118 – Le Voyage (Static)
VIIICharles Baudelaire (Extrait de “Le Voyage”)
Ô Mort, vieux capitaine, il est temps! levons l’ancre!
Ce pays nous ennuie, ô Mort! Appareillons!
Si le ciel et la mer sont noirs comme de l’encre,
Nos coeurs que tu connais sont remplis de rayons!
Verse-nous ton poison pour qu’il nous réconforte!
Nous voulons, tant ce feu nous brûle le cerveau,
Plonger au fond du gouffre, Enfer ou Ciel, qu’importe?
Au fond de l’Inconnu pour trouver du nouveau!
Full poem with translations: https://fleursdumal.org/poem/231
To continue with portraits, here is a piece of work meant to integrate again multiple layers of content and realities in the same picture, as I did already in the past on a few of occasions. The main one was the piece on Steve Jobs, connecting the dots.
This time, the great mind I want to honour is Charles Baudelaire, a French poet of great influence on me, whom I discovered in high school, ant that I have been reading again and again since then. Here is one of his most well known photographic portrait.
His all-times masterpiece is a collection of poems under the title “Les fleurs du mal”, or “The flowers of evil”. It is available online here: https://fleursdumal.org
One of my favourite texts is “Le Voyage“, and it only appeared in the second edition of 1861. This poem alone summarise the entire opus, as a journey through self and society in search of some impossible satisfaction that forever eludes the traveler. I thought I would somehow embed the text within this portrait work.
But it could not be just that, I felt the need for some graphic element too … to reflect who Baudelaire was under a very benign and mundane surface, behind the sad contemplative eyes, beneath the poor man’s attire. A way to reflect the flamboyant nature of his spirit, the extraordinary vivacity of his mind and the tortured state of his soul.
What came to mind his the work of this French portraitist Françoise Nielly, whom I have recently discovered, quite randomly.
Françoise, who was born in Marseille and now lives in Paris, in her own words, lives in a world of images. She has explored the different facets of “image” all her life , through painting, photography, roughs, illustrations and virtual, computer generated animated graphics. Growing up in the South of France where she lived between Cannes and Saint-Tropez, is never far from the light, the colour sense and the atmosphere that permeates this region. Her painting is expressive, exhibiting a brute force, a fascinating vital energy. Oil and knife combine to sculpt her images from a material that is , at the same time, biting and incisive, charnel and sensual. Whether she paints the human body or portraits, the artist takes a risk : her painting is sexual, her colours free, exuberant, surprising, even explosive, the cut of her knife incisive, her colour pallet dazzling.
Out of dozens, I chose the portrait below, which I find particularly expressive, although it is just called “Untitled 605” on her webstore.
I thought I would use this style to enrich the photo of Charles with a strong emotional layer, and to do so, given my poor talents with oil painting, I had no other choice but to have recourse to the artificial intelligence of Deep Dreamer. I have already used the offline version of 71Quared on a few occasions, but this time I needed more power, and to unleash the scalable capability of the cloud, so I went to the source to create my own custom style: https://deepdreamgenerator.com/
After a few tries, I eventually landed a somehow convincing merge of Charles-by-Françoise, so to speak. Impressive, right? I’ve got he feeling there’s more to do and play with here … I’ll be back!
For the rest, I called Processing to the rescue, and went for a wimple algorithm to write a test in a growing spiral. The hardest part was to pick the right font face and size, and to find the best spot where to apply the spiral’s centre. Voilà!