Mai 6 – June 18, 2011

“While working on this series I went to hear Philippe Petit speak, or I should say shred the cliques and stereotypes about art making before an art crowd in L.A. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the Frenchman who surreptitiously rigged and walked a tightrope between the World Trade Towers in 1974. If he isn’t the greatest performance artist of all time I’d like to know who is. Among the topics he discussed was why he’d dropped out of school: there was no one to teach him the things he wanted to learn. He said that if he had a school one of the classes would be Failure because that was his greatest teacher. He’d learned nothing from success, he said.

The story of The Fall is a harrowing account of weakness and gullibility, at least if you read the Book of Genesis. There is another version of it that I heard in a lecture on The Lover’s Card in the book of Tarot. In this one God has sent the serpent to tempt Eve, knowing full well what she would do since He created her. The upshot is that she and Adam would get off their daydream and get with the enterprise of life — as in Evolution. They would start trying to figure out how to do things themselves and make mistakes and learn from those and fail and try try again. There was quite a bit of detail attending this story but unfortunately no explanation for that fig leaf jive and the shame of finding out they were naked. Any tree that instantly makes you conscious of the unfavorable opinions of others with regard to your body, ashamed and aware that evil lurks should be renamed The Tree of Insanity in my opinion. But it’s easy to see them striking out in their fig leaves with their newly acquired wits, however self conscious and judgmental, trying to make the world more glorious and in so doing, invent chain maille, soufflés, sedan de villes and so forth. Eventually the fig leaf would evolve to some of the most beautiful fashion I have ever seen: Alexander McQueen’s final collection : the Fall of 2010.

In every consciousness there’s a stratum of The Fall triggering progressive change. The rate of progress is variable of course, but whether you’re quick to jump back into the game or you lie around for a while summoning the nerve or even if you need to go settle the score with the snake first before moving on, it’s still progress; evolution is taking place. Some people are just stronger candidates for the Petit Class in Failure.”

Text: Georganne Deen