HOMAGE TO LOUIS SOUTTER

By William Markiewicz

The work of Louis Soutter, the tragic and 'alien' Swiss artist who died in a mental institution, was recently exhibited in Paris. The exhibition was divided into periods under titles like "And if the Sun returns to me again", "The Godless", ...

In his letter to Le Corbusier, his cousin and supporter, he wrote: "The godless" are dolorous beings, a caste purified and elevated by the tortuous pain of isolation."

Let's imagine a verse from a god-less scripture through which I communicate with Louis Soutter's spirit and his 'godless' ones:

Our so-called involvement with reality really detaches us from reality. Our preoccupations, goals, joys and sorrows, really detach us from the ultimate reality which is the irreversible march toward oblivion. Confinement is one of the worst punishments because it exposes you to nothing but waiting. Intelligence becomes our enemy when it exposes us to the truth and doesn't show us how to escape it. Therefore, the most stupid weapon, courage, is our unique and ultimate weapon. Courage is what makes us take care of our daily preoccupations as if they really mattered. Courage is an arm for the so-called defeated as joy is an arm for the so-called victorious. Buddhism, which tells us that all is illusion, still doesn't explain what this knowledge is useful for*. Dress yourself in your courage as in a dirty shirt because there is no clean one at your disposal. Courage is a virtue and faith exists to justify the existence of virtues.
..........
*It may be a warning: beware that your dreams don't turn toward obsessions which become a prison.

Si le soleil me revenait by Louis Soutter 1937



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