Quelques Souvenirs de jeunesse
Christian Boltanski, 1974, 14'43''

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This performance was recorded in the presence of an audience. In his act, Boltanski deals with various incidents from his childhood. All the sketches are set in the past, which suggests that most of the characters are no longer alive. The tape begins with a sketch entitled ‘le père à la chasse’, with the text 'mon père aimait aller à la chasse.' (my father loved to go hunting). Boltanski is walking across the stage holding a paper rifle in his hands, the barrel swinging wildly to and fro. He is making absurd shooting sounds. In each of the three sketches that follow, Boltanski also gives a ridiculous imitation of a family member, partly by making use of paper props, including a pair of spectacles and a walking stick. In the next four acts, a puppet plas the part of the young Christian Boltanski. Boltanski himself plays the role of, respectively, his mother, his father and his grandfather. In ‘La tendresse de la mère’, the tenderness of the mother, the puppet is sitting on his lap, being fed. In ‘La colère du père’, the anger of the father, the puppet is sitting on a chair. Boltanski is standing behind it and slaps the puppet (/boy) in the face, over and over again. Obviously the puppet can offer even less resistance than a little boy, and before long, falls over. The tragic nature of the scene is intensified by the fact that the father keeps on slapping the ’boy’. In this work, Boltanski gives a frenzied impression of his childhood, full of caricatural portraits and dramatic incidents.

  • Date: 1974
  • Length: 14'43''
  • Type: Video
  • Copyrights: All rights reserved (c) LIMA
  • Genre: performance (artwork genre)
  • Keywords: personal history