© Eric Bourdon
Gnothi seauton (ancient Greek) / Know yourself
Precept engraved on the pediment of the
Temple of Apollo (6th century BC) at Delphi,
and generally regarded as the founding principle
of philosophy. The same aphorism can be found
on the much older Luxor Temple, in Egypt (-
The little story of ‘me’...
A long comatose period follows, which brings me after a scientific bachelor's degree to undertake studies in philosophy by an unconscious desire to find myself again, which eventually -
It is in a hallway of a church of Scientology that I hear snippets of a conversation by pure chance : Ron Hubbard -
The same year, I was already beginning to exhibit, I found galleries in Paris who welcomed me in a completely informal setting -
In line with the original decision, my painting is not 'regressive' -
Today, after many national and international exhibitions, a lot of creation and experience, painting still occupies so clearly the very first place in my existence. However, I ended up relativizing the importance of conforming oneself to one's very first life choice. First, because many people have built their own existence without any link to their childhood dream, and realigning their adult life with this first dream would not, if it were possible, necessarily make sense. Then, because this first choice that we make in childhood is sometimes very poetic or comical, but totally unrelated to reality.
But above all, I believe that we don't have to conform our life to any external decision, including those that we ourselves have taken in the distant past. It is only in the present that we exist, and that we choose ourselves. I paint freely, and it is because I could stop painting today that I am free, and that my painting radiates this freedom.
This frantic quest for oneself, this war that one can wage to find oneself, to impose oneself, to overcome the obstacles posed by family, culture, society, is invigorating and fulfilling. But is this identity that we define and build over time really all we are ?... Am I a painter ? A man ? A human being ?... Am I my opinions, my tastes, my ideas, my certainties ?... My religion, my political party, my profession, my social class, my nationality ?... Am I the thread of historical events that make up my life ? At a certain level, that of our little relative identity, yes. On just a little larger level, none of that really matters.
Today's society is torn apart by pathetic identity struggles that divide and build nothing. Wars of egos in which the victory of some must mean the failure of others, and where identity is defined at its most restrictive level possible.
Today, in the midst of contemporary tumult, resound in me, little sparkle that I am of universal consciousness, these words from the ancient Ramayana (one of the two founding epics of Hinduism) where Hanumān addressing Rāma says to him :
"When I know who I am, I am you."
* I have very officially disavowed (in 2010) any kind of belonging to the Catholic Church,
by a note on a baptismal certificate which had been written by others than myself.
This act, otherwise called apostasy or debaptization,
also results in a latae sententiae (automatic) excommunication.
** For example, from 2000 to 2004 : at the Galerie de la Harpe, 26 rue de la Harpe, Paris 5e, which no longer exists, or also at the Galerie Dung Bui, 3 rue Chomel, Paris 7e, relocated to Saint-