Jeanne-Claude

I remember everything.

That time when we used to go out with her every night.

That time in Paris was filled with art, jazz, poetry, and film.

The momentum of creative expression was exploding and the young people used the city as their canvas to paint graffiti on concrete walls.

One of the famous slogans said « “Below the asphalt lies the beach.”

I considered myself to be one of them, in fact, who yearned for destruction and creation.

My aspiration however, led me to do nothing about it.

I felt somewhat impatient and was not able to remove the vague and gloomy feeling that I had.

 

She comes from a wealthy family and was brought up in luxury.

Many boys could not stop asking her out.

Dresses, jewelry, delicious food and lavish vacations - everything is within her reach.

She would pull my shirt and ask me to go out with her.

To where? 

Anywhere - somewhere I could feel free.

Do you know?

Freedom is to hold onto nothing at all.

 

One time she told me she met someone who interested her.

He was an art student from Bulgaria.

He came to our house to draw a portrait of maman.

“Here it is.” He handed me the canvas wrapped roughly in wax paper, tied with lace.

What I saw through the wrapping paper was actually my face, not maman’s.

When I tried to open the wrapping paper, he said, “Don’t open it.”

Why?

“The act of wrapping is my art.”

Isn’t it interesting? She said, laughing.

It made me want to know more about him.

 

After the summer solstice, Boris Vian died.

Two years later, the Berlin wall that divided the East and West was constructed.

A year after that, a pile of oil cans that were built up overnight blocked Visconti Street in the 7th  district.

“Barrels” surprised the Parisians but they were immediately removed by the police.

Those images are forever imprinted in our minds.

The work was created by both of them, which in fact was a very beautiful prank.

I asked her, “ What is underneath this cloth?”

She answered, “What I want to keep away from you.”

What could that be? 

What lies underneath could be “the truth” and not “a lie,” “reality” not “a dream,” and “something with form” and not “a delusion.”

In reality, we sometimes come across ugliness, meanness, muddiness and stagnation.

Because of this, we see ourselves living in a beautiful world that we idealize and create.

This is the reason why we do what we do, for you and everybody else.

 

“I will destroy the inconvenience that spreads in this world,” she said.

To recreate, I will go wherever he goes.

And so they left together, vanishing out of my sight.

 

As usual, I sat on the bench, waiting for the sunrise at Pont Neuf after enjoying jazz at a club on the left bank.

I hope one day she comes back with him.

Rewrapping a divided world in one beautiful cloth, to be united.

I decide to wait for them, counting as many day breaks as I can.

 

Back then, I cherished the future that I did not know I had.

It was my one and only treasure that I so dearly held in my heart.