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“Smorfia” | 2021

  90 skull designs (selection)


  Charcoal, ink and graphite on paper

“Purgatory is a place of passage, a minor and temporary hell, a transit zone between death and resurrection, for those who have not been quite good or bad enough […]. A place intended for the vigilantes, for the violently dead, without burial, for unknown strangers, for the anonymous dead […] for the failed dead, for the average dead, neither happy like the elect, nor truly desperate like the damned. […] the living have the power to soothe them, to refresh them thanks to a system of transactions where everyone finds his account: the devotee alleviates the pains of the souls and these, in exchange, render him some services. […] The cult is formed on a ritual of adoption; an individual chooses one of the anonymous skulls – with the bones, the only concrete trace of souls […] It then becomes the object of all his care. He cleans it, polishes it, puts it on a handkerchief […] He pays it frequent visits, lights nightlights, offers flowers, addresses prayers to it, touches it, kisses it. The skull then emerges from anonymity, takes on the identity of the devotee and is transformed into a protective spirit […]. He answers his prayers: economic tranquility, good health, various forecasts. If he is not heard, the faithful can be implacable: he neglects the skull […]. On its side, the soul […] sometimes appears to him in a dream to ask for more, to remonstrate. The soul in pain knows the future – therefore the lottery numbers – and has the power to reveal them through dreams. It is up to the sleeper to transcribe combinations […]. If by chance the figures appear as they are, the victory is assured. »     


Suzanne DOPPELT, Neapolitan Magic, Article in Vacarme, 1999

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