NuChat noirLes poulesBastienSangJeanLa courLe painClaudette et TitiPaulLe couteauJean et MathildeLes vachesTLes oeufsSur le feuLe repasBabetteCrucifixNuzin

face au silence (in the face of silence)


… Underneath the wooded volcanoes, the furrows of poor earth, the thick fog, the scent of damp clover, the cry of the crows, the entanglement of the forest after a storm, the peace in the heart of the vines, the paths dug up into ruts, the fields lying fallow, the snow swept away by the North wind, the mysteries of the night, the silence… this reality inspires me.

I travel the plains and the mountains, wherever the wind carries me, searching intuitively for the invisible. New York, my land of refuge, seems so far away… the smell of manure, the lowing of the cows, the combine harvester abandoned at the far end of the meadow, the carpet of used tyres that covers the silage, the old car used as a henhouse, the makeshift cowsheds, the cracks in the walls of sun-dried bricks, the rags spread out on the rusty sheet metal, the mud, the worn out shoes on the landing…

The dogs bark. A face appears behind a lace curtain. I knock on the door. They let me come in for just a little while. Some cats escape through a half-open window. A radio crackles with the news headlines. Tobacco smoke stings my nose. I almost walk into a long strip of fly paper. The lights are dim, hardly lighting up the house. On the walls are polaroids yellowed by the passage of time, and beside them an accumulation of clocks that no longer tell the time, a dusty Christ, and a plaster Virgin, a souvenir from a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Silences talk to me…

From village to village, farm after farm, I discover modest and remarkable men and women: Claudette with sparkling blue eyes and red made-up lips. Jeannot, sentimental and rebellious, reminds me of Charlie Chaplin. Babette, his wife, is in love and overflowing with tenderness. Raymond is generous, shy and lonely. Since the passing of his brother, Jean is grieving. I notice a shadow of melancholy in the eyes of Mathilde. Lucien drives away his blues by playing the harmonica. Courageous, realistic, they don