Coeur Handly drawings, digitally illustrated, print
Mickipistorius, the famous profiler and criminologist said that she considered any serial killer as an equal of God, since he has got the power of life or death.
I can imagine that some will not find these words to their liking, but with hindsight, beyond any association that they would describe as “blasphemous”, they will discover a pertinent psychological feature regarding the fantasies we feed about killers and killing.
When I talk about “the killer”, I mean the one who takes action, the one who takes on the responsibility for killing. Killing is an ultimate sacrilege and a major taboo in our society.
Only life, God, chance, or destiny are entitled to kill, that’s true; our societies were organized according to this moral concept. But, if we take a closer look at the problem, it is also false, since among all taboos, it is the most present, the most accepted, and the most idolized.
Indeed, a cowardly, gratuitous murder is the most hated. It is the expression of ultimate treachery, the melting pot of all tragedies.
But an avenging or legitimate murder is absolutely divine.
We talk about “Holy War”, we talk about “talking the law into one’s own hands”, the words in this particular context sound wrong. Modern culture, through reports, series, movies, constantly focuses on criminality, in any forms, any contexts: war, murder, life in prison, police, gangsterism.
As a conclusion, I would say that according to me, killing precisely resides between hell and heaven: it is one of the acts that generate the most of moral ambivalence. The infamous murder, that of the hero of the shamefully martiyrized idol, already holds its symbol. It is one of the most widespread and the most powerful symbol in society: the Christian Cross, without Jesus' presence.
The Cross on which He died and was tortured, is represented without Christ. The effect is therefore more powerful, more geostatic. We cannot ignore that, paradoxically, it is human violence that is somehow shown, magnified, sanctified.
Above all, it is a pessimistic symbol of death: a pessimism that engenders revolt and awareness, an exhibition of our violent and revengeful natures, blinded by hatred. The fact of feeling guilty makes us aware. I do not judge that. It is neither good nor bad. It is a totally archetypal dimension of culture.
I personally chose to echo that, to highlight a new symbol by means of a gun. I raise the gun to the rank of idol, to the rank of successor of the Holy Cross: I raise it to the rank of great symbols of humanity.
I do not do this as a provocation, I do this because I find it pertinent, I am trying to prove it in the following lines.
First of all, it is present in anybody's psyche and recognizable at first sight. It is a tool of destruction created by humans, just like the Cross was. Nowadays, it is associated with a multitude of crimes: from the less known victim to the most famous one, what increases its prestige.
It is omnipresent, it has got an hyper massive cultural spreading.
Meanwhile, it has not eliminated any representative of God on earth: that is where it differs from the Cross. It just lacks a mythical dimension.
Unlike the Cross, it has not got an intrinsically religious or mystical dimension. However, its symbolic power, the way this object resides in our unconscious makes a new style of divinity of it: a product of science and reason.
Therefore we can say that the gun was created both by the Goddess “Reason” and by the Goddess “Necessity”, and this deserves to be questioned and deepened through a picture. No human presence is required in the picture, just like on the Cross.
A human presence would look out of place there, or trivial: it is much more powerful alone there, spectral, levitating in the sky. Let's come back to the Cross, to what it originally is: an instrument of torture. The act of torture suggests perversion, gratuitous passionate cruelty.
There is an archaic, primitive and bestial dimension in the order of natural barbarism associated to a badly controlled affective hysteria. As a consequence, the Cross is illegitimate, it is a shameful stigma of our obscure natures: an ignominious and outdated creation.
Besides, Religion is nowadays partly considered as the neurotic expression of our questionings and weaknesses. Two thousand years ago, our ancestors chose a barbaric and archaic representation: this cross of torture, to impress people's minds.
Perhaps did they want to fight barbarism?
Everyone should judge whether it depends on “neurosis” or on “reason”.
As far as the gun is concerned, it is a thing of the present: it is associated to the modern era.
Then, we cannot associate it to torture, not at first sight. It better symbolizes the way man perceives himself through collective unconscious. Society, through science and culture, admits the natural necessity of self-protection, and then of murder. We are forced to create coercive and radical tools.
In this context, murder no more relies on unconscious mechanisms, on our fiery natures. It is institutional, professional, the fruit of culture, of the necessity to overcome other human beings, other archaic, neurotic or misfit populations. It is a remedy against “the other”, this recurrent irremediable character we have to control till his final extremities.
The gun is not exclusively reserved to the army or to the police, it imposes itself beyond any official power. It is the extension of man, the individual means to set one's power, one's right, as the last means inside and outside law. It corrupts our souls for it engenders the possibility of drifting.
It is the tool that is the most directly associated to the will of being almighty, the tool of gangsters or psychopaths. It is a metallic insubstantial, mechanical extension of our hatred, of our coolness that makes an implacable justice reign. It is complex, associated with many antagonisms and contradictions.
More than desire, it represents intention, so that murder becomes a cool, professional and rational action. It embodies individual reason and freedom, for, from the point of view of the one who shots, murder is a thoughtful action, a justifiable action, an act of duty.
It embodies death since using it against an animal or a human being is a matter of murderous intention, or at least of the intention of harming or neutralize.
It embodies safety since its owner thinks he has got an extra element for his survival.
It embodies danger: the fact that people own such tools fatally implies that we all might be threatened.
Then, it takes us, unconsciously, back to the past, even if we pretend to ignore it, because it evokes mythical, religious and numinous ideas.
It embodies divine power since owning a gun largely increases our capacity to carry out God's ordeal: kill or spare
It embodies our fear of judgement: its divine appearing freezes us.
It embodies hybris (= immoderation) for getting hold of divine powers is plunging our destiny into outrageousness.
The gun is spectral, isolated, an heavenly manifestation can levitate that way in Olympus.
It is the product of science, of human genius, of “Reason Goddess” the one who enables us to face natural phenomena and to overcome nature. This mastery of nature, and by extension of our proper natures is held up to ridicule through the ornaments on the gun.
By customizing it that way, I take away its original function, the one that makes a cool, professional and efficient tool of it.
It becomes an icon, an idol: a superstar; man worships it, he loves it passionately, till fetishism. The fact that it is golden does not answer any functional logic: it underlines that this object is venerated the way a pagan divinity is, just like the Golden Calf.
This illegitimate association of function and pump confines to vice, idolatry and blaspheme: like any passion it nears madness. The object has power over its owner: we can talk about materialistic drifting, the object owns its creator. Subject and object are inverted. The object is animate, it dominates its owner, the way a spirit or a God would do. It corrupts him.
The sparkles of the golden diamonds that adorn its grip have a similar function. They are laid on the varnished mahogany grip. This process reduces the prestige of the gun; all this kitsch finery add grotesque to an object if it is not supposed to be aesthetic.
The more its function becomes decorative, the more its former function decreases.
As for any military objects, the aesthetic function resides in the functional design of the object. This grants it prestige, and even elegance thanks to a total absence of any over-elaborate style.
I would say that through this baroque process that engenders some degeneration, this object loses its real contemporary dimension. It is animated, it becomes an affective representation, what finally leads him to his symbolic place. That of a dangerous and stupid object, a powerful symbol of madness and moral human catabolism, a maline entity that embodies our sad propensity to send others’ lives towards other spheres.
We can see that our collective unconscious doesn't measure the dangerousness of the object any more since it has become a symbol of gangsterism and of our ways of life, through pop culture.
Finally, it is always fascinating to observe how far man is able to entertain illusions regarding his nature. We too often think to have managed to rise above the way of life and the sordid and miserable thoughts of our ancestors. To me, it is a fundamental mistake to mock or belittle ancient human thoughts even if they can appear simplistic, ridiculous or barbaric to our contemporary.
Man answers mechanisms that overtake him. We must keep it in mind and consider opinions from different angles, and different contexts in order to make a measured point of view.
Overcoming our psychical violence is a very serious challenge that, according to me, leads to progress. But, we cannot do it by showing scornful nor through repression. The only way to do it is to increase our ability to trust others and oneself, fight the fears ignorance engenders, and listen to our ill-treated unconscious.
Obviously, weapons have always been present in our existences and contrarily to what we could think, the impact they have on our psyche is not different from the one, religions or beliefs used to have, on the psyche of the first human beings. It is tragic and illusory to pretend we can keep out of reach of the charms and dreads of an indecent and infamous power: that embodied by weapons.
To our minds, they are filled with prestige and brightness, both frightening and fascinating. We believe in the Goddess “Reason” and it is obviously reasonable to organize and produce thousands of weapons we spread all over the world. We do that in order to keep dangerous fellows under control.
I am sorry but we obviously failed in keeping our selves under control, or we would not create so many products that show likely to backfire against us, that become more and more threatening to others and to us. Overpowering or getting rid of black sheep, waging war, resolving states' conflicts, fighting crime are justifications behind which we conceal our limits.
Only real men can face such responsibilities. I can imagine that such a speech could make an impression on crowds. Decent people strangely always find good reasons to act very badly.
Anyway, no “reasonable” speech could justify that:
-so many children can get weapons
-so many adults elevate them as an absolute necessity
-so many blunders occur
-so many collective suicides of mankind are legitimized
-so many good men pretend to be decent, through speeches that seek to approve of legitimate, justified and necessary murders: the murder of our civilization.
We all agree with that in an hypnotic, despicable and pitiful silence.
I am showing you the symbol we revere so much that it won't stop raising to the sky.
I did not have to look for it very long: it is everywhere, omnipresent, and omnipotent.
In a way, we shifted from the Cross to the Gun, are we shifting from Charybde to Scylla?
I cannot answer. As usual, it is certainly neither good nor bad, rather a kind of archetype. We have to make our own conclusions.
My art is straightforward, what provides it with a strength that I would qualify of increased binary, not according to the idea that truth corresponds to number 1 and false to number 0 , that is eliminated; but rather according to the idea that 1 or 0 are equally valid and wrong and even constantly oscillating .
Look at this emblem, this figure, think to it thoroughly!
Let us be aware of what horror the world spreads if such a spectre has become so natural, logical and accepted till it becomes neutral to our minds!
If I may say so, it gets all its abominable strength when we really measure what cruel aberrations it can engender.
Here is our idol, admire her, new and eternal: Estrella pistola. !
But do not underestimate her despite of her basic appearance, for her power is monstrous!