"(...)Then he was born of a cow, which is nicer, then of a giant lizard
from New Guinea, big as a donkey, then he was born for the second
time of a woman, and in the course of that was mindful of the future,
it was women after all whom he knew the best and with whom he
would be most at ease later, and now he was already looking at
that breast so soft and full, while making the little comparative
judgments which his already considerable experience permitted."
Henri Michaux, Selected Writings, New Directions Publishing, New York, 1968, page 73. [translation Richard Ellmann]
Being the one who made me, it occurred to me that my mother was indirectly the origin of my own production. As the allegorical artist behind the artist I am, my work is consequently her doing. The first Metragram photography I therefore took in my mother's salon. As an architect she built this house for her family, and I decided to inscribe my own practice into hers, and being her work, make her enter mine.
I hereby send my reader to Alain Jouffroy's Manifeste De La Poésie Vécue (L’Infini / Gallimard Publishers, 1994). Michel Leiris will speak of poésie véridique in similar terms in a text about Paul Eluard. (Michel Leiris, Brisées, Folio essais, Gallimard Publishers, 1992, page 197. Originale publication in 1966)
"Origin here means that from and by which something is what it is and as it is. What something is, as it is,
we call its essence or nature. The origin of something is the source of its nature. The question concerning the
origin of the work of art asks about the source of its nature. On the usual view, the work arises out of and by
means of the activity of the artist. But by what and whence is the artist what he is? By the work; for to say that
the work does credit to the master means that it is the work that first lets the artist emerge as a master of his art.
The artist is the origin of the work. The work is the origin of the artist. Neither is without the other. Nevertheless,
neither is the sole support of the other. In themselves and in their interrelations artist and work are each of them
by virtue of a third thing which is prior to both, namely that which also gives artist and work of art their names -- art."
Martin Heidegger, The Origin of the Work of Art, in Basic Writings, Harper, San Francisco, 1977, page 149.
Five years after this first image was taken, I returned. In the arts, vanitas is a type of symbolic still life painting commonly executed by Northern European painters in Flanders and the Netherlands in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The term vanitas itself refers to the arts, learning and time. The word is Latin, meaning "emptiness" and loosely translated corresponds to the meaninglessness of earthly life and the transient nature of vanity.
I noted that Schumann's Vanitas vanitatum (vanity of vanities) is adjunct of Mit Humor.
Thus this calligraphic intervention related to the Anthropometries of Yves Klein, the Logograms of Christian Dotremont and the Dactylograms of Piero Manzoni, which I have labelled a Metragram and that consists of inscribing on the hypogastrium (womb) of a woman with monochromic black ink -- tabula rasa, pinakis agraphos. A Metragram is a symbolic (perhaps cathartic) inking with a calligraphy brush of the origin of the world.
For a glimpse at other images from the Metragram series, visit this webpage.