ENGLISH

Eleen Deprez — A fish, whale or dolphin

Eleen Deprez — My visit to the estate

Eleen Deprez — On collaboration, the studio and visual material

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DUTCH

Eleen Deprez — Een vis, walvis of dolfijn

Eleen Deprez — Mijn bezoek aan het landgoed

Eleen Deprez — Huisbezoek

Eleen Deprez — Over samenwerken, het atelier en beeldmateriaal

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My visit to the estate

A secret bunker with not much of an estate surrounding it, is on view, bulky and ungainly. The post box carries a different name. At the end of the drive, the pilgrim reads ‘L’Albatros’. Traditional roof tiles and solid walls with only a tiny window here and there. The low wall still links the buildings; here Reve stood wearing dirty trousers and a black hat.

Inside it was always freezing, according to the rare guests. A writing altar with smudged ink. A pickaxe leaning against the wall, two buildings and some sad rubbish that only Reve himself could have described successfully. But in the Revean’s mind, everything is complemented with relative clauses: the writing altar on which Dear Boys was written; the cistern that needed constant looking after; the shower that doubled as a toilet, only for Reve though. A simple shrine to the Virgin Mary, hacked from the rock. The lack of a caretaker means that objects are being touched and handled; an inquisitive gaze even forces itself into the shithole. The telephone is still there; a few notes in the unmistakable hand, too; coal scuttles and a dead bird; Flaubert’s ‘Sentimental Education’. And on the wall an ordnance survey map: This is My Mountain.

But where was Reve when a cruel curve stirred in his heavy work trousers; where is the neurotic soul, the tangible sadness? Where did Reve live, in this cell he built with his own hands? Even in the intimacy of his own secret house, Reve is only a character. Sailor fox has long ceased his visits, and the only one whose member threateningly stirs here is the neighbour’s dog, trying to keep intruders at bay. Below, in La Paillette, the tap with the lion’s head is still there. The tennis court next to it is deserted. The horny boys whom Reve liked to watch while pumping water have long gone; they have long outgrown their white shorts.