Fleur du Mal

  • 2002
    Acrylic on canvas
  • "Fleur du Mal" is part of the Mugarbi collection and was painted just after 9/11. The flower imagery and cherry blossoms reveal a hidden image of a skull. Flowers are an emblem of impermanence, and the cherry blossom was a poetic image used to refer to japanese kamikaze pilots in World War II. This work is inspired by Baudelaire's poem, "Love and the Skull" from "Fleur du Mal" (below in english and the original french).

    Old Corbel

    Love is seated on the skull
    Of Humanity,
    And on this profane throne,
    With an impudent laugh,

    Gaily blows round bubbles
    That rise in the air,
    As if they wished to rejoin the worlds
    In the depths of the ether.

    The luminous, frail globe
    Takes full flight,
    Bursts and spits out its slender soul
    Like a dream of gold.

    With each bubble, I hear the skull
    Beg and whimper:
    -- "When will this ferocious
    And ridiculous game end?

    For what your cruel mouth
    Scatters in the air,
    Monstrous assassin, is my mind,
    My blood, and my flesh!"

    Vieux cul-de-lampe

    L'Amour est assis sur le crâne
    De l'Humanité,
    Et sur ce trône le profane,
    Au rire effronté,

    Souffle gaiement des bulles rondes
    Qui montent dans l'air,
    Comme pour rejoindre les mondes
    Au fond de l'éther.

    Le globe lumineux et frêle
    Prend un grand essor,
    Crève et crache son âme grêle
    Comme un songe d'or.

    J'entends le crâne à chaque bulle
    Prier et gémir:
    -- "Ce jeu féroce et ridicule,
    Quand doit-il finir?

    Car ce que ta bouche cruelle
    Eparpille en l'air,
    Monstre assassin, c'est ma cervelle,
    Mon sang et ma chair!"