Small papers of Gainsbourg’s great songs in Beaubourg

Serge Gainsbourg wrote “Let the small papers speak” in the song popularized by Regine. We are given the opportunity to listen to what they have to say. Dozens of manuscripts, typescripts, newspaper articles and other interesting items – such as these book pages torn to preserve the author’s dedications – are brought together in the Public Information Library (Bpi) of the Center Pompidou in Paris. They organize the exhibition Serge Gainsbourg, exact word, who approaches the artist’s creativity from a literary point of view. Free and open until May 8, it allows you to reconstruct the sources of inspiration and the writing process of the man who created around 550 songs between 1954 and 1990.

“It is very impressive to see his attitude to paper, ink, and books,” he admits 20 minutes Anatole Maggiar is the co-curator of the exhibition. At the beginning of the trip, several books from the artist’s library await those who are interested. “There are those who celebrate their childhood, for example Tales Andersen and a whole section of classical literature, e.g Adolf Benjamin Constant, who meant so much to him, or Back of Huysmans,” our guide continues. Along with Rimbaud or his collection of poems chess player There are more surprising works such as by Zweig he said By Francis Picabia. Thus, we learn that he was fond of Dadaism and Surrealism.

Graceful cadences and caesuras

We also discover (re)reading lolita The work of Vladimir Nabokov was a “real shock” for the artist. He wanted to adapt the poem from the novel to a song. Anatole Maggiar, co-curator of the exhibition, explains: “However, the rights were closed with the production of Stanley Kubrick’s film. So he had to play with paraphrases and this came out Jane B. »

The part of the course dedicated to the “Gainsbourg method” is the most interesting. “It’s a phoneme with it [la sonorité] the most important. He associates words, which gives him a theme and which leads to a poem, says Anatole Maggiar. There is an idea of ​​collage, a delicate corpse, taken from the surrealist movement that is dear to him. He looks for the catchy word, the complex rhyme, the way he revels in caesuras How to say goodbye to you. The lyrics of this song appear on one of the walls, which to clarify this process consists of rejecting the end of the word at the beginning of the following line: “With no excuse…/…te, I don’t want/reflex …/ …you’re miserable…” An unstoppable poetic to provide rhymes in the “past” license.

“For Gainsburg, nothing is lost, everything is restored”

A4 sheets, some covered in ink, others three-quarters blank, bear witness to the search for rhyme between two erasures. for Happy childrenfor example, the artist thought about “irrational”, “dance”, “intense”, “preliminary” and “my memories”, which he did not keep in the final text.

These two manuscripts, one related to “Ford Mustang” (left) and the other to “L’anamour” (right), reflect Serge Gainsbourg’s creative process. – Gainsbourg House

It’s also fun to look at the list of titles Serge Gainsbourg envisioned for Alain Chamfort and Catherine Deneuve’s respective studio albums in 1981. First, finally the title love year zeroIt could have been called “Sleep, Chance to Dream”, “Straw Girl”, “Malaise in Malaysia” or “Don’t Forget to Forget”… became the title of the second album.

For the actress, Gainsbourg also thought about Chamfort’s “Beautiful underwear, novelties”, “Chiara’s stuffed animals”, “Jolie Laide”, “Alice alas” or “Jet Society”. “For Gainsbourg, nothing is lost, everything is restored. The material thrown on the ground is never swept away,” explains Anatole Maggiar.

Sometimes it is the collective culture that recycles. The exhibition ends with a reminder of Gainsbourg’s creations, which have become commonplace, such as “No Comment” or “Je t’aime… moi non plus”, which inspired several headlines of newspaper articles. Many front pages, such as Serge Gainsbourg, did not hesitate to add to his collection of “petits papiers”.

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