Antoine de Saint Exupéry – starting points
A lot has been written about Exupéry. My project, however, does not deal with a new biography or illustrations. I am attempting to find creative impulses in his life and translate them into the language of visual arts – and that is what makes my projects unique. It is highly probable that another person would pick completely different characteristics.
For the needs of the project I have picked four areas that had, in my opinion, influenced and became characteristic of Saint-Exupéry’s personality and work. When reading the sources, I take notes, save quotations. A kind of mosaic is being formed and I hope to get a glimpse of the future images soon. Here, in random order, are some examples:
1) Countryside of his childhood and adolescence – the cornerstones of Exupéry’s idealism, his attachment to large spaces and his desire to be anchored
- the subject of a mountain, reminiscent of the father lost at an early age, like a fortress
- Aklin, the knight, protégé of the gods
- “I needed all those points to later see, what I was missing in the desert…”
- “I am dreaming of a life where we walk on white pebbles…”
- a golden light on the riverbank in Fleurville
- to come from somewhere, a society, one’s childhood, one’s ideals
- “…in childhood disappearing at night are my roots”
2) Rituality and tradition – looking for security in traditions, looking for ancient rituals that wind through the human existence, respect for crafts
- the longing for the sacred and another world, respect for traditions
- the essence of Christmas, the quiet roar of the stove, a table laid with a white tablecloth as the symbol of the last supper
- “…I want to keep risking my skin even if I should lose”
- connection with the Cosmos, giving oneself up to the elements, lifting to a higher level
- “I prefer a particular place on the riverbank…”
3) the pilot’s cathedral – transcendence of solitude, intense relationship with the Earth and people below
- “…why, piloting also means writing symbols in the sky just like on a blank sheet”
- “I live in the tracks of my own rejoicing”
- Exupéry understands the vocation of a pilot as resurrection, as entering a different world
- and then he could only do one thing: give himself (the gift of blood)
- The gentle bond between the pilot and the land / people
- he would increasingly identify with the fate of the Little Prince: leave the Earth, vanish from the world
- The Sun was fading in the sea, it was magnificent. The airplane was intoxicating him.
4) Exupéry’s catechism and paradoxes – he wanted everything, absolute love and freedom, solitude and company, luxury and poverty
- “I am the man poking at the ashes. As a man looking for a spark of life in a dark hearth.”
- “I hate the outer effects; a man must have something to say!”
- Exupéry admired St John’s Gospel
- the thing is to bring the flock together, invite scattered beings to connect – that is the heart of the secret
That much for the first batch of impulses. What follows from it for my next work?
Exupéry will be about juxtapositions – material and structural. It will be about mastering a large space using a lowered center. It will be about using figural motifs. It will be about relief edges on the background of an empty space inhabited by the sun, moon, and stars. It will be about warm nooks.