In the boxes – 3

On November 10, 1968, the radio was on, as it was every day, and his presence filled the workshop.

Radio France’s voices are sound windows through which the world enters the painter’s home. You don’t need moving pictures to see. Especially not.

On the table, the colours are waiting. The easel is in place, the subjects ready to be born.

8:00 am – The 4 beeps – The spoken diary: Inter news.

The voices are deep, solemn. These are the hours before the tribute.

Voices like monuments, glory to the generals.

The journalist gets excited, presents the programme of the festivities. It will be beautiful, “grandiose”, what is being prepared for tomorrow.

14-18 – encre de Chine de Raymond Debiève – 10/11/68

In the post, we hear the Republican Guard Band greeting the flag as a foretaste offered to attentive listeners.

Without the images, however, the painter’s fear is there, which swells to the sound of music, frozen, deaf.

A sheet of paper, a brush, black ink.

The colors will wait.

The sounds are moving away.

The brush does not tremble, guided by the images that fill the workshop.

Weight of the war field – presence of silence.

No celebration at the end of the brush. No medal-winning men. No glorification of the soldier, no glorification of the victorious homeland.

Only a few black lines, placed on the white sheet, and skulls, piles of skulls that clash, that pile up, are gathered in the same terror. They face us, these skulls, “look at” us with their empty eyes when the rooster or eagle, the claws well pricked on the heads of the dead soldiers, turn their greedy and icy pupils towards future battles, towards other men to devour.

No hope in these drawings.

No sunshine.

No rain.

No air.


Nothing to glorify on this November 10, 1968.

14-18 – encre de Chine de Raymond Debiève – 10/11/68

14-18 – encre de Chine de Raymond Debiève – 10/11/68

14-18 – encre de Chine de Raymond Debiève – 10/11/68