Non possum aliter, janvier 1973
Colored pencils on paper, signed, titled and dated on the back
125 x 151 cm
49 1/8 x 59 3/8 in.
Unclassifiable artist and author, Pierre Klossowski (1905-2001) produced a double work between literature and drawing. Born in Paris in 1905 into a family of artists, both his parents were painters. His mother was a student of Bonnard and his brother was the painter Balthus. Klossowski drew very early and grew up in contact with the Neo-Impressionists. He was frequently visited by Derain, Maurice Denis, and the collector Ambroise Vollard. From his childhood he showed a particular interest in literature, philosophy, theology and psychoanalysis. His attention was focused on authors who were controversial, sulphurous and subject to criticism. He wrote numerous essays on Sade and studied Nietzsche. His interest in a certain kind of literature will lead him as an artist to free himself from good morals.
His drawing activity is enriched when he replaces the lead pencil by the colored pencil. The coloring is done in transparency, thanks to highlights that preserve the immaterial aspect of his works. This fugitive coloring gives a past, worn effect, and the whole looks like ancient wall paintings from another world. It was also during this period that he devoted himself almost exclusively to drawing, leaving aside literature.
"The new series of compositions, treated with colored pencils, like enlargements of "chromos", does not differ in any way from the anecdotal conception of the drawings with graphite, except that it accentuates on the contrary, all the more so since the color, far from wanting to assert itself as a pictorial "in itself", remains entirely subordinated to the scenic character of the painting." Pierre Klossowski during his interview with Rémy Zaugg, 1980-1981
The work we are presenting today, Non possum aliter, presents a seaside setting. A woman in the foreground is so concerned that she stops her work. She looks away from the two other figures: a young androgynous man and an older man who seems to be addressing her "non possum aliter" - I cannot do otherwise. This composition seems to carry a secret symbolism, which finds its foundation in psychoanalysis and sadist ideology.