installation and text
I always make sure I pass through the Museum’s door at 9.30. I could arrive at 9.45 but 9.30 is when I arrive. I need to be a good 15 minutes ahead of time. At 9.25, I am at the end of the alley, in front of the façade’s clock. If not for this Museum, this façade, this clock, I might not have taught myself how to pass through a door at exactly 9.30. I put on my uniform in the attendants’ room, I walk towards hall 26. It is 9.45.
I should be perfectly happy since I always wanted of anything, that it’d be in its right place, at the right time. And my place is in this chair in hall 26, where I have been sitting at 10 sharp for the past twenty years. There is only one painting in hall 26, just one, and I am its keeper. Every morning, except for Tuesdays and bank holydays, I sit facing it. Everything is in order.
Every morning, before I sit on the chair, I get close to the painting and inspect it. I used to inspect this painting already every time I came to fetch my mother. She used to sit, facing it, in hall 26, which is now hall 25. The painting has changed halls, you see, not numbers. Every morning I watch it and every morning, for the past twenty years…
I am not sure I have the right to go any further with you. You are listening to me today, tomorrow you will talk, in what manner? That you are doing an investigation doesn’t mean I have to tell everything. Besides, I haven’t told anything so far, neither has my mother. I don’t like problems, nor do I like to cause any. To me, it doesn’t matter if the painting takes it upon itself to change a little, a little every day, if it decides to change the color of the boxes, or that of a shadow in the back, if it has its whim every morning, an additional letter or parchment, a mauve urchin on the right, a portrait on the left. One day, I would have sworn to have recognized my father in the mirror. I have never been positive about it, though. My mother had introduced him to me the day before, as he is on the picture that is, the picture standing on her night table. Up to then he was a stranger, after that he was my father. I had never asked any question. She introduced him to me one evening, but I can’t remember what evening it was, or how old I was. After a few months, he disappeared from the painting. I would rather never see my mother in it.
Anyway, it is said, about the painting. I did try to check whether everybody saw it like me, if for them too…The guide especially. At 11, she stands between her group and the painting. She describes each object as if it has always been there, even though it appeared overnight. She forgets about those that are gone. Everything is always normal to her. It’s the same for the books in the museum. Their description changes. Nobody wonders about it. Objects appear, then disappear. I have never seen an object come back. I can remember each one of them. It’s not that I have a good memory, I have a notebook, I write everything down. I sometime wonder what kind of keeper I am and what it is exactly that I keep. Neither do I understand what you are looking for.