Art Blog by Loredana De Simone

The Atelier #3


the atelier who is dada madame dabi .jpg

From a diary page

The house looked like a labyrinth and red lights like those in the Montmartre carousel. A long corridor divided it into two symmetrical parts, a large room in the left part with a wall of windows covered by draped curtains on one side, a sofa and three tables. On the right there was a small brick kitchen, next to a bathroom with a central thub and at the bottom I assumed there was a bedroom.

I arrived at nine-thirty, with fresh tulips and croissants. The luxury of having breakfast late is only for those who can decide to work at any time, freedom also has its positive sides, I thought while I was turning the bell. At the door greeted me a slender and elegant woman with a kitchen apron, holding an orange in her hand while she was hugging me, telling me that Mademoiselle Celine had talked to her so well and could not wait to meet me.

Amazed, I showed my best smile, I was expecting a breakfast for two.
As we sat down on a long, silk-covered sofa that I feared to get dirty with every move, I could not help but watch Mademoiselle Celine’s feet pounding at the heel and pointing to the pavement, alternately as if it were the rhythm of her thoughts. The tall and elegant woman was Anne, she worked as a set designer for films produced in Germany but destined for the American market. I realized that her taste in dress was reflected in the scenographies she designed when she showed me some photos of furniture selected for the film she was working on, even now I can not say whether I hated them or loved them.

Anne wanted to see my creations to dress the main character of the film she was working on, without any doubt despite having no idea what it meant.
Fourteen changes told me, this was the only indication I gathered that morning about the new job. As far as the meeting was concerned, I realized I had fallen into an obsession, gently, word after word and look after look. I felt I had found a safe place between two women from whom I was attracted, like when the first day of school a child you do not know choose to sit next to you. This was the feeling. It seemed to me that they were making me some space in their lives.

A few days later my waiting ended with Mademoiselle Anne in my atelier, while the models entered and left the tailor’s room, turning the corner of the Chinese screen that I had personally dragged there just because I thought that she would liked that large detail. As I said, I had entered one of my obsessions and when it happens I become devoted to them.
“There are no middle ways on the screen, we have to penetrate the spectators’ eyes, we have to hypnotize them,” she told me, as I was on his fast-moving fingers. My ideas were taking fire from her enthusiasm and when she left I lost the concept of time working on our project.
The choice of fabrics, the approval of the sketches, the fittings kept me and Mademoiselle Anne in close contact for weeks but no trace of Celine, she seemed to have been swallowed by the silk of the sofa where I had left her the last time.
Then one evening I managed to convince Mademoiselle Anne to accompany me to the Cabaret, I told I wanted to show her my stage costumes but the truth is that I wanted an excuse to be with her, away from the duties of work we could give us a more intimate conversation, I hoped. That evening I was to show myself in my habitat, this made me confident with every move.

During the show from time to time I leaned towards her ear to tell her some anecdotes, she looked around curiously asking me some questions to which I answered extending too much and trying to get out of her sentences something more about her, about Mademiselle Celine, both were a mystery and I wanted to see the origin. When the 14 dresses for the film were ready I was not yet to let me miss the opportunity to enter for a while in their lives, that evening I put my last card on the table after the show when, all gone, I led Mademoiselle Anne in what was my dressing room when I worked there. Everything was up like in those days, she sat there on the triclinium, where I had already other lovers sit down, and kissed her as I ran my fingers through hers. With perfect timing, as I had calculated when I had written the message delivered to her office the day before, Mademoiselle Celine appeared, accompanied by Mrs. Camille, who with a satisfied look left the door slightly open behind her. My game had started, now the pawns could move on my chessboard and I was getting ready to be surprised.

My last obsession was taken away the following day, when the train from Saint Lazare took away my two companions and the 14 stage dresses.

I was ready to fall into the next obsession when I received a package from the United States at the Atelier. I triumphed with joy and found a big roll of film with a red card on it “is just a preview”. Excited to see my clothes filtered by the silver screen, I jumped into the basement where I could be alone to enjoy that show. When the first frame appeared on the sloping wall, the projected image was that of my dressing room at the Cabaret on the evening of the show.

I watched the whole film, with the expectations of those who see a film for the second time, but the ending was in my eyes that looked at my own immortalized obsession. I was the executioner who had turned his victims into his own executioners, and it did not surprise me.

I think the film will really be projected, maybe not in the cinema, but for sure without my clothes, only with my obsessions that get out of hand, on which I thought I had control and instead they swallowed me.



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