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


Black #02

Black #02 is part of a  series of performances using the colour black. The material for the Performance Art is a pair of  Black Stocking and Red Shoes. The initial inspiration of the performance is a memory of Weschler's childhood:

 "In 1975 I was 12 years old, I was still a child and not a teenager yet. It was the seventies, the era of the platform shoes and wide-legged, flared jeans. I wanted to wear stockings with my skirt and I asked my mum to buy me a pair. Fashion for   children at that time was limited and it was difficult to find a pair that  would suit a 12 year old’s skinny body, they were either too big for a child or too small for a woman. My beloved mum bought me the smallest pair she could find. I tried them on and   they were too big for me that I could squeeze in all my body inside except   for the head. When my mum asked how they were fitting me, I remember that I replied that they were great and I walked in front of her with my platform shoes, the torso and two arms inside the stocking

An artist conveys images"