Crafted in paper, brass and acrylic paint, 38 L x 35 W x 53 H mm, 2021. Size 8 To be worn with love and care.
I have a long-held grudge towards Émile Zola. The wretchedness and the surgical thoroughness with which he excises even the last glimmer of hope from his narrative demolish me. I read Germinal in high school and was overwhelmed by the uncompromisingly harsh story. I kept away from his work until the early ‘90s when I read L'Assommoir which submerged me in bleakness. A sense of despair and hopelessness stuck to me for days after finishing the book.
I never intended to touch his work again until February 2021 when, during a rare outing, I stumbled across a dilapidated copy of Germinal in the snow. I picked it up, and by morning, I knew why: This was going to be my Sweet Revenge on Zola.
In a playful and ironic gesture, I decided to negate the original content of the classic masterpiece by stuffing the space between every page with bold hues to infuse them with hope and a virulent joie de vivre. My goal was to change the experience of the book through aesthetics, adding cheerful colours and even glitter (tucked at the center of the book) where there had been nothing but seriousness and gloom. I cut bold shapes from the resulting material and made them into big humour rings. The series continues.
Like rainbows which became talisman against Covid, The series Sweet Vengeance expurges the blues out of Zola. Ça va bien aller!