Monday, 15 August 2016

Stendhal in Reverse



Resembling the drowned Ophelia by Millais, while insisting on submerging herself into beauty instead.
The frog telling her to do as Stendhal and go to Italy and not forget to send him a postcard.
Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016. 


Stendhal was exhilarated to a degree that he nearly fainted at the massive exposure of art when in Florence 1817.

For the already internally fainted then maybe art could be way out, as Catherine Meurisse seeks out in her La Légèreté, an intricate, detailed and - yes, beautiful - survey on seeking, searching, and consulting beauty as a means to find a way back to life following the massacre of her colleagues at Charlie Hebdo



Walking though exhibition rooms, which all seem grey and empty
to the mind, which cannot see nor remember.
Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016. 


Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.

Luz drew his moving book on being turned inside out from mourning mere four months after the massacre. Catherine Meurisse has published hers 15 months after the fact with a many-layered tale on the delicately drawn figure, clad in the anorak, she wore on the morning on the massacre, where she overslept and arrived minutes after the Brothers Kalashnikov as she titles them.

She cannot escape her anorak as long as she cannot reconnect with her eyes. Fainted as she is from within, she then begins her quest to find beauty again, to re- herself to life.


Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.


The red and blue wiring to her brain's two halves gone off.
Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.
When everything seems to exist in a sphere in which she is no longer a member, walls of art exposes themselves in grey to her, except from that one painting on the pain she feels within.

And so she asks everyone on trauma, life and art: Friends, fictional characters, long dead authors, texting with Luz, seeing therapists, missing Elsa Cayat, who was murdered too at Charlie Hebdo, and who is dissecting the semantics of one of the Kalashnikov Brothers. In dialogue upon dialogue, Catherine Meurisse tries to re-wire her brain.

In the midst of everything else she has lost her personal freedom as well, being heavily protected at all hours, which prevent her from connecting to her fellow human beings. The felling of potential loves in her life is as funny as they are painful on the pages, and laughter and trauma walk hand in hand everywhere in La Légèreté.

She is an open, positive and inquisitive mind in the midst of her mourning and her very being highlights all that the murderers killed off.


Walking with Stendhal in Rome.
Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.

Catherine Meurisse,from La Légèreté, 2016.

But she does battle on, insisting on plunging herself into art to find beauty, making herself one with the protagonist at the theatre, dissolving herself in music and entering paintings, such as Géricault's raft, walking inside and discussing with she, who found the massacred cartoonists on the day; the latter being the only one standing up in the room just as in the painting. Rescue seems impossible just as in Géricault and yet his men at sea were exactly that: rescued.

Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.


She too unwraps herself from the anorak once again, but that is a tale, which must be read and especially seen in La Légèreté. Let us wrap up here with just another appetizer, her internal rebellion to emphasizing the portraits of the murdered cartoonists only, when it is their drawings we ought to see everywhere.

Why not, for instance, place the rebus by Honoré on the street corners in monumental scale? The rebus, the solution of which Honoré never told and which we shall never know now. Then our streets shall be filled with people in intense afterthought, playing with their minds in the most crooked of ways:


Catherine Meurisse, from La Légèreté, 2016.


Catherine Meurisse, La Légèreté, Dargaud, Paris 2016, to be ordered here.



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