Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Story Behind L'Académane

The title is a pun, an invented French compound of L'Académie (The Academy) and the suffix -mane (Maniac). The English translates as, predictably, "The Academaniac"

In France, L'Académie is also a vernacular shortening (coincidentally) for L'Académie Francaise, the body of minds considered to have compiled and officiated over what is "appropriate" in the language and grammar of the true Francophone. Anyone who deviates from these strictures is considered non-Francophone, or rather considerd a francophone. This would include many French dialects.

L'Académane is me, or at least what I could be, if I were more obsessive about erudition than I already am. The book-for-a-head motif is a nod to Arcimboldo's The Librarian. It also relates to the idea of being a collector of books as things rather than of the knowledge within them. I chose the monochromatic scheme to convey a sense of re-entering a world that is preserved and antiquated, the very concept of transmission of learning through dried pulp pages becoming more and more obsolete and quaint as time passes...

I entered this painting as a reception piece (morceau de reception)--again another reference, this time to the long-defunct Academy Francaise des Beaux Arts--upon beginning my tenure as an MFA Student-Teacher at ASU.

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