Our scars are the vibrant proof of the healing process. These scars are precious, therefore, I had to put gold on it. On June 29th, a new performance “My scars, of them I am fully woven.” will take place for Olivier. Olivier has a rare venous system disease and bears multiple scars from it.
On June 29th, the artistic event will happen for the fifth time.
This campaign will participate in the production of a series – hopefully of about ten documented performances – and compensate the talents used in each performance, from gilders, photographers, filmmakers and more. These partnerships will also create further links among people involved in the project.
For this performance, the team is composed by May Phan van Suu (gilding), Florent Mulot (photography), Olivier Londe (film), Théo Harfoush (sound), Anahi Tenenbaum (graphic design), Malika Baaziz (communication) and myself.
This artistic performance is a ritual, a “magic” gesture consisting of applying gold to a scar. It’s a witness of our reconstruction and the sign of our capacity to adapt after a traumatic experience.
This action is modelled on the Japanese technique of kintsugi (golden joinery), the art of repairing broken pottery, especially bowls used in the tea ceremony. These bowls are considered precious objects. When a bowl is broken, it can be repaired with lacquer, the joints remain visible by being highlighted with gold. The scar of the pottery is seen as something to show and acknowledge, something to celebrate.
I am particularly interested in that aspect, the transformation, highlighted in gold, which lends extra value to the bowl. It (the gold) demonstrates the mix of strength and fragility that makes us human.
How does the performance develop?
Olivier enters a work space, undresses fully. Then, he makes a quarter-turn to the left (in reference to the tea ceremony).
The gilder comes and applies a gold leaf onto his scars. Once the gold has been applied, the gilder recedes into the background. Olivier takes a moment to rest and breathe, a moment to reclaim his body, like a rebirth. It is a time dedicated to personal expression.
When he’s ready, and since the gold cannot remain on his body forever, Olivier gives a signal to the gilder to come remove the gold.
When he re-dresses, the gilder and I scrape the gold off and into a vial scrawled with Olivier’s name and the date. I finally give the vial of gold to him.
This project is very sensitive and intimate, that is why it is performed in private. The entire protocol is documented with film and video. I hope these images works like a mirror, allowing people to identify their own scars in the pictures and gild them by a kind of transfer.
The protocol remains the same in each performance, it’s a frame in which people evolve and it’s fascinating to see that each performance possesses its own intrinsic value, its own particular atmosphere.
Each performance tells a story, it’s my story, it’s your story. We all bear scars, on our body or invisible to the eye, but showing through our reflection. They come from disappointment, broken heart, unfairness, … The scar is the mark of our humanity.
This performance suggests a unique and positive way to look at our scars. I wish this project contributes to change our perceptions of our bodies and to see how it weaves a relationship with a next-door neighbor or with an unknown person on the other side of the world.
* The title of the performance is taken from Nuits, p. 84, Hélène Gugenheim, éditions Gaspard Nocturne.