text #1- an ever winning smile
I went to the place where the installation is set up. I'd like to underline that I wasn't just dropping by. Rather, I was determined to go there to make a statement about TEMPTATION. Oscar Wilde's quote etched in my mind, "I can resist everything but temptation," my idea was set: why resist?
Nevertheless, standing before Clara Feder's artwork, I realized that under temptation lies envy, and under envy lies jealousy. I grasped that behind the wall's humor and the game of contributing to the artwork hides a crucial disaster around which revolve all the torments and where all the conflicts are raised.
Throughout my traveler's life, I was confronted to deeply diverse social backgrounds. And I want to affirm that the happiest children I saw were not the ones brought up in well-off families. On the contrary, they dwelled in remote places out of the reach of consumerist appeals. No outside temptation there. And I dare saying that an ostentatious level of poverty put aside, wealth is relative. We always are richer or poorer than someone else! Everything else is greed and submission to an economic system.
The fight to possess is endless, dissatisfaction its only outcome. I have mainly seen misery in people who don't know how to live in the present, those for whom bliss always belongs to the future. Ideologists, clerics, economists, politicians promise us success, paradise, golden ages, fortunes... But those "improvements" are postponed indefinitely. Happiness surely resides in the art of balancing off one's needs to one's resources. And because temptation is strong, the achievement is evermore a source of pride.
To scratch or not to scratch? That is the question raised by Clara Feder. I finally decided not to scratch. Standing for dignity, following the principles of my life. The way I've made it. Against envy. Against lust. Against temptation. "Make yourself happy" is the anarchist’s cry. A cry in the shape of a laugh. An ever-winning laugh.
Thank you Clara.
Marseille, October 16, 2013
Translated by Victoria Schulsinger.
text #2 - clara feder's work on temptation, a symbol of our society
Why did I get interested in Clara’s work ?
There’s a Latin word, “speculare”, meaning mirror in Latin, that gave birth to the words speculate and speculation. Being a philosopher, I’m interested in speculating. I find Clara’s work speculative in many ways.
First of all, financially, because there might be millions of Euros behind me. We don’t know. One could attempt to buy the art piece, thinking it would be a speculative investment should there be a winning ticket. So this work could be a symbol of our civilisation for, as you might have noticed, we live in a world of speculation. I see it as a sort of fetish, with a money aura. I look at it as an anthropologist would. (...)
It’s a symbol of our society, because it shows a certain type of violence: the hammer, at the right of the window, almost compels you to break the glass (…)
Violence of the manipulation of our desires, with this idea that if you win you’re going to be happy, that it might be the only way to achieve happiness in times of crisis. (...)
Also violence because Clara decided to seize real « objects of hope » and confiscated them behind the glass, deactivating these strong symbols of hope, tickets that make people dream about being rich.
At last, symbol of our society because the artist shows the object and shows us watching the object. Her work truly makes us reflect upon luck, happiness, games and society.
French philosopher, art critic, author
Marseille, February 12th 2012
(Transcript of the introductory speech to the session "Happiness, a question of luck ?", café philo founded and hosted by Marc Rosmini in Marseille in February 2012)