - 2013) , a French contemporary composer. A further source of inspiration for me was the fact that his cello concerto, Tout un Monde Lointain was inspired by the poem La Chevelure by Charles Baudelaire who happens to be one of my all-time favourite poets. Even the title is part of a verse from this poem: "Tout un monde lointain, absent, presque défunt." or translated: "A whole world, far away, absent and nearly deceased." Dutilleux's atonal, five parts concerto, with each part bearing as title a verse by Baudelaire is a proof that poetical connotations do not necessarily mean that a work is an illustration or a servant of literature and language.

To really enter this etching, you should in fact listen to this concerto. If you can accept atonal music of course.

O, the exhibition you ask? I was one of the chosen ones indeed, and, my opinion, the only one who really grasped the theme.
The other eleven were rather melodramatic depictions of musicians.