Jan Lauwers

11.09.2006 |

‘We nevertheless despair when we see the obscure scene depicted on the walls of the cave: a man with a bird’s head and an obvious erection, lying struck down on the ground. He is stretched out in front of a wounded bison. The animal is about to die, but, with its eyes focused on the man, it is losing its intestines, a terrible sight. This pathetic scene is exceptional for its strangeness and mysteriousness, and cannot be compared to anything else from that period. Our confusion is completed by a bird on the end of a stick drawn below the fallen man.’

(Georges Bataille, The Tears of Eros)

The man – not yet an artist – who did this drawing was permeated with the power of eroticism and violence. Obscure, despairing and yet, in all their naïveté, very pure thoughts, or rather feelings, about eros, violence and death. What has changed, one thousand times ten thousand years later? Nothing? Yes, but it is a nothing that has become dangerous and painful, since it is permeated by reason.

The above double quotation provides the introduction to Leda, a 1995 work for the stage. In the epilogue to another stage piece, the 2006 The Lobster Shop, I wrote what this ‘reason’ aspires to: Perfection.

‘But perfection is so predictable, perfection is boring. No pain, but neither any joy. This new man of yours is dying of boredom. A boredom so overwhelming that it makes cars explode and dykes burst open.’

In 2023 I shall simply be sitting in my studio doing drawings, the way they have always been done, drawings that are never about the future, because the future is just tomorrow’s present.

Jan Lauwers

Read more (Text Maska (pdf) with article written about the artist)