Mirror artist Michelangelo Pistoletto, a 86-year-old Covid survivor

PORTRAIT – This Arte povera figure even gave an interview from his hospital bed in Biella, his hometown in Piedmont. Utopia always nailed to the body.

Michelangelo Pistoletto, a figure of Arte povera, is the patriarch of the Cittadellarte he founded in Biella, his hometown of Piedmont.
Michelangelo Pistoletto, a figure of Arte povera, is the patriarch of the Cittadellarte he founded in Biella, his hometown of Piedmont. Courtesy Gallery Continue

Who met Michelangelo Pistoletto, 87 on June 25, remains struck by the commanding force emanating from this Italian patriarch, one of the last great figures in the current of “Arte povera” (Poor Art).

Until recently, this handsome man with a medal profile, blue eyes, gentle Italian elegance, assertive speech and no sharing, was skiing in his mountains in northern Italy. The “Maestro” is currently being cared for at the Hospital in his hometown of Biella where, at the age of 86, he survived the coronavirus. A miracle.

The Cittadellarte Journal interviewed him, exclusively, from his hospital bed where his verve as a committed speaker and utopian remained intact. “The role of art in this pandemic is sensitivityHe thus said to his countrymen and to all the peoples of art.

Social renaissance after coronavirus

The artist highlights his personal experience and wonders how a social renaissance can emerge after the Coronavirus. What, according to him, is the key

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Headphones, fitness elastic, yogurt maker … Mucem de Marseille wants to create a containment museum

Closed since March 13, the establishment calls for contributions and invites everyone to send their proposals by email. “Of objects or documents which symbolize, embody, translate your confined daily life”. The objects collected will be used to keep track of this exceptional situation.

If the proposal is accepted, the team will return to the owner of the object at the end of the confinement in order to organize his arrival at the museum.
If the proposal is accepted, the team will return to the owner of the object at the end of the confinement in order to organize his arrival at the museum. ANDBZ / ABACA

Your home may be home to historical evidence of the current era … To complete its archives, the Mucem, Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean in Marseille, yesterday launched a call for contributions around objects from the confinement.

The Covid-19 pandemic has indeed plunged many countries in the last few months into a completely new situation. Social distancing, confinement, teleworking and home courses: for many, these are habits and daily life that have been completely disrupted.

Create a containment museum

So, what will be the objects that will have marked this period in the future collective memory of the French? A fitness elastic? Headphones for teleconferencing? A yogurt maker? Closed since March 13 after the measures put in place by the government, the Mucem invites everyone to participate by helping it to collect traces of this confinement.

This may be “Objects or documents which for you, symbolize, embody, translate your confined daily life”, explains the Marseille establishment on his website. To participate, simply send one or more photographs of the object and a short text to explain the context of its use and justify its entry into the future catalog of the exhibition. Proposals should be sent by email to confinement@mucem.org.

The collection will end on May 31, 2020. The museum indicates that all the proposals received will be studied by the conservation team. If the object is retained, the team will return to its owner at the end of confinement in order to organize his arrival at the museum.

The Vosges archives had the idea of collect testimonies from the inhabitants of the department, in order to “archive for eternity “. In a press release published on March 19, the executive of the departmental council invites each Vosgien to participate: “Anyone can send their testimony (s) to the departmental archives and can thus tell their daily lives: how each person changes their lifestyle, how to successfully comply with state directives, how to do school at home, how telecommute … “ The testimonials are to be sent to vosges-archives@vosges.fr in writing, audio or video.


Check out Damien Hirst’s self-interview on Instagram

Between April 11 and 14, Damien hirst held the show in its own way, direct, corrosive, funny, inflated, once again anticipating the news, upsetting habits. From that Psychiatrist’s Couch is a self-interview on his Instagram which has 680,000 subscribers.

The king of the contemporary British scene has stood in front of his computer screen and calmly answers his “fans” who ask him 98 questions. Frequently admiring, rarely vacant or basely material questions about the recent dismissal of part of his teams, almost always questions from fans. Little aggression on their part, no annoyance on his part. The questions are read in full, the Instagram account of their authors is displayed at the same time. Damien Hirst’s answers burst out, at his usual machine gun rate.

This brilliant exercise in communication is played – in English – in four chapters. Four videos with a single character, from 10 to 14 minutes, whose audience exploded first (154,000 views, 535 comments, for chapter 1), before decreasing (72,254 views and 258 comments for chapter 2) for stay around an honorable cruising speed (46,874 and 40,342 views for chapters 3 and 4).

The paint shop where Damien Hirst’s return has been preparing for months. VD / Le Figaro

This interview is above all an invitation to Damien Hirst’s workshop. Or rather in one of his workshops, on the London Walk near Hammersmith. Covered in fresh stains, from sneakers to T-shirt, this is where he received Le Figaro last November to present his unexpected return to impressionism but with a very contemporary engine that still resembles the father of “Spot Paintings”. He looked radiant like a student at the Beaux-Arts. Rich “wonder boy” of the YBA generation (Young British Artist), he changed course at 54 and launched into painting, almost on his own.

Warholian celebrity fractions

Today, looking more tired, but still lively, Damien Hirst takes control again. The world, confined, lives outside through its computer screens. So this is where this strategist is posted, both close and despite everything inaccessible, then he reads one by one and, no doubt, chooses the questions to which he will answer. All its invisible interlocutors thus have their Warholian celebrity fractions. There is a great intelligence in this artist who has managed to divert the boom of the contemporary art market to his advantage, to avoid that his avant-garde talent enriches only the others, to make sure that always the news treats him like rock star, phenomenon or king.

Question 1 refers to one of his pieces of bravery: “How many diamonds in the Diamond Skull? Are they authentic?“(For the Love of God is a sculpture by Damien Hirst made in 2007, the platinum molding of an 18th century skull encrusted with diamonds, editor’s note). “There are 8621 diamonds, all of very good quality“, Replies the artist. What relationship does he have with cinema? “Dead Ringers ((False pretenses, 1988) by the Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg gave me the idea of ​​my Medicine Cabinets, especially the surgical objects invented by the doctor played by Jeremy Irons ”. Is boredom the friend of creativity? “Probably yes. But inaction is his enemy. Boredom is something else. As soon as I get bored, I’m full of ideas ”.

Damien Hirst in his studio (details). It really is like that, we can attest! Damien Hirst in the studio, 2019 © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020Damien Hirst, Renewal Blossom, 2018. Photographed by Prudence Cuming Associates. © Damien Hirst and Science Ltd. All rights reserved, DACS 2020Damien Hirst,

The interview sometimes slips into the exercise of improbable style. “If you were your own shrink, what question would you ask yourself?”. A slight emptiness, then a single word in the form of a gag: “WHY ????Laughs. What advice would he give to a young artist? “Make larger pictures, to have this distance, this look. Believe in. Everything is a question of self-confidence, of faith. If you believe in yourself, it makes others believe in you. Never pretend to know something, if you don’t know it. It always shows “. All Damien Hirst is in this answer, in this raw formula of “Working class hero”, as honest as sincere, who drew, poor child, on the back of the envelopes.

The naked body as a clown

It takes anecdotes to dress a legend. These four videos are full of them. “What surprises people the most about you?” “I don’t drink, more alcohol, it often disappoints a lot of people”, replies the ex Bad Boy from London’s red light districts. We always prefer bad boys. He tells of his friendship for Leigh Bowery, Australian performer of London nights, died of AIDS on December 31, 1994 at 33 years old – “God bless him!”– of which Lucian Freud painted the powerful body. And how, with him, he painted his naked body like a clown, sex included “Spot painting” blue (The Spot paintings form one of his most famous series, Editor’s note).

He tells without pretense, in chapter 2, his friendship sketched with Alexander McQueen, the brilliant English fashion designer who committed suicide on February 11, 2010, at the age of 40 and to whom the Victoria & Albert Museum devoted the most extraordinary posthumous retrospective that was in the summer of 2015. “Yes, I was friends with Alexander McQueen. But when I met him, I was drinking like a hole, I was in coke like crazy, he was starting his career. Then he entered this coke and alcohol period. While I was out of it. So we missed it like that. A lovely guy, total sweetheart

The artist’s sofa in his painting studio. VD / Le Figaro

Because it is time for his return to painting, that it stains his T-shirt, his jeans, his sneakers, his shrink couch, he responds with pleasure to the technical questions of palette. “I like all the colors. I’ve had a problem with purple for a long time, I don’t know why. I love oil paint, more malleable, the colors are brighter ”said this fan ofRembrandt which he much prefers to Dalí.

the departure to the desert of Saint Jerome

He likes “The rainbows in the sky, not in the painting” So he didn’t. “Weird that these paintings (spring flowering, intended for the Cartier Foundation, note) go so well when the world is on fire. I don’t want to be forgotten, I don’t know why. But I’m not a fan of the cursed side of Van Gogh “, says Damien Hirst who, after his very turbulent young years, with all-out artistic choices,discovered minimalism at Goldsmith College London “.

“How much for the sofa?Asked a fetishist or a collector. “It is not for sale. Find one and drop some paint on it!” End of online auctions. At the Cartier Foundation in Paris, Damien Hirst was to reveal to the world, in mid-June, this series of very large formats invaded by pink spots. They combine the celebration of spring, the “Sakura” of the Japanese and their cherry blossoms, and his own return to the brush. After twenty years of studio work, it is, for this prolific artist and entrepreneur, almost the departure to the desert of Saint Jerome.

When will we see them? The exhibition “Damien Hirst, Cherry blossomsWas announced from June 14 to November 8. “We are in full discussions with Damien Hirst, but it is obvious, due to the confinement, then the progressive deconfinement, that his exhibition will be postponed, perhaps to the fall, or even to the next year “, confirms Hervé Chandès, director of Cartier Foundation.

Damien will decide shortly. In the meantime, we will extend the exhibition “Claudia Andujar” this summer. The deaths of two Yanomani Indians contaminated by whites, gold hunters and other adventurers, make it terribly current. All the questions posed by our contemporary world are already there, in this wonderful work carried out for over fifteen years by the great Brazilian artist Claudia Andujar. The artists sense the importance of things …


Ai Weiwei denounces Chinese government misinformation on coronavirus

China is going through a tumultuous media period. Suspected of lying about the actual Covid-19 figures, the government of Xi Jinping has revised the balance sheet upwards and an additional 1,290 deaths have been recorded in Wuhan. This strange management challenged the Beijing artist in exile Ai Weiwei, who widely castigated his country.

See also – China explains the charges of “concealment” in the balance sheet of the Covid-19

At a digital conference organized by the Oslo Freedom Forum, the father of the “Coca-Cola vase” expressed his feelings about the situation, pointing to censorship and misinformation. “During this whole coronavirus crisis, there was a lot of anger and concern about the Communist Party. The pandemic has claimed the lives of thousands of people and has been subversive for the modern establishment. ”, estimated the artist. “People just want global businesses to get back to normal as quickly as possible [mais la campagne] does not speak of a clear truth or argument. It is only the sign of a new failure for the Chinese government “, he said again.

This “campaign”, it is the one carried out to congratulate and thank Chinese President Xi JinPing for his management and his efforts and in the fight against the virus. “Propaganda” he said, strongly criticized by Chinese public opinion. “For a long time people had no idea what was going on and this gave the virus a chance to spread. People wonder about the real situation, and first wonder where this disease comes from and how it spread. ”said Weiwei, highlighting how the media is controlled so as not to alter the image of the government.

According to him, the WHO who one did not give a “Clear overview of the seriousness of the problem” also has its share of responsibilities. He also denounces this censorship in the art world, his field. “Art plays a crucial role in societies, but in China it never works the way it should because of the current strict censorship laws”, he regrets.

Exiled in Berlin since 2015, Ai Weiwei continues to exercise his activity freely. His latest performance, Safe Passage, in Minneapolis. To denounce the plight of migrants in Europe, he completely covered the neoclassical columns of the Minneapolis Institute of Art with life vests. The city of Minnesota with the highest number of refugees per capita of all the American states. The work is presented as part of the traveling exhibition When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Art and Migration.

Safe Passage to Minneapolis. Charles Walbridge / Minneapolis Institute of Art.


Donors and master glassmakers mobilized to restore the stained glass windows of Notre-Dame

In Cologne, at the end of the Second World War, only the immense silhouette of the cathedral emerged from the ruins of the city. Gutted by Allied bombing, the building, built over a period of six centuries, remained standing. And its restoration has continued until recent years, mobilizing hundreds of craftsmen in search of ancient gestures and techniques. As in the whole world, the Germans were seized with terror at the sight of Notre-Dame de Paris on fire last year. But the nightmare surely resounded in a singular way in the hearts of the inhabitants of Cologne, so attached to their “Domkirche” and necessarily sensitive to the fate of the mother of all cathedrals.

On the first anniversary of the Notre-Dame de Paris fire on April 15, Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia Armin Laschet, Minister of Culture Monika Grütters and President of the German Commission for UNESCO Maria Böhmer announced how Germany intended to participate in the restoration of Notre-Dame and in particular its stained glass windows.

In the aftermath of the fire, a donation campaign called “North Rhine-Westphalia for Our Lady” collected more than 450,000 euros in donations. These sums will be used to restore part of the bays on the upper floors of the building. In the Land press release, the French Minister of Culture Franck Riester warmly thanks the donors and explains that “the proposal of our German partners to contribute to the restoration of Notre-Dame de Paris is a powerful symbol of solidarity, which reminds us how closely the destinies of our two nations are

It is a question that is close to the heart of Germany to continue to support France in this enormous taskMonika Grütters testified. France can count on our support and our technical expertise.She explains in particular that the glassworks workshops of the Guilds of Cathedral Builders, the equivalents of our Companions of Duty, will be mobilized. The Minister of Culture has also asked the former prime contractor for Cologne Cathedral, Barbara Schock-Werner, to coordinate the offers of German aid. It will exercise its functions within the framework of the structures created by France for the restoration of Notre-Dame in consultation with the chief architect of historic monuments and experts from the French Ministry of Culture.

The studies still underway will determine the nature and extent of cooperation in the coming months. For the restoration of stained glass, there are three glass restoration workshops in Germany affiliated with cathedral construction companies which have great expertise in this field. German quality at the service of French heritage.


“I’m 83, I’m going to die …”

This Thursday morning April 16, at 9 am sharp, the Théâtre du Châtelet and France Inter, broadcast live on public radio as well as on their social networks, an unpublished letter and work by the English painter David Hockney, created during the confinement that the whole world is experiencing.

In this uncertain period for the world of live performance, the Théâtre du Châtelet has developed #TchatExtra, a daily digital offer which allows the general public to dialogue and exchange with its associated artists, in the form of a Flames. As such, the British painter David Hockney answered the call of the theater and offered to share unpublished works and a letter. It is in “Letters of Interior”, on France Inter, that Augustin Trapenard read live this morning the friendly letter addressed by David Hockney to Ruth Mackenzie, artistic director of Châtelet Theater.

David Hockney had already made a similar gesture to his compatriots, the same day of spring, March 21. A bouquet of daffodils that springs from the greenest ground. Already a table on iPad and a “positive message»That the great English painter, 83 years old on July 9 and a serious smoker, already confined to his house in Normandy, had sent over the wire, via The Art Newspaper . Its title, in these times of epidemic and confinement, was eloquent: “Do remember they can’t cancel the spring “ (“Remember they can’t cancel spring“).

David Hockney, “Do remember they can’t cancel the Spring” 2020. iPad drawing © David Hockney © David Hockney

This time, it was a real letter, both personal and deeply optimistic, that the British artist agreed to share, via his friend and compatriot Ruth Mackenzie, with his host country, France.

Dear Ruth,

We are currently in Normandy, where we stayed for the first time last year. I always had in mind to organize myself to live here the arrival of spring. I’m confined with Jean-Pierre and Jonathan, and so far so good for us. .I draw on my iPad, a medium faster than painting. I’ve used it 10 years ago in East Yorkshire when this tablet went out. Before that, I used an app on my iPhone, Brushes, which I found to be of excellent quality. But the alleged improvements made in 2015 made it too sophisticated, and therefore simply unusable! Since then, a mathematician from Leeds, England, has developed a custom one for me, more practical and thanks to which I can paint quite quickly. For a designer, speed is key, even if some drawings can take me four to five hours of work.

As soon as we discovered Normandy, we fell in love with it, and I wanted to paint and draw the arrival of spring here. There are pear, apple, cherry and plum trees in bloom. And also hawthorns and sloes. In East Yorkshire we only had hawthorns and sloes. We came across this large garden house – cheaper than anything we could have found in Sussex – as a long-awaited and hoped-for encounter.

I immediately started drawing in a Japanese notebook everything around our house, then the house itself. These creations were exhibited in New York in September 2019. But being a smoker, I have no attraction for New York and have never set foot there.

David Hockney, “No. 125 »19th March 2020. iPad drawing © David Hockney © David Hockney

We came back to Normandy on March 2, and I started to draw these scrawny trees on my iPad. I’m here right now, with Jonathan and Jean-Pierre. Since the virus struck, we have been confined. It does not affect me much, but Jean-Pierre (Gonçalves de Lima, his right arm, Editor’s note) and Jonathan, whose family is in Harrogate, are more affected.

Like it or not, we’re here for a while. I continued to draw these trees, from which now sprout a little more buds and flowers every day. This is where we are today.

I keep sharing these drawings with my friends, who are all delighted, and it makes me happy. Meanwhile, the virus, which has gone mad and uncontrollable, spreads. Many tell me that these drawings offer them a respite from this ordeal.

Why are my designs felt like a respite from this whirlwind of scary news? They bear witness to the cycle of life which begins again here with the beginning of spring. I will endeavor to continue this work now that I have appreciated its importance. My life is fine with me, I have something to do: paint.

Like idiots, we have lost our connection to nature even though we are fully part of it. It will all end one day. So what lessons can we learn from it? I’m 83, I’m going to die. We die because we are born. The only things that matter in life are food and love, in that order, and also our little dog Ruby. I sincerely believe in it, and for me, the source of art is in love. I love life.

Best regards, David Hockney

David Hockney, “No. 133 »22nd March 2020, iPad drawing © David Hockney © David Hockney

Ruth Mackenzie has been close to David Hockney since her mission as director of the London 2012 Festival, the official cultural program for the London 2012 Olympic Games for which she was named CBE (Order of the British Empire). Confined in London to her mother, she tells, exclusively for Le Figaro, how was born this long-term collaboration.

As I was in London, I saw the images he entrusted to The Art Newspaper. I wrote to him, knowing him in Normandy. I told him that confinement was much harder in France than in England and that it would be a real beautiful idea to address all Parisians, all French people deprived of nature. We did the same for the 2012 Olympics. David Hockney gave us a work – a view from his window, behind a cup of blue tea, with the profile of a tree in winter under the snow – to support this program exceptional cultural. Bouquet and first major event of this festival, “David Hockney: A Bigger Picture”, his incredible exhibition in early 2012 at the Royal Academy of Arts of London with its landscapes, trees, huge paintings painted in the woods and hills of East Yorkshire. I loved it. So this is the second time I have asked for it. It’s a little sassy, ​​but for a good cause!

David Hockney is an extraordinary personality. He is extremely intelligent and of great humanity. He’s also completely natural, behaves like any other man on the street. He has no pretensions, he says what he thinks, as he thinks. He showed me how the Brushes app on the iPad worked, how he looked at a tree and painted directly, his eyes fixed on the tree, without looking at his iPad before pressing the Replay button and seeing the succession of brush strokes appear by magic. For both of us, it was a miracle! We were struck by what we saw, like two petrified children in the Royal Academy’s main courtyard. Artists have this ability to create this joy. While the whole process of the London 2012 Festival has been difficult, everything with David has been joyful.

Is he very English? He comes from West Yorkshire, from the city of Bradford, an industrial city, devastated and marked by unemployment. Her brother was mayor of Bradford. He has a very English humor. He is really funny. But he is also an intellectual, which is frowned upon in England. “Arty” in England is often an insult, as the expression “arty farty” means pretentious, poseur, without wisdom, without pragmatism, without practical spirit, with a homophobic connotation. David is not afraid of being an artist, cares deeply about art, what is going on and the challenges of nature. This COVID-19 crisis involves changing everything in the world. So this is his moment

David Hockney, “No. 144 »28th March 2020, iPad drawing © David Hockney © David Hockney


Against Covid-19, artist Yayoi Kusama sends his message “Peace and Love” to the world

“My life is to say a point in the middle of millions of particles which are peas” So defined in 1975 Yayoi Kusama, a sort of multicolored priestess of art whose success has grown particularly in recent years. In 2012, the Center Pompidou, after the Tate Modern of London and the Museo Reina Sofia of Madrid in 2011, paid tribute to him with retrospectives with double reading, dapper in form and squeaky on the bottom, spectacular and extremely popular.

As the world folds, each in its own box, to face the epidemic, the artist of claustrophobia but also of Infinity Rooms marvelous where the lights multiply endlessly, responds in its own way. The queen of multicolored peas sends a 91-year-old message of peace and hope, a poem and the image of a painting, since her retirement from Japan, via her London gallery, Victoria Miro, and her gallery in New York, David Zwirner.

Strong personality of New York of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, the young Yayoi Kusama posed naked on a blac horse, lying in her very explicit works, created incredible installations, sorts of seabed with strong sexual overtones. . Containment, she knows, since this star of the contemporary scene suffered from hallucinations and neuroses, from childhood, is now retired to the Seiwa Mental Hospital in Tokyo and says to cure his mental illness through art.

The wonder of infinite space recreated in a box of mirrors and flashing lights, the Infinity Rooms. Installation view, Yayoi Kusama: EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE, David Zwirner, New York, 2019 Courtesy David Zwirner Kerry mcfate

Praying For World Peace in the Sunlight, 2016, is typical of his late works, red dots on a white background, simpler, more graphic, almost more childlike. Yayoi Kusama said that when she was ten years old, a prisoner of an abusive mother and an adulterous and fleeing father, she saw, in strong hallucinations, “flashes of light, auras and dense fields of multicolored peas

The title of his shipment also recalls the mystical messages and other philosophical aphorisms that his compatriot and youngest daughter, Yoko Ono, Mrs John Lennon, 87, regularly posts on her Twitter account (4.7 million subscribers). “Be creative in your normal day and make yourself proud of yourself”, published on April 14, the one which is also often called “witch” (‘‘Be creative in your usual day and make yourself proud’’).

A few minutes later, another chromatic field. Installation view,
Yayoi Kusama: EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE, David Zwirner, New York, 2019 Courtesy David Zwirner
Kerry mcfate

Here it is, with an already eloquent title:

“A message from Yayoi Kusama to the whole world”

“As a glow just breaks through, I continue to pray for hope to shine completely / Its radiance lights our way / Now we are on the dark side of the world / The gods will be there to strengthen the hope that we have spread throughout the universe / For those we have left behind, the history of each person and that of their loved ones / It is time to seek a hymn of love for our souls / In the midst of this threat history, a short moment of bright spots towards the future / Let us joyfully sing the song of this splendid future / Let us go / Carried by a deep love and the efforts of all the peoples of the world / Now it is time to overcome this ordeal, to bring peace / We have come together for love and I hope to satisfy this desire / The time has come to fight and overcome unhappiness / To this COVID-19 that stands in our way / I say ” Disappear from the Earth ” / We will fight / We will fight this terrible monster / Now, it is time for all the peoples of the Earth to recover / My deep gratitude goes to those who are at the heart of the battle / Revolutionary of the world through art, Yayoi Kusama »

Infinity Room by Yayoi Kusama. Installation view, Yayoi Kusama: EVERY DAY I PRAY FOR LOVE, David Zwirner, New York, 2019. Courtesy David Zwirner Courstesy David Zwirner


“The confinement, I live it as when I am on mission on board, as on a long crossing”

INTERVIEW – The director of the National Maritime Museum Vincent Campredon explains how the restrictions on outings bring him closer to his life as a sailor. And how his future museum will reopen in 2022, rich in this experience. .

Oscar Wilde’s prison still for sale

Penitentiary center, artistic complex or bourgeois building? The British Ministry of Justice has rendered its decision. Reading Prison, famous in particular for having “received” the Irish writer Oscar Wilde at the end of the 19th century, would not become an arts center.

The initiative was carried by the city council of Reading as well as by many writers like Stephen Fry and Julian Barnes. MP, Matt Rodda, even launched a petition to support the project. “This magnificent site must remain open to the public, it is too important to be converted into luxury apartments“, He explains, adding that the body of Henry I was buried not far from the prison. But the British government seems to prefer selling to the highest bidder, according to a statement by Matt Rodda to The Gardian .

But hope still persists. The various supporters of the campaign continue to fight with their weapons. Like Stephen Fry who said on Twitter that he would be delighted that “living art may arise from the place where Oscar and so many others suffered” To start this struggle, more legislative than artistic, the head of the city council of Reading, Jason Brock, plans to work “in close collaboration“With the buyers of the establishment”to ensure that the historic and cultural value of Reading Prison is highlighted as plans are drawn up

A piece of history

In 1895, Oscar Wilde languishes in the jails of Reading. His crime? A “serious immorality” after the father of her young lover accused him of homosexuality, which will earn him two years of forced labor. He wrote his last prose text there: a love letter and a break tinted with a humanist lesson renamed De Profundis, which marks a deep turning point in its literature.

These two years in prison, which also marks the beginning of Oscar Wilde’s sad downfall, are passed on to posterity by the no less famous Ballad of the jail of Reading. A long poem which he wrote shortly after his release, during his French exile, on the last moments of a man before his hanging. From this poem, signed under the name C.3.3 – his number in prison, his cell being the third on the third floor of block C – stands out these last six verses today famous:

And all men kill what they love
Of all that be heard
Some do it with a bitter look
Some with a flattering word
The coward kisses
The brave with a sword!

Meanwhile, the prison in Reading has still not found its jailer.