La nouvelle exposition “Les rescapés de la Shoah: Courage, Volonté, Vie” présenté par Alain Husson-Dumoutier, qui a lieu à la Salle des Pas Perdus “salle magique”, au Palais des Nations Unies à Genève du 2 septembre au 28 septembre 2016. Click here
Exhibition at UNESCO in Paris from January 24 to February 7, 2014
ALAIN HUSSON-DUMOUTIER :
« I wanted to realise a symbolic and artistical work for the Holocaust, like Guernica is for the Spanish Civil War ».
The theme of the exhibition at the UNESCO of this brilliant painter is « The Survivors of the Holocaust, Courage, Will, Life « through paintings issued from interviews.
Alain Husson – Dumoutier is an enigma. He is everywhere at once! At 23 , he is a PhD student in sociology with Raymond Aron and he gets a Max Lazard scholarship that will allow him to make a special investigation on racial problems . He does not hesitate to go to the United States and interview all the major actors. And the greatest! John Kennedy, Malcolm X, the mayor of Birmingham (Alabama), and great leaders of racist groups. But this is not his only activity. He is continuing his studies. He graduates from ESC Lille and Sciences – Po Paris ! He starts a financial career in a large banking group and becomes a financial expert appointed to the Paris Court of Appeal and the International Chamber of Commerce.
You understand: Alain Husson – Dumoutier is elusive! He juggles from one domain to another. That is why this « touches everything man » generates admiration and curiosity. Because he shines today in an unexpected and amazing field: painting! Why so many academic successes ultimately fail in a field that needs not any? Alain Husson – Dumoutier eventually confesses his secret in a low voice, a little embarrassed to say: « I was born to paint and all my studies derived from my true vocation. » Amazing! he is nominated UNESCO Artist for Peace in 1999 and elevated to the rank of Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters in the same year! « Everything is exciting. Passion drives my life “. He says with that killer smile of eternal seducer despite being over 70! A passion that he could not satisfy without the cost of great sacrifices. « And I sleep only very few hours per night » he insists. For this atypical artist, painting is a way of life . .
What makes you run?
« You cannot escape to your fate , but you can build it». Work is the key word. Descartes advises to believe only in that we can check. Things must be understood by looking at carefully. As all human beings, an artist must know how to listen and interpret. He has to love others and respect them. Very early you realize that everything is relative. Intelligence is everywhere.»
How such a metamorphosis did take place ?
It all started with an amazing story. One day in 2000, the new General secretary of UNESCO, Mr Koichiro Matsuura, wondered why the Monotheist religions fought for centuries about the same God. As a matter of fact He is not the same God for Jewish, Christians and Muslims. The Holy Books, Torah, New Testament and Koran are there to prove it. « Then it could be interesting to work on this subject. Moreover as your painting is as well figurative and abstract! ». The challenge was important and five years have been necessary to achieve more than 600 paintings.
From where does come this strong interest for religions?
When I was 20, I have travelled around the world to discover both art and human societies. At the origin I was a Roman Catholic and I discovered that religions were the cement of history, geography and even time. This is not original and reading the philosophers could be enough. But it is very formative to witness miracles in Benares, pilgrimages in Jerusalem, and streets crowded with muslims in Alexandria on Friday. The temples in Yucatan are now empty, How ? Why ?
In fact this exhibition of Holocaust survivors is the result of this quest ?
It results from the discovery of a shame and a miracle. The shame is in the betrayal of the texts of the Torah and the New Testament which say » Love thy neighbour ». One day I came across an incredible sentence in Mein Kampf «
When I persecute Jews, I do the Lord’s work . » This means « The more Jewish you kill the more you please the Lord! » This is crazy. Perhaps with sentence, we can understand how a Christian population has been able to obey the orders of the Führer. Even, some people acted in the horrors of the «final solution .»
The miracle, however, is so obvious when the survivors of the death camps came back. I wanted to honour them because they had the courage and the will to live. They were still children or adolescents. They were sick, isolated and had left school. Their parents had disappeared. However they became lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs and they have created families. This miracle happened whatever they believe in God or not .They built their lives themselves by proving that human resources have no limits. They are foremost examples for mankind.
How could you meet the 35 Survivors ?
I am not Jewish. I made a mistake. I thought that it would not be easy to question them. In fact it was the contrary. After the first question, they have understood my work and recommended me to others Survivors in order to help me in my work. They wanted to deliver a message to future generations.
What is the purpose of this work?
All the paintings have been made after the meetings. They were intentionally meaningful and respectful of what they said. Through this exhibition I tried to reach several objectives:
firstly, to maintain the memory of the experience « of ordinary people to whom it happened something extraordinary,» said one of the survivors : Sam Braun .
Secondly, to realise an historical and symbolical work through Art , as the famous magnificent Picasso’s « Guernica » is. Today this name evokes the Spanish Civil War. Painted in 1937 , Guernica has been inspired by the bombing of a small Basque town by the German air force. It symbolizes the horror of conflict by the incredible shapes that emphasize human cruelty. This is the power of art. To leave an indelible memory through lines and colours. Mind is impressed by emotion that lasts for ever. This is what I hope to achieve with these 35 paintings. They leave an unforgettable memory on intelligence at the service of barbarism, because for the first time factories of death were built.
Thirdly, to show to the younger generation that their destiny is in their hands. I want to express the amazing inner strength of every man and woman. They are able to override all the suffering and all the disabilities.
Fourthly, I fear that in 50 years time, the Holocaust can be forgotten for some people. I try to contribute to the memory so that it remains forever embedded in the minds of the next generations. I worked for 7 years with all my strength for these 35 inseparable interviews and paintings so that they would become a reference work. Human kind should be at fault to forget the Holocaust … This ensemble will be donated to a foundation, with the aim to show it to all the youth of the world .
In fact, it is a testimony that you want to leave ?
Yes. It is a testimony that comes from the heart, from the bottom of my passion. Through these paintings I have the distinct feeling that I was also born to witness on the largest industrial genocide that humanity has ever perpetrated. They are issued from real and direct interviews given by the survivors. We also have to understand that man can build his destiny anyway.
I think Peace is a construction like Love, which is its corollary. The preamble of UNESCO underlines that wars begin in the minds of men, so peace should do also. To have Art as a guide is both a duty and a joy. Think about it, Art never caused war.
The message of most of these survivors is to love life in all its diversity and profusion, its splendour and its gifts. To be happy, you have to desire what you have in order to become what you want .
Interview by ALAIN CHOUFFAN