vendredi 1 juin 2007

Make art and beauty, not war

Je suis probablement la seule genevoise à avoir une colonne mensuelle (Letter from Switzerland) dans un magazine du Koweit : Rabaa (les lettre de son prénom sont les mêmes que dans le mien, a, b, r) est mon amie, et rédactrice en chef de ce féminin glamour

My dearest Rabaa

Please forgive me for neglecting our correspondence, but I have been so busy!

Right now, I am on my way back from the Vennice biennale, THE art moment of the summer in Europe, and from the world renowned Basel Art Fair, the Dokumenta, Monumenta and other summer shows… I have seen these last weeks magnificent works by artists from all over the world, a group of incredible art lovers… art is everywhere, you end up having art for breakfast, lunch, dinner and lounge… in particular in Venice. Interestingly enough, Venice is also THE place in the world, I think, where people are most happy. Nobody remembers when the last war ever touched the borders of the floating beauty island… I would like the world to be like Venice. Full of art and beauty.

But the art displayed brings us back to the cruel reality of the rest of the world. In the Big Arsenale, one of the major exhibition areas, the number of works dedicated to war is striking. The political message is very clear: artists are against war. They express this position in their own way and force us to look precisely at what they condemn. In order to exert pressure on the viewer, they test us with particularly terrible scenes, they show the absurdity of war, and underscore the consequences of, and losses from, political decisions that never take into account individual lives, hopes, loves and future.

I was particularly struck by a work by the young American artist Emily Prince. She made hundreds of small pencil drawings, all portraits of American soldiers who died in Iraq, mostly men, but also a few women, and placed these drawings on a huge wall according to each soldier’s state of origin. She created a macabre map of America, a map of young dead people from all over the country. The same could have been made for Kuwait some years ago, for Iraq itself, and for all other countries currently in war… Deaths on all sides, this is forever the absurdity of war.

In contrast, as the magnificent French philosopher Gilles Deleuze said and wrote so many times, making art is resisting death. Venice is just one example of the power of the beauty of art. While the French collection by François Pinault inhabits the city, very soon, Dubai and Abou-Dabi might join, with the help of France, and open their own “Louvre du désert”. Art and beauty, and in particular painting, is also, according to Jean Cocteau, “the only language that crosses the borders which separate nations”. The Sharjah Art Biennale already follows Venice’s example in “crossing borders”. We can only pray that many cities all over the world will follow. I am looking forward to my visit to Kuwait for such an event ! Creating beauty is always positive, and according to Dostoïewski, BEAUTY WILL SAVE THE WORLD.

Dearest Rabaa, for our children, let’s prepare a future of art and beauty !

Love Forever

Publié dans Bariqaldana, juin 2007