The Happy Man (Part 3)

The Happy Man. . . or so I have heard myself called (Part III), 2008

Part III of XII: single-channel video projection (silent). 05:15 minutes


video stills, from Part III of The Happy Man...or so I have heard myself called

In Part III of The Happy Man…or so I have heard myself called, French author François Mauriac (1885-1970) reflects upon the relationship between artistic quality and the personality of the artist. This meditation is staged against details from the painting ‘Wolf and Fox Hunt’ (ca. 1615-21) by Flemish painter and diplomat Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

A silent video in twelve parts, The Happy Man draws upon the personal statements of celebrated writers as they reflect on influences, accomplishments, failures, hopes, shortcomings, beliefs, and the elusiveness of happiness in their creative lives. These writerly meditations, sourced from published interviews, are staged against images of artworks taken in museum collections. The work's title draws upon a 1946 journal entry in the diaristic prose poem Le Savon, translated as Soap, (1969), by French poet and essayist Francis Ponge (1899–1988) who wrote, “‘FRANCIS PONGE, or the happy man’: so I have heard myself called.”

This work has been generously supported by a Brown Foundation Fellowship at Dora Maar House.

Click HERE to watch Part III of 'The Happy Man'...or so I have heard myself called on Vimeo