Performative Story by Hans Peter Litscher

The Adoration of the Magi according to Marcel or
A Few Considerations on the Correlations between Art and Cheese

Friday 5 October, 8 p.m.

Since my first chance encounter in late May of 1968 on the shores of Lake Lucerne with that impishly smiling wise man-king, that mysterious chess player named Marcel who called himself a “cheese monger” and with whom I made an extravagant trip in a pale green Volkswagen into neighboring Emmental, I have tried to elucidate this fundamental question, to wit, what enigmatic link exists between image, plumage, foliage and cheese in the fridge?

This fall at attitudes I shall attempt to answer that question for the first time publicly in person. In his Dictionary of Received Wisdom, Flaubert has Bouvard and Pécuchet note by way of a definition for the word “cheese”: “quote Brillat-Savarin’s aphorism that ‘a dinner without cheese is a beautiful woman who is missing an eye’.”

Hans Peter Litscher (photo : Steeve Iuncker)

For years now I’ve explored the field of art from the margins: the victims of art (Victims of Esthetic Echoes) in my lecture Kunst kann ins Auge gehen, which I gave at the Fondation Cartier in Paris and the Haus der Kunst in Munich; figure skating with Gaston Seelbach; traffic regulation and dance with Laura Wolff; artistic cycling with Wanda Tura; as well as martial arts with Eleonora Duse et son Kangourou Boxeur. By turning my attention to art and cheese, I think I can finally tackle a central question touching on this reflection about art, the notion of production, art’s alchemical process itself.

While some of the greatest creators of the 20th century (I’ll mention only James Joyce and Marcel Duchamp) always remained particularly enigmatic about their artistic work, they did nevertheless reveal on many occasions their special relationship to and passion for cheese, its production and consumption.

Hans Peter Litscher (CH, 1955, based in Paris)