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Pauline Beaudemont


What is your ideal office?


Any warm and peaceful place with an ashtray and a view over the sky.


What would your 18th-century life look like?


I would have certainly had the life of my ancestor, the Chevalier d’Éon de Beaumont, a transvestite spy in the court of the king who was some days dressed by Marie- Antoinette’s favorite stylist and some days fighting wars as a captain of dragoons.


Who do you miss the most?


Missing people has become my default mode. Habits dry you up like a little prune. I never live in the same city for more than a couple of years, so I manage to be the one who is missed the most!


What scene from a film has been particularly influential on you?

The construction of my personal ideal of “woman swag”: The party scene in Les nuits de la pleine lune by Éric Rohmer, with the music of Elli et Jacno. Any scene from any Chabrol movie where Stéphane Audran lights a cigarette. The wedding scene in Peau d’âne by Jacques Demy when the fairy godmother arrives in a helicopter.


How do you arrive at an idea for a new piece?


There is no such thing as an idea in art, there is work. Work is learning, reading, visiting, looking, thinking, dreaming, loving, writing, never giving up, being obsessive. Then it pops and all makes sense. It is so cheesy to say, but this job is life.


Do you have any enemies?


I have crossed the path of many monsters disguised as swans—”ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing” to quote the Bible. Toxic people who just rub your ego and twist your soul until you realize, “Wait, what?” I am fascinated by these people, you have to have respect for your enemies.


What is your favorite story from childhood?


The story of the creation of earth and evolution, from the Big Bang to modern times, that my father used to tell me over and over again. It worked on me like an hypnosis session where I could project myself into being the growing atom. I also have a soft spot for The Princess and the Pea.


Where is the most sacred place on earth?


It’s a subliminal place where I can only go during REM sleep, in the heart of my imagination.


When is the last time you got in trouble?


Five minutes ago? Most of the time people don’t want to hear the truth and get defensive. I tend to say what I think, I never lie, otherwise I blush. I wish I was manipulative and mysterious but it’s physiologically impossible.


What gets you out of bed in the morning?


A cup of builder’s tea.


What is an unrealized or impossible project you would like to make happen?

As a thwarted architect and total tomboy, my dream is to build. Like a big housing project in a very postmodernist tradition of aggressive beauty. Think Espaces d’Abraxas by Ricardo Bofill or Habitat 67 by Moshe Safdie. I would call it Kakotopia.


Which of the five traditional senses is most valuable to you, and how is it engaged in your pieces?

Sight. I’m a contemplative-melancholic, an observer, looking at things is my favorite hobby. It’s a question I always ask my friends, but in the opposite way—”Which sense would you give up?” I would give up hearing because the world is way too noisy and the amount of verbalized poppycock we hear is beyond belief.

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