Il court, il court, le furet
Jigsaw puzzle, A5 digital print, and glue kit in a box
Puzzle: 39.7 x 28.3 x 0.2 cm
Print: 20.8 x 14.8 cm
Box: 21.5. 16 x 4 cm
Edition of 40 copies signed and numbered by the artist, plus 8 artist’s proofs
Related edition: Il court, il court, le furet (1:1) (poster)
For Il court, il court, le furet, Jacqueline Mesmaeker drew from one of her main sources of inspiration: the apartment where she has lived and worked for fifty years. Located on the sixth floor of an Art Deco building in Brussels, it is for her a true microcosm: a home as well as a studio, an archive, a library, a cabinet of curiosities, and more. Not only is it a place that hosts her daily artistic practice, it is also a subject matter and a material in and of itself. With its antiques, eccentric objects, lighting effects and other micro-events, the apartment has appeared in many of Mesmaeker’s photos and films. The architecture and furniture have also become integral parts of her works, as in the seminal Les Introductions roses (1995), where she filled some of the cracks in her walls and floors with bright pink cotton, transforming her domestic environment into a canvas for drawing.
The photo in the two Keijiban editions was taken in a small multi-purpose room. It shows the remains of a wallpaper that the artist uncovered after taking out all the paint and other decorative layers that had been applied by the previous tenants. Like an archeologist, she carefully unearthed and brought to light the room’s first use after the building’s completion in 1929 (the artist’s birth year): a children’s bedroom. This travel back in time also served as a return to her own childhood. For Mesmaeker, who designed wallpapers in the 1970s and was an avid reader of Alice in Wonderland, the discovery of this ancient fresco-like fragmented scenery was a joyful event.
The title “Il court, il court, le furet” [The ferret it runs, it runs”] are the first lines of a famous French nursery rhyme dating back from the XVIIIth century. The song describes a ferret running around the woods as an allegory of an elusive thing or idea. It serves as a humorous, if melancholy echo of the artist’s travels in the past, as well as of the task awaiting anyone wanting to complete this jigsaw puzzle.
Jacqueline Mesmaeker's exhibition took place at Keijiban from April 15 to May 14, 2022.