Artist’s statement


About 384 400 Km {is the distance between you and me}

The technical facts:

384 400 Km {is the distance between you and me} is a book of poetry written both in French and English. It has been printed in a limited run of 50 copies on Olin Ivory paper. Dimensions are: 14 x 20 cm (approx. 5.5 x 7.8 inches), 62 pages. The black soft-cover with flaps is illustrated by a score I composed using the distance between the Moon and the Earth as a constraint, it is for harp and voice and was inspired by medieval music. The book is embellished with 8 lino-cuts which are derived from alchemy imagery. I stamped them myself in each one of the books, so each copy is a little different from the other.

And in the most honest way, what can I say about this book…

Some of you may know what I was doing before that: my jewellery brand called Pagan Poetry. I was already tired of it, of the world it had to be part of (fashion), I have had already sensed its last breath when the illness hit me: an inflammatory lesion to the brain. A frightening event that I overcome within a few months and that we will know nothing about: from the cause to the recovery: nothing. But the good news is: I recovered. In a practical matter this disease caused me to not be able to use my right hand. No pain but a frightening impossibility to control my aim, moves, from the intention of my brain to the actual precision of the hand something was blocked, the transmission was scrambled, as a station you desperately want to hear on your radio but are unable to attain, whatever the unbelievable efforts you make, as if you wanted to move an object with your mind but obviously couldn’t. My hand became this almost stranger to me, I could move it still, I was not paralysed (thank god!) but the control was impossible. And with that a fatigue I had never known before… A fatigue from the body to the mind. No I couldn’t produce anything physical, no objects anymore, I had no ideas for that anymore… But there were these texts I had written since 2010 or so, pieces of stories, auto-biography and reveries, a dream journal also. All these were compiled in a secret blog called 384400kilometersisthedistance.tumblr.com . As my will left me I recalled this blog, writing was all I was capable of now. So I read it again, edited and organised all these, threw away a lot also. Making and thinking this book was the first step of my creative recovery. Because when you recover your body after so many tests, after spending time at the hospital, lying in bed constantly, after having outside substances injected, your mind become the only thing left, because your mind is thirsty for creativity you have to feed it with what’s left: your thoughts. Your thoughts into a book.

This book is a about a lot of things, but the underlying idea is the position with which I approach the world most of the time: a view from far away, from outside sometimes. This sentiment to be so far away, this heart-breaking gap there is between two human being, between friends, kith and kin, lovers… And with that a music that never ceased to exist, an underlying music that was the second part of my recovery. As much as I stopped making physical objects, I never ceased to play music, a very gauche music (considering the state of my hand), but the notes gave me hope. I was all for non-material arts. Deep down words and music never disappeared from my brain and now I can say I am addicted to the waves… So the cover of this book had to be illustrated with music and the title I had chosen was a clue: 384 400 : numbers that I could play as intervals, and the moon and earth, letters transcribed as numbers, and what are numbers if notes… And this new friend/instrument we welcomed in our home: the harp. These were all my tools to build this piece: a variation on the distance between the earth and the moon. The mood of this piece was influenced by medieval music I listened to at this time.

And the gravures are here to underline this mood: lino-cuts derived from alchemical figures, rerouted and personalised to illustrate my story.

All the poems are written both in English and French, even though my mother’s tongue is French. Because first all my friends and muses are either English speaking or understand English very well, and this book was written also for them, for those who were such an inspiration in my life, whether I know them personally or not (I believe we are made from the things we like but also from the friends around). And second English is a huge part of my life (from the books I read to the music I listen to the friends I talk with). So a lot of the times (and lately almost all the time) my ideas are speaking in English in my mind. A naïve English I like, because using a foreign language is also allowing oneself to mistakes and new meanings for the words. And in the end I found something lovely in writing bilingual: each tongue gives me musicality and meaning that the other can’t. And I’d like to think that the reality of each poem sits in between, in a cloud were all languages are one.

All the texts were written before I got ill except for the last one. The texts were not written in a chronological matter, but I organised them as a sort of evolving story, some are dreams, some are not about me, but they all have roots in my reality. They were not overthought, no rhyme was conscious, a lot of the words were written in an automatic matter, and as the entrée of the book, always remember that with the rhyme comes the fiction.