Cemetery of Clermont-de-l’Oise : « Silence and Freedom » ( 2/2 )

Two opposite walls: one for Silence and one for Freedom.

The wall for Silence holds a bronze bird, denying all lightness, thus forbidding to fly away.

It is the patient’s inner silence loving an imaginary freedom, stricken in his awfull solitude, in

view of such a cruel society for these dropouts, those ‘who do not fit in’.

In the wall for Freedom the hollow bird represents the escape towards the light, probably to death.

The naked cement, such normal material stands impressively in its purity, representing the naked sobriety, utter destitution, ‘innocent victims of man’s madness’.

(Guidi’s speech during the inauguration ceremony)

The monument is dedicated to those ‘mental patients’ (Guidi used inverted commas) and their brothers, either locked up or not, who were diagnosed with a mental illness by society of whom several were men of genius: Schumann, Antonin Artaud, Gérard de Nerval, Van Gogh, Camille Claudel. Not to ommit the recently discouvered brilliant naive painter, Séraphine de Senlis, praised in the Musée Maillol, immortalized by Yolande Moreau in her film Séraphine, which was an international succes, and who was buried in a communal grave, as was Mozart by the way...

Guidi also wanted to be burried in the communal grave at the cemetry of Clermont-de-l’Oise, out of artistic, romantic solidarity. I succeeded in talking him out of it, out of consideration for his daughter and grandchildren. And so Guidi rests near his work. His tomb is a simple, right-angled patch of grass with a tombstone engraved by his friend, stone-mason and sculptor Eric Petitpoisson his only reproduced work. But Séraphine de Senlis is there, somewhere, about ten meters away from him...