The very title, “to be Prussian” refers to personal identity which is absorbed and evacuated by the blue pigment of cesium. The artistic process used is a technique of subtraction and addition. The family photos from the artist’s archives shown here, have undergone an extraction operation, a surgical ablation on the physical presence of the artist. The cut out human outline traces the hazy past. Later, the Prussian blue pigment fills the absence in the cut out body. Prussian blue, symbol of non-time, and the overriding colour of the composition.
Prussian blue acts like a short-circuit between identity and temporality ; non-time = non-body. The boxes of archive photos are unsealed, memory opens up, the past is displayed in images: strolls on the shore, in Mont St Michel Bay, posing by the cliffs on the islands of Chausey , mushroom picking in the forest, swimming in the river, wandering through hay stacks. These scenes of everyday life of anecdotal interest reflect, in their cut up state, life made fragile through lack of time. The surgical ablation comes as an additional action, on top of those seen in the photos, to demonstrate the opposition between time and being. The artist accepts his life through the impression of memory, showing, through cutting out, that life in pure action, without contemplation, is the consequence of non-time, ending in non-existence.
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