This set of portraits of Joyce corresponds to my projection into
his universe . The more I read his books, the more James Joyce
fascinated me. I then followed him from Dublin to Paris, from
"Dubliners" to "Ulysses" , from a "Portrait
of the Artiste as a Young Man" to "Stephen the Hero",
following Richard Ellmann’s biography.
I have wandered through his life, trough his books and I have
paid tribute to him with this collection of portraits inspired
by many photographs people took of him.
I discovered his work and started living in "Joycean"
with a friend, Jean-Pierre Guillou, while I was working on the
theme of The Radishes. In my dialectics "radis/paradis",
the cruciferous vegetable parodies the great beyond of the crucified:
the feet firmly planted on the ground, the soul not in exile but
looking out for the Home of the father.
What is the link with Joyce ? Every day domestic life... a vegetable
bloom in a way. I enjoyed mixing them in concertinaed designs
which I humbly painted after reading Finnegans Wake:the shortening
and polysemy of words, the stories turned this way and that...
Ulysses in Dublin at number 7 Eccles Street, who is fond of kidneys
and who trailed along from pub to pub before he gets back to his
half-asleep wife who is weaving her sexuality.
For years we went onthat way, Jean-Pierre and I, especially
during our outings in Paris, going from pub to pub, writing the
city in our own way? Jean-Pierre passed on and today I am the
only remaining witness of the story of the Breton Ulysses gone
on a quest for Joycean adventures.
In my paintings I have not tried to illustrate his books but
Joyce’s personality: a great mind behind a broad forehead,
eyes looking inside, a protruding chin, a self-confident and challenging
man... My intention was to make Joyce’s work appear in these
portraits. When I read Joyce, I can see him.
François FLOC’H, 8 june 2004.