Marianne with a flame
Marianne es the allegory of the French Republic marbre 03 h.32cm
A land of generosity
Is Abbé Pierre’s charisma behind the times ? Winter 1954 … He makes us aware of the end of an age -an age when people’s generosity meant something different to what it does today; therefore, an age when the meaning and bearing of art were probably different too. We have progressively glided into an affluent society, which is both concerned and full of the sense of its own importance. Yet most of those who are over 50 and more keep, deep and muffled inside of them, from a remote past, a once widely shared disposition : how numerous the men and women with heart and courage who yielded harvests of generosity … as those their struggles yielded during wars, during the Resistance, during the attainment of social benefits, during the French Popular front and through various activist movements, as the Communists’ the Christians’, the all cause volunteers’, not to mention the devotees to progress, the large number of children as flowers blown about in the wind, the thousands of men and women who dedicated their lives to a ministry of some sort, I mean teachers, nursing and medical staff, priests, nuns … For all their being deserted today, those lands could not be said to have become barren; but how green they were then ! And they gave way to so many opportunities of discreetly sharing grievous feelings : the honour of the ex-service members, the pride of the members of the Resistance, the Communists’ perplexity, priesthoods to be but bygones … So many manners of silence, of heavy disappointed silence !
Now, were they not as many lands and wombs of generosity in which art could be echoing its particular echo and raising active emotion, admiration, enthusiasm, the surpassing of oneself into a greater gift of oneself ? Let us think Camus’ definition over, although it would be quite incomprehensible today : “art, man’s own transcending of himself”.
Following a common evolution, I have been, like many others, acquainted to such a dispossession, such a parting from my attachments, to such a wasteland in my heart, to such a critical revision. Hence my patient, persevering, tenacious search for a different and total building up of the happy harmonies at work in me. Sculpture was my luck : devoting myself so strongly to it, I but found another way of giving that gut-and-womb generosity. (Translated by Michèle Bustros)