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The world of William Guilmain analyzed by Michel Wichegrod, journalist and  art critic.

Presentation “My photographs reflect my questions about the difficulty of being. » We are warned, this is not a question of amateurism, being is a somewhat serious notion which does not sit well with casualness, and if Jean Cocteau titled The Difficulty of Being a sparkling and disparate book it is that he knew, despite his reputation as a moon butterfly, that there is no ease of being. There can be a lightness of being, possibly unbearable, but not an ease, firstly because what is easy is generally disappointing. Nor is it a question of pulling on a string added to a bow – these secondary strings are often strings that break –, of a hobby, of a hobby. Time does not need to be helped to pass, it does it very well on its own, it does it too well, and we always arrive quite early at its end, that is to say at the OUR. We must not sleep during this time, in this interval which separates the moment when we feel in our flesh the thorn of finitude – and, simultaneously, the balm of the talent that we have, which will make the piercing less painful for us. perpetual of this splinter, this thorn, this vital sting – and the moment when we no longer feel this sting nor this talent because we are dead. It doesn't have to be that serious. It can happen, it sometimes happens that our talent survives us, if we have done our job well and if the world does its job well by sorting the wheat from the chaff, in books if we have a preference for literature, in photographs if we have a taste for images, in good deeds if we are inclined to altruism. Because altruism is a kind of talent, with which we are very unequally endowed. And art, when it is real, is a form of altruism, just as its productions, when they have value, are good deeds. Suppress art, what will remain on earth will be evil without any remedy, and boredom without any remedy either. * William Guilmain did not start with art. He began with science, biology, cancer research, things for which he was undoubtedly made, but he was made in part, just as we are, each, made in part for this or that thing, whether that something occupies us half the time during our entire existence or half of our existence and not the next, or a third of the time, or a quarter. One fine day he discovered the true virtue of words, which is less to describe and explain what is or what we think than to describe and explain it in the most seductive way possible, the most exciting, the most natural and the most sophisticated. We call this manner, whatever its variants, literature, and we call poetry the manner of this manner, the squared manner. William falls into this square, of which he walks along some sides, thinking he has found the geometric figure which best corresponds to the internal measuring instruments of his need for expression. England, among its throng of poets at least as good as its naval commanders and its spies, had produced, straddling the 18th and 19th centuries, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, rider of stunning analyses, hussar of unusual insights, a an acrobat, a brilliant conversationalist, an opium addict, like Cocteau. Coleridge posited that good prose was the words in the best order, while good verse was the best words in the best order. We may find it a subtlety, but we realize, when we try it and have the right standards, that it is not so easy to put in the best words in the best order, even and especially when we use free, or modern, verse, the absence of constraints of which is an even more restrictive constraint than the straitjacket of classical rules. William had tried his hand at this freedom with enthusiasm, with constancy, with success, with a certain satisfaction - which had turned little by little into dissatisfaction, an obscure dissatisfaction, as dissatisfactions often are, and he had ended up feeling cramped in this artistic family, or a stranger, rejected perhaps, abandoned, without knowing exactly why. The words having betrayed him, he walked away from them without joy but without regrets – “they imperfectly transcribe the emotions that grip us” – because he had discovered a new creative tool, a specimen of a box with a big eye , a parallelepiped cyclops, also called a camera, and a new guide, Raymond Depardon, whose famous Errance had taken him towards other formal and aesthetic horizons, towards a changed reading of landscapes, extensive or circumscribed, exterior or interior, which passed before his eyes or before his mind, and even e up to the panorama of a species of philosophy. He had learned and perfected himself as an autodidact. It was not a new method or better than any other, since, as the English photographer Peter Adams, “a camera has never made a great picture, any more than a typewriter has written a great novel.” If you don't have an eye and no talent, your technical knowledge and your advanced equipment will be of no use to you, neither your basic equipment nor your bad equipment - even if it is true, symmetrically, that your eye and your talent will not be of much help to you if you do not have a little more than a minimum of know-how. And there was no shortage of self-taught people behind the plates, the eyecups, the LCD screens and the ingenuity, in the development laboratories, poring over the enlargers, the trays, the test tubes, the thermometers, the papers, the developers and the revelation, computers more recently, from Arthur Batut, who in 1890 produced a book of aerial photographs taken from a kite, to Witold Krassowski, who captured from life, and sometimes from the dead, the collapse of communism in Poland, through William Kinnimond Burton, a Scotsman eaten by Japan in the 19th century, which he restored in a sum of very exotic images for the time, or by Bae Bien-U, the most of the great Korean photographers, specialist in trees that wind vertically and the undulations of hills which seem to fill the thin aquariums of the frames with black liquid… * The light of the sentences, of the verses, of the rhythms, which had gone out or at least which an invisible lampshade had subdued until plunging them into a dull glow of mist, had moved, for William, from one support towards another, from verbal language to a new language, composed of features, lines, masses, shapes, and, therefore, light. And colors; colors travel without difficulty from one cerebral compartment to another, Rimbaud had demonstrated it, or at least claimed it, in a polychrome sonnet where it was a question of vowels and the colors associated with them by his sensations or by his arbitrariness, resounding little piece that he had written at the time when he was trafficking rhymes in Europe and not weapons in Africa. “A black, E white, I red, U green, O blue…” He therefore associated black with the shape, with the sound, with the symbol of A, white with the shape, with the sound, with the symbol of E, etc. , although in a pure aim of stylistic research, by his own admission, and not because he saw black in an A, white in an E. Synesthesia, this ability to neurologically associate, in an unusual way, a meaning with another or with several, or to transpose it into the language of another meaning, or of several, had nothing to do with this purely poetic invention, despite the famous disruption of the senses which its promoter had brought to light. point out the program and the slogan. Other adventurers of romanticism had experienced this atypical promiscuity. Théophile Gautier, Baudelaire's opium comrade – definitely, opium is not for the people – recounts "the noise of colors", the "green, red, blue, yellow sounds" which come to him "in waves perfectly distinct” after he had taken a dose of hashish. These paradise hunters neglected no artifice. The French language and the memory of those who speak it are full of Rimbaldian references since the appearance of their author on this earth, and especially since his disappearance and his entry into posterity. “You're not serious when you're seventeen. » “O seasons, o castles…” “Real life is absent…” And, of course, “I am another. » Since 1871, fifteen thousand meanings have been proposed to this “I”, to this “is”, to this “other”, and even to this “one” – why one, why not two or more? Fifteen thousand is enough, we can do without adding attempts to this list as long as perplexity, just as we can refrain from looking for the exact meaning, if there is one, of this “I is another”, more new and current, more ambiguous. But what is not ambiguous in the protean assemblage, the chaotic collection of what we call our self, in the tinkling flea market of this indefinable entity which is neither entirely me nor entirely to me ? We can always, when in doubt and if we really need an explanation of text or image, contact the author, who is a priori best placed to provide it – but is that so sure? – and answers you with a formula that we are free to take literally if we like to rely on formulas, or with a grain of salt if we think that we should be wary of them, that they are a game , one way of seeing today, another way of seeing tomorrow,

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