When I first hold the white square cardboard box in my hands that, outside at the side, had written these letters in thin handwriting on a ripped off strip of yellow tape, something kind of shook me. It’s one of these universal and yet so intimate questions that can, in fact, be asked by any of us! I had goose bumps while opening it and going, one by one, through the 24 photographs by French artist Laetitia Vançon. It was a visual journey that brought me into the life of another person and, at the same time, deeper into my own. And, in that, there was once more the recognition of the interface that we, as humans, all share – regardless of our life scripts and individual experiences.
On about half of the images you see a kid in simple moments of pleasure and joy – in water dabbling with the grown-ups, on her first bogie wheel, with her favorite soft toy, a bear, in the bath tub playing with her younger brother or dressed up as a flamenco dancer with blue eye shadow, red lips and an elegant fan which is half the size of her body. Looking in the eyes of the child there is such a deepness, clarity and directness in her gaze. It’s this natural sense of knowing that the kid emanates here. A knowing that comes from a different place of how we intend to understand knowledge as grown up individuals. We have learned that knowing is equivalent with learning more and more and trying to comprehend the world, act and interact out of an rational understanding; an understanding that need to be measurable otherwise it’s not worthwhile.
Then, without a transition that would trace the little five year old grow, Vançon shows herself as a young woman 24 years later. Years that flew by in no time, such as life, without us being aware of it. One can see a truly beautiful, sensual young lady and, at the same time, in total solitude. The openness in the gaze of the kid is not recognizable here anymore or can even be captured as the adult either looks to the ground, to the sky, is portrayed from the back or veiled behind transparent cloths. A beauty on the outside and still, it can’t cover that insecurity of a fragile heart that holds the invisible cracks of life inside. The crack itself is the visual transition! In a split of second that’s called our life we can become a stranger of our own; disorientated, tumbling.
To reach back to the kid we were, we have to go beyond that!
We have to find back that place which is our greatest source of inspiration and truth: our intuition! In fact, we’ve always been intuitive. Only that most of us closed down our intuition or lost trust in it on the way as we went through childhood and started to go into the society mold – a society in which we are predominantly educated to look for the answers of our questions outside of us, not inside. And then, as a result, many of us, especially the sensitive amongst us, got sick because of that, needed time outs or had very difficult periods in life until we learned to come back to who we are and what we are verily meant to bring to blossom. I wouldn’t even say that we have to learn it! Awakening to ones own magnificence and truth is a remembrance. We are not becoming something that we haven’t been before. We are not turning into somebody else. We are not changing. We are recalling who we are as if we had known it long ago and simply forgotten. It’s like taking away the clouds that are covering from time to time an everlasting blue sky underneath.
Such an experience implicates great intimacy and not least honesty. I stand naked, exposed before the “other” and primarily before myself. You suddenly find yourself deserted by the shield afforded by our own identities. But identities are also rather precarious companions. Should just one single parameter shift, they collapse or disappear altogether, such that the entire image that you had created of yourself and presented to the outside world, vanishes into thin air. It doesn’t matter if we are grown up men or women – there came this day in our early life when we put on a makeup in order to protect ourselves. Now, it’s about time, to make the shift back again from identification with who we believe we are towards an investigation of the great potential and wealth that we truly are.
It’s exactly this stripped honesty and sensitivity that reveals the beauty and fineness in the work of Laetitia Vançon.
Can you feel any resistance, hesitation, doubt or fear in this girl in the blue dress with the straw hat on her head that seems to talk without moving her lips to the young woman kneeling in front her? She even seems to bolster the elder with her little hand. A hand in which the other hand can rest upon. Vulnerable and sensitive as a little child truly is she stands there – but not fragile at all, opposite to the young woman. One can see in her gesture and bearing the cracks of her heart and lesions in her life. And a pain or sadness from loosing somewhere on the way the kid, she was – the wisdom that simply knows. But it’s not lost forever. It’s only dormant and it’s up to her to wake her up again. The two are one. As they learn to walk hand in hand, as intuition and intelligence complete each other, any miracle can happen.
In each of us lives such a little girl or boy that holds all the knowledge that we long for. If we allow it to be part of our witty reality, our life becomes much more colorful. We only need to give up our attitude that we think we already know everything and start watching the world again with the eyes of a child – with the curiosity and amazement of a kid exploring its environment for the first time. And even if we have heard certain things already over and over again, we can always go back to this point of origin, of purity and emptiness and discover something new, come closer and – go further!
Deeply grounded in this, I wish us all to fly high and have a blossoming, unbridled 2016!