Jacques Braunstein’sArtistic approach
To bear witness and preserve a memory
The knots on cords, the imprisonment of evil
“Could I cut myself off from listening:
– It was like millions of voices, joined by more every day were whispering: “Do this in memory of me, of me, of me, of…”
I considered giving one minute of silence to each of the sacrified souls in the Holocaust, being symbolically 6 million. I would have been mute, day and night for 13 years. Insanity!
Braiding knots on cords, in the quipu way, an Inca counting system, appeared more realistic. (Treaties of witchcraft teach us that each knot imprisons a demon). They were many, those nazi demons who ordained “ The Final Solution ” and their henchmen, members of the party, who executed the atrocities zealously.
During 40 years (the time of the jewish people in the Desert), I tied knots, dozens of knots, thousands, millions, through which I thought eliminating EVIL.
The wisdom of the Kabbalah teaches us that an idea that doesn’t lead to a realization is a pointless idea…
Overwhelmed, like the sorcerer’s apprentice by the ambition and the excessiveness of the task, I tried, through the creation of symbol-objects associated to my cords, to exorcize all the violence, any forms of cruelty, all the injustices, all the humiliation, all the intolerance causing the disgrace of humanity…
The heart of my work is a place for reflection.
The knots on my cords are not arranged randomly, I set myself constraints, according to a mathematical progression system based on a numerologic symbolic. I made 10 million of these knots to this day in all likelihood and… yet… there remains evil that humans inflict on other humans.
In the same time, I made figurines, from dolls that I mummified, wrapping them in linen textile bandages around which I tied up my cords. Hundreds of these mummies I placed, gathered, in situation… Symbolically they represented the Spirits of the victims of the nazi barbarism. Aligned or in columns, anonymous or identified, spirals (infernals), gathered for a death dance, I focused my art in the evocation of the Holocaust.
I made replicas of children’s bodies wrapped in tattered clothes, as if brought out of a masse grave of bleak memory. I exhibited crucified, hung, disabled, suffering figures.
None of these representations have a human face, through my work, I only suggest, to create some kind of magic, a touching vision calling out reflection, leading to meditation, to spirituality.
The stone, mirror of the soul
The stone becomes my main material. It seems to me the more appropriate material, currently, to the mode of expression that defines and determines my research. By its texture, by its appearances, it is the bearer of the founding principles of the pain endured by all the elements forming the earth and, in particular, that of the human species.
It is significant in its image when its form presents and symbolizes the scars of mankind in pain: deformed, contorted, ravaged, hunched, creased, spotted face… But the stones are not dead forever. That is why I intervene on some of them, searched for and chosen when a communication is created between us, to breathe life into them. I draw them a gaze and they see; I decorated them with tied knots cords, with textile fibers, and they speak to me… I give them a new form, a function, a specific meaning. They become partners of my obsessions, of my fantasies, they share my ghosts… They are ready to talk with the spectator… Solid tracks, hieratic markers, unchanging, they seal and make a short-lived work durable, experimental, taking off the characteristic too approximate of his expression, never in perfect correlation with the artist’s original will”.
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