Face (Series 1)

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”694″ img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”690″ img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”691″ img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”693″ img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”692″ img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/3″][vc_single_image image=”695″ img_link_large=”yes” img_link_target=”_self” img_size=”medium”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text] Images made in response to this text from Sartre’s Nausea. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]

On the wall there is a white hole, the mirror. It is a trap. I know I am going to let myself be caught in it. I have. The grey thing has just appeared in the mirror. I go over and look at it, I can no longer move away.

It is a reflection of my face. Often during those wasted days, I stay here contemplating it. I can understand nothing about this face. Other people’s faces have some significance. Not mine. I cannot even decide whether it is handsome or ugly.

I think it is ugly, because I have been told so. But that doesn’t strike me. At heart I am indeed shocked that qualities of this sort can be applied to it, as if you called a piece of earth or a lump of rock beautiful or ugly. All the same there is one thing which is a pleasure to see, above the flabby regions of the cheeks, above the forehead: it is that beautiful red flame which gilds my skull, it is my hear. There is something pleasant to see. At least it’s a definite colour: I am glad I have red hair. It’s there in the mirror, it catches the eye, it shines out. I am still lucky: if my forehead was adorned with one of those dull heads of hair which can’t make up their mind whether to be chestnut or fair, my face would be lost in a vague expanse, it would make me feel giddy.

My gaze travels slowly and wearily down over this forehead, these cheeks: it meets nothing firm, and sinks into the sand. Admittedly there is a nose there, two eyes and a mouth, but none of that has any significance, nor even a human expression. Yet Anny and Velines thought I looked alive; it may be that I am too accustomed to my face. When I was small my Aunt Bigeois used to tell me ‘If you look at yourself too long in the mirror, you’ll see a monkey there.’ I must have looked at myself longer than that: what I can see is far below monkey, on the edge of the vegetable world, at the polyp level. It’s alive, I can’t deny that: but it isn’t the life that Anny was thinking of: I can see some slight tremors, I can see an insipid flesh blossoming and palpitating with abandon. The eyes in particular, seen at such close quarters, are horrible. they are glassy, soft, blind, and red-rimmed; anyone would think they were fish-scales. I lean my whole weight on the porcelain edge, I push my face forward until it touches the mirror. The eyes, the nose, the mouth disappear: nothing human is left. Brown wrinkles on each side of the feverish swelling of the lips, crevices, mole-hills. A silky white down runs along the wide slopes of the cheeks, two hairs protrude from the nostrils; it’s a geological relief to me. I can’t say that I recognise the details. But the whole thing gives me an impression of something seen before which numbs me: I slip gently into sleep.

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