[Anne lives in Quatre-Chemins, Aubervilliers. You go through a clothes store to get to her building, where she has lived alone with Acène, her only neighbour, since the first three floors collapsed. I couldn’t imagine anyone else living here except her. There are drawings on the walls, taped onto mirrors, on a mattress wedged behind the front door, and printed onto pieces of fabric covering the lamps in the apartment. She places a pile of them in my lap, makes coffee, and looks for her phone to show me some photos. I hear her voice and think, as I do often, that someone should film her.]
BP: You’re happy?
AB: Yes! It’s not what I wanted, it’s completely different, but like… I hope it works. Let me show you some photos. And I will watch your eyes. I want to know if you’re lying when you tell me what you think.
BP: I will always avoid talking to you about what makes me feel uncomfortable…
AB: Yes, but when someone wants to hide something, they prefer to say it quickly. They skim over it.
BP: Well yes, since you mention it… I am actually really into these beds… this dormitory… it’s… but let’s talk about something else, you have to make six mattresses?
AB: Four, no six yes… six. I have been talking about these works as if they already existed and now I have to actually make them… luckily Sarah is helping me, but she is new to the business of fabric. I have already made three, do you want to see them? Do you know Charlotte?
BP: Of course!
AB: Lady Chacha. She bought a second-hand skirt in Japan with this pattern on it, the one behind you, on the fabric. She wears this skirt all the time, you must have seen her with it. I am completely obsessed. She sent me lots of photos of it, I blow them up, and draw them onto silk. The colours are different, and it varies slightly, but you can still recognise it. It’s like a mental image that will cover everything.
BP: But you never print it?
AB: No, I draw everything. It’s hell on Earth, because I hate labour…
BP: But everything you do is meticulous
AB: Yes… I wouldn’t say it isolates me, but it creates a space. And it’s brainless. Sometimes you need to do things like that… then it becomes more complicated… repetition can put you in a state of dissociation… and the longer it takes to make a work, the more you have to take that into consideration. See those big perspex that I bought? I got them with the show in mind, thinking that I might cover the walls of the gallery with them. I painted them, stuck drawings in them… but you know, this kind of work can quickly seem affected. I think that if I keep them at my place for another two years, that’ll be that, and that will be beautiful, but if I make them just for the sake of making them, they will only ever be… made for the sake of being made. You get what I mean? That’s why the cupboards seem more intense to me.
BP: Ah I love this purple and the blue with the purple. The beds will be painted as well?
AB: Yes. You know, I have an almost physical obsession with… well firstly with colour and then a complete obsession with the idea of painting metal. I have never done it before and I feel like it’s going to be a revelation…. I mean I hope! It’s a bit like those beds, which are the exact translation of a drawing into metal.
Painting steel is pure fantasy for me, something haptic. Hot on cold, a covering. It’s mental but also just very concrete, I mean like physical.
BP: Have you ever seen anything by Apichatpong Weerasethakul? Uncle Boonmee?
AB: No, nothing.
BP: There are often ghosts in his films – their bodies are transparent but become more and more opaque, becoming in the end indistinguishable from living bodies. Dreams and the material world coincide without it ever really seeming unrealistic. And then there are the large mosquito nets above the beds, the neon lights, the heat, the buzzing of mosquitoes… but so none of the drawings will be framed?
AB: No. A drawing is always after all something that you look at. And you know, the beds will be real objects, not sculptures. Presences, not representations. So, if there are going to be drawings, they have to be a part of the fiction of the space. I can’t multiply the ways in which a body encounters the space. It has to be through fiction, as though it exists in a film, to make sure you’re not… it has to be like a fantasy. A line of drawings would be… no, there must be fridges… or cupboards. Look, I made a little envelope to put your letters into… [She hands me a square of folded velvet that she has coloured in with a pink marker]. You can put your lighter in it…
BP: A packet of Vogues so there’s still enough room
AB: Some tampons
BP: And your carte bleue… gold… black
AB: At least one of the them…
BP: I’ll let you get back to work…
AB: Wait! I am just looking… there is a boy who I find very cute, who hangs with the Malboro boys below… with thick eyebrows… no… not him… he’s not there. But I have a title. ‘Different times, Different Paul’. P-a-u-l, for Paul McCarthy. You know what he looks like? He has that kind of rough around the edges Californian artist vibe, like a kind of punk American in his sixties, while still very elegant, specific. I love the way he expresses himself. He is asked all the time, ‘You’ve said this about Hollywood, you’ve said this about Disneyland, whatever this, whatever that…’ But he never tries to justify himself, he just replies: ‘Different times, Different Paul’. It’s the kind of sentence that when you read or hear someone say it, you think you’ll do something with it one day… as well as being the kind of sentence that gets stuck in your head, that you say over and over to yourself, that makes problems more simple.
BP: Right. There’s that book by Michaux, Henri Michaux, called Tent Posts… I’ll bring it over next time… aphorisms. They might seem a little solemn, but they have a way of stating the problem and the solution at the same time, that is both mental and… well, a way of turning the brain over that’s more soothing than others.
-Anne Bourse, Baptiste Pinteaux
9 Rue Des Cascades, 75020 Paris, France