Prayer for Unfaithful Women, 2015

The are many stories about unfaithful women. For instance in my hometown in France, during Middle Age, unfaithful women were put into a cage and submerged into the river. If the woman was still alive after 10 minutes it meant that she was faithful.

The Prayer for Unfaithful Women is an art performance about women who consorted with German soldiers during world war II. They were humiliated and had their head shaved in public on the main square.

This art performance is a visual denunciation of the rage under the guise of an angelic prayer.

It is about French memory.

We carry with us from our history.

Andrée Weschler

Amputation, 2006

Amputation is an installation of medical tools hypothesizing failure as the naissance of healing: one needs to be sick before one can heal. The installation’s tools belonged to Andrée’s family doctor who was simultaneously caregiver and spectator to her and her family’s lives. This work is done in his memory

Singapore Art Museum

 

If you Imagine my Dear that ... , 2011

“If you imagine my dear that is going to last forever the season of love, you got it all wrong” are the lyrics of a French poem

Si tu t’imagines, by Raymond Queneau, written in 1950 and interpreted by Juliette Gréco.

The images and the material of the video & pictures are taken from a surgery the artist went through. The surgeon, after the surgery gave the video and said: “ Since you are an artist, I thought that you will be interested in it.” The trauma of the surgery over, it took three years to face the brutal reality of the images and dare to look at them and finally do an art work with it.

French poem translated in English:

“If you imagine, if you imagine, girl girl,  if you imagine, that is going to last forever the season of  the season of season of love,you got it all wrong girl, you got it all wrong

If you think my dear, if you think  that your rosy complexion, your hourglass figure, your cute biceps, your nails, your nymph’s thigh and your light-hearted foot, if you think my dear that is going to last forever, you got it all wrong girl, you got it all wrong

Beautiful days go away, the beautiful festive days, suns and planets, all turn in circles, but you my dear, you walk straight, towards what you cannot see, approaching very sneakily, the swift wrinkle, the heavy fat, the triple chin, the limp muscle, come on pick roses, the roses of life and may their petals be the slack sea of all the happiness. Come on pick, if you do not,  you got it all wrong, girl girl, you got it all wrong”

 

Domesticated in her Animality, 2000

“The video lasts 45 minutes. I look in the video camera as if it is a mirror. The video camera becomes a conduit from the private space to the public place.
I pluck my eyebrows, one hair after the other, one by one. At first the process is constructive, the eyes get bigger, the face prettier. But the process does not stop and suddenly removing hair one by one becomes destructive. 
A simple act of everyday becomes definitive.”

Andrée Weschler, 2002

The Venus in Furs, 2006

Video Performance

“It was a large oil painting, done in the robust full-bodied manner of the Belgian school. Its subject was strange enough. A beautiful woman with a radiant smile upon a face, with abundant hair tied into a classical knot, on which white powder lay like soft hoarfrost, was resting on an ottoman, supported on her left arm. She was nude under her dark furs. Her right hand played with a lash, while her bare foot rested carelessly on a man lying before her like a slave, like a dog”

Venus in Furs, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (page 59, Blast Books, New York)

 

The Hairy Virgin

The Hairy Virgin is a true story of a girl whose entire body was covered with hair. She was introduced to the King Charles the 4th, Emperor and King.

In his book “Histoires Prodigieuses”, Pierre Boaistuau explains that during her pregnancy, the mother of the Hairy Virgin had seen a statue of Saint John that was covered with animal fur. With the power of her imagination, the mother “transferred” the hair onto the body of her forthcoming baby. The maternal imagination has the power to shape the progeny, it is called the “monstrous imagination”.

“A hairy virgin was shown completely covered with hair like a bear; she was born thus deformed and hideous because her mother had gazed too intensely upon an effigy of St John dressed in animal skins which hung at the foot of her bed when she conceived.

It is certain that these monstrous creatures most often are the consequence of divine judgment, justice, punishment, and curse; horrified by their sin, God allows [women] to produce such abominations because they hurl themselves forward indifferently, like savage beasts that only follow their appetites, with no consideration of age, place, time, and the other laws established by Nature”

Pierre Boaistuau, Histoires prodigieuses, 1560


The Choir, 2003

I don’t know how to explain my art. I don’t know how to tell it. If I try, I have the impulse to be faithless, to betray it, to empty it, to steal its soul. When I look at my work I read it; my artwork talks and responds to me. We were “one” for a while but now it is one by itself. It is not me anymore. Nevertheless there is still a lot of me in it. Sometimes I am uncomfortable, other times it bothers me, I feel unveiled, and some other time I am surprised. To explain it is giving to the origin of the artwork.

Where does the idea come from? I don’t know where my ideas come from. They come from the fact that I am born that winter in 1963 in France, that I grew up in a little closed village in Alsace, that I am the third child of a family of four, that my father is my father and that he gave me what he gave me, that my mother is my mother and that I love her for that. That my mother tongue is French but I was cradled in “Alsatian” (German dialect). That I drink coffee in the morning and that I eat what I eat. An idea is a chemical reaction that I cannot explain. I find. I create. When I worked on this project as I always do I was living and breathing through it. All I was perceiving, reading, seeing, dreaming was through it.

Sometimes I have ideas that are like explosions coming out from my pores.

I believe in a conceptual instincts.

In this work I talk about my childhood, the world I come from. The Sunday masses, women sitting on the left benches, men sitting on the right benches. The aisles in the middle. I am telling my childhood, what I saw, what I heart, what I perceived.

My dreams.

My reality.

Andrée Weschler