Monday, 7 September 2015

What's your Epitaph?

Recently I wandered through the wonderful Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris. Although not as famous as Père Lachais it is a special place for me as several of my heroes lie buried in this necropolis, namely Emile Zola and Jean Michael Charcot. 

A cemetery is a useful place to consider success. Our worldly contributions, our imprints on the earth and beyond. I love reading the epitaphs. A life summed up in a few carefully chosen and engraved words. At risk of waffling I hear that great man of very few words whisper in my ear:

The grave of Emile Zola
Don’t try ~ Charles Bukowski

In Montmartre I and other visitors searched for the grave of Edgar Degas. Oddly we couldn't find it. I was looking for a hulking mausoleum or some such tribute, or at least an impressive bust like Zola. In this context size appeared to be a signifier of one’s importance.

Yet, Degas had no great monument. There was a rusting and simple metal surround for a broken and weed ridden gravestone, fallen as flat as the earth around it. I concluded that a talent like Degas doesn't need such frippery when he has left a body of artwork like this.

Team Aura- Lee Valley skate club

Taking inspiration from Degas' wondrous ballerinas I turn to the work of one of my collaborators Hannah Gravestock. Hannah’s recent projects include workshops with synchronised ice skaters. 

She uses theatrical methods to enhance their performance. The ultimate aim is competitive success. I asked Hannah to describe her work. She said nothing but sent me this picture:

Less is more. Collating drawing data

Signing off~ the cemetery cat.

I am looking forward to meeting up with the team this month. Here's to a successful Autumn.

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