A few years ago, I participated in a television literary program, surrounded by eminent authors, including Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio, a Nobel Prize winner for literature, who came to present his bookalmawhile you gave me, Bakhita. The first tells the tragic fate of one of the oldest families in Mauritius, and tells about the life of a slave who became a saint. The day after the show, my neighbor told me that a friend told her I shouldn’t be ” easy going “Because throughout the interview I didn’t have “do not smile”.
This thought made me angry, because if this scene had reproached Jean-Marie-Gustave Le Clezio and I, for not smiling at evoking the painful lives of our characters, I would simply have thought that this man was an idiot. But the fact that he was only waiting for the novelist’s smile, and not the novelist’s smile, made me realize once again how far we were still from equality between women and men, because that equality begins right there, the way we look at us. In, women, and what is expected of us, this perpetual command to satisfy, seduce, not intellectually, but physically.
For people to care about us, for people to listen to us, we should be friendly, and I should have smiled, as did my beautiful childhood announcers, who thus announced a report on the famine in Africa or a “file screen” on prostitution, their long legs set obliquely And the pants do not hide it, of course.So every evening they smiled to announce the films and reports the men made, every evening, by this wise greedy atmosphere, they made the people wish to watch their work.
I was thinking about this a few days ago, when I saw the exhibition Pioneers and Artists in Paris in the Roaring Twenties at the Musée du Luxembourg.. In the 1920s, artists from all over the world met in Paris. Morality was free there, creativity was in full swing, and female photographers or painters and sculptors all showed their bodies… much differently than men had always done.
Susan Valadon, for example, dares to draw a picture of a woman lying on her bed, cigarette in her mouth, her chest slightly sagging, drooping, short hair, in striped pajamas, two books placed beside her, is a woman taken into his house. Ideas, seeming a bit far away, sucked. She is not there to seduce. She does not pretend to be surprised in the bathroom or the toilet, she is completely alone, completely alone, it is a presence that does not cheat, does not distract, and real strength arises from this intimate moment, because this woman is simply her. Adult. Without arousing desire, without endorsing a sexy look, she inhabits her bed, her bedroom, her life. She is there. And if her cigarette ashes fell on her striped pajamas or on her sheets, it probably wouldn’t bother her. She is neither correct nor organized, and her bed is poorly arranged. The table is called blue roomAnd Susan Valadon warns: ” You have to have the courage to look the model in the face if you want to get into the soul. Never get me to draw a woman looking for the beloved or the beautiful, I will immediately disappoint her. »
A little later, a painting by Emily Charmy Young woman, head back Feminine pleasure as the mystery tells us, and if the lips are red and the eyes greatly formed, they are like two splinters, and two spots set there violently, and the painting, which shows only the bust of a dress and the face turned upside down, has this motion blur. This woman is moving, this woman is fleeing from us, her soul, says Valadon, is ambiguous, and to realize it perhaps one must simply accept to find oneself in her, and rediscover those fragile and timeless moments of sexual lust, ripping apart, ripping apart. Uprooting from the existing system.
Is it necessary to specify here also that the model is not smiling? Survives kindness. He even seems to want to escape the painting, and out of the frame, as if Emily Charmy had caught him falling, and his engraving had barely caught him on the canvas.
These two paintings, among the many other masterpieces in this gallery, show two major moments in a woman’s life (drawn and painted by a woman), the abandonment of thought and the surrender of pleasure.
Two moments of complete existence in the world.