For the last two years I have been working through a long held obsession; the visual and emotional attachment to Dreyer’s 1928 film La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc. I can’t be precise about when I first saw the film, all I know for sure is that whenever it was that it drilled its way into my head it has never left. I have made over two hundred sketches, finished drawings, collages and paintings since deciding to actually approach the project with some degree of rigour and I think there is potentially still more to be done. The obsessional aspect for me has been the intensity of the performance, as Jeanne, by Renée Jeanne Falconetti and I have studied it intensely. At no point, even when watching scenes almost frame by frame, does she appear to be acting. Is there such a thing to an actor as a perfect performance? I’m not an actor or a student of the theory of acting; I’m just an audience member, the target of her work, but I’m convinced it has to be one of the greatest cinematic performances of all time.
Well the paintings are shortly to be shown in St. Martin in the Fields in London and I’ll be travelling back for the opening night. I hope the audience is forgiving of the obsession and can feel some degree of support for the reason why I have chosen the subject – as a metaphor for an apparent loss of political faith in a rational, caring world.