Reflections about the Portraits of Jean Claude Wouters
Excerpts from “The FACE – In the light , the secret linger” - Editions Autrement - Paris - nov. 1994
1 – The danger for a human face is to become only image. Such a face freeze.
Being entirely in what it gives to see, the face believes to protect itself from the unpredictable, unable to admit that we must live with oneself and with the other on the invisible background of the secret that makes each one of us unique and irreplaceable.
2 - The philosophical search inclines to think that the human face, contrary to the image, opens a path to the invisible.
3 - This desire to represent on canvas, in sculpture, and photography, what the eye sees, does it have a special meaning when it comes to the human face? Whoever would consider of approaching the face by accumulating details would only attest of his acumen as much as of his ignorance of the meaning of a human face. Those representations freeze time, make us believe in the eternity of a smile, of a distress, they retain a presence at the moment when it is already withdrawing.
Shouldn’t the eye rejoice because the face remains in the twilight?
(The camera is sometimes aggressive, treating the face as an object.)
4 – Nevertheless, the face exposes itself with no protection, and its appeal is irresistible to those who see it as the alliance of the infinite diversity of the One retired to his riddle.
5 - Yet in a world blighted by much distress, the hope of some sweetness and peace among men, implies consent for the face to break the resignation of the hearts and institutions for the ruthless necessity of misfortune. According to the wisdom of the Song of Songs (2.7), we should not awaken love until he is pleased too. But the face ignores this wisdom, those who really meet one, know that it asks to let awake in oneself, without further delay, the love so long asleep.
In the light, the secret remains, and for the one who has seen and sees a face, the commandment "Thou shalt not kill" evaporates, killing requiring the blindness and denial of the other. (Emmanuel Levinas)
"The Multitude is the law of the Earth." Hannah Arendt
“The primeval face gazes upon the field of Creation to the end of time.” LIN-TSI
“Isn’t the olive leaf not also knowledge in form of an image?” Joseph Beuys