“I want to be a cavalryman like my father was”
The title of this installation is based on a quotation by the infamous enfant sauvage, Kaspar Hauser. The fear and fascination prompted by encounters with such exotic creatures as feral children and noble sav- ages has historically forced us to contemplate what does it really mean to be human. Taking inspiration from images and artifacts that represent rst encounters with the ‘other,’ the artist reexamines the role images play in shaping memory and identity as a result of the “aesthetic curiosity, scienti c inter- ests, military expeditions, networks of commerce, and ‘opportunities’ of all sorts [that] contributed to feed logics of domination, af rmation, and national rivalries ( Art historian, Bénédicte Savoy). ”
Ultimately, the pairing and con uence of seemingly disparate objects and images across an expanse of time and space, is at the heart of this associative approach, and can be interpreted as the vestige of a forgotten expedition into the collective unconscious. Though the narrative should ultimately be completed by the viewer themselves. In his seminal book, Totem & Taboo: Resemblances Between the Mental Lives of Savages and Neurotics , the father of psychoanalysis looked at “primitive” societ- ies, to draw the contours of neuroses of the “civilized” man. Just as the wildness of the natural world has been subjugated by conquest and science, Freud argued that in order to participate in civilization, man’s inner most ‘wildness’ must also become repressed. Though, the component archetypes of the noble savage are still very much alive in the interior of our mind, clamoring for release.
This installation is also in part a result of a collaboration with eminent tribal art expert and collector, Alexandre Bernand, and represents an ongoing investigation of the iconographic and photographic archives at the Musée du Quai Branly.