Pierre Klossowski: about hospitality

The same image was reflected in infinite variations in Pierre Klossowski’s texts and illustrations: that of a woman torn between desire and rejection. It is not that the author fell down in the sexist stereotype of whom every woman wants to be raped, but he was thinking about the sickly need of the male mind to construct these feminine archetypes to project in them his own moral dilemmas.

Les barres parallèles
Les barres parallèles

In La révocation de l’Édit de Nantes, Roberte’s diary fragments alternate with Octave’s ones, showing us the mental chicaneries of the husband to shape the subjectivity of his wife based on his own parameters. The matrimonial agreement is ruled by curious laws of hospitality according to which Roberte staging offers herself to guests and visitors staging meetings previously devised by her husband.

She, far from being a passive bit-part actor moved by the threads of the masculine libido, goes revealing herself to the point to feel the need to get rid of Octave and so be liberated of representations series he perpetrates that reduce her to a prudish and vicious female in equal measure.

La roberte des quatre jeudis
La roberte des quatre jeudis

Octave, art collector, inserts in his diary descriptions of paintings in which discovers similar tension between shame and pleasure, in characters as Lucrecia being violated by Tarquino in her own house.

Klossowski analyzes pantomime underlying in every gesture, transforms mundane acts in tableaux vivants extracted from daily inertia, while carrying the fable from legendary terrain to everyday sphere.

Denise, his wife in real life, inspired to him the character of Robert in a a literary trilogy where he assumed the role of officiant (observer and instigator) in a game of shifts between reality and fiction, act and potentiality. It’s no wonder he was fascinated by the myth of Diana and Actaeon, which deal with the gaze of other: the young hunter dies because of his curious way of looking, for accessing the forbidden, it is, a naked goddess. She punishes him for defiling her chastity, transforming him into a deer to be devoured by his own dogs.

Diane et Actéon
Diane et Actéon

In his essay Le bain de Diane, Klossowski brings a third character, a mediator devil, turning myth in simulacrum: the devil usurped Diana’s body, arousing in her enjoyment by exposing herself, while spurring the desire of Actaeon. His gaze (his imagination) gives form to the goddess. The mythical time becomes mental space.

The demon (Klossowski himself) enjoys with this puppet theatre, inducing the gods to prostitute themselves, stops every scene to walk among the performers, exploring the emotions of mortals, exposing their conflicting passions. Just the gaze survives, posthumously, at the end of the show.

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