The essence of things
This expression appears several times in 'Le temps retrouvé' (Time Regained), the seventh and last volume of 'Remembrance of Things Past' (also known as 'In Search of Lost Time') by Marcel Proust, a work that has never ceased to fascinate me. For the author-narrator, the 'inner self' (le moi profond) reveals itself on contact with 'the essence of things', which only art is capable of expressing truly. To be dedicated to the contemplation of this essence, to its extraction and its decryption – this is, amongst other things, the duty of the author, and often that of artists too. By returning to profundity, they apply themselves to decoding the memories that they become conscious of, and to making sense of the slightest of revelatory indications that accompany them.
The very simple or even banal objects that I arrange and present in this series of works – more minimalist than usual – are all bearers of this sense in the context of my personal reminiscences. They help me to remember certain occurrences and to refresh that enormous terrain of recollections that one accumulates in the course of a lifetime, from the most insignificant to the most meaningful. They bear an emotional weight that could be almost placed in parallel to Proust's famous 'madeleine' cake. In these simple everyday objects that I present, every individual will obviously see what is or is not significant for themselves.