© 2019 by Vethan Sautour.

    APRES NOUS LE DELUGE

    acrylic, mask, ribbon

    120 x 80 x 10 cm

    2018

    "Après nous le Déluge" is a French idiom, the litteral translation being "after us the flood", which someone would say to express the thought that whatever happens after his time on this planet, doesn't matter. This all too common behaviour nowadays, here serves the purpose of symbolising our current environmental issues.

     

    The title is also a reference to the inter-civilisational episode of the flood, the punishment inflicted by [the] God[s] to humans, because of all the mistakes they have made. The theme of floods being the  consequence of human mistakes, echoes our times, wherein natural disasters become more frequent, because of our doings.

     

    Not unlike Apollinaire's calligrams, the endless repetition of the same eight verses written by Yeats, are flooding the canvas, which the black frame struggles to contain. These verses come from Yeats' poem The Second Coming, for which he drew his inspiration from the Bible's apocalypse. The repetition mirrors our state of inertia bordering a form of autism, in the face of an environmental crisis we could contain, yet we continue going in the wrong direction. The black and white colours, like the yin and the yang, represent both options that lay in front of us. We can either continue making the same mistakes, while expecting a different result, or we can change our behaviour.

    The frame, which symbolises the limitations of our understanding, and the text are the inside of the figure in the middle's head. Inspired by Munch's Scream,  while going through his anguish crisis, he looks down on the white mask, symbolising future generations. An empty, white book, that is yet to be written. Yet the loose mask is looking downwards, as Baudelaire once wrote "crushed, sorrowful,/Weeps Hope, and Grief, fierce and omnipotent,/Plants his black banner on my drooping skull". But it remains an empty page and fortunately, Pandora did keep Hope in the box for us.