Ars Dogmatica

Pierre Legendre

A work presupposes a worker, even if he is distanced from the initial material of his labour by the interposition of electronic relays or the steely gestures of a robot bereft of any conscience. If work is no longer there to give meaning to existence, humanity is demeaned.

To work in any art whatsoever is thus, in principle, an autobiographical enterprise. The painters of self-portraits put this in perspective, and this truth is of significance for each and every one of us.

Vestibulum Artis

In a world that could do without him, the human animal meets the strange familiar figures, his parents. The ancients, as learned pedagogues, evoked a necessary vestibule to the art of education. “Vestibulum artis’, is to teach children grammar, the order of letters that compose the society of words so that speech may live.


Here, the vestibule is represented by the photograph of a child at the age he is taught the art of posing as image. Effigy of the self, the portrait seems to freeze the enigma of being inscribed in a family genealogy. The enforced map card, the enigma of destiny, is standing before your eyes.


This small boy has now become as an ancestor to me. Having trodden so many intertwined paths, this child-with-dog is no more than a disappeared image of self.  As an old man, I see him ignorant of the reasons for his bonding with the dog he was stroking, this dog-companion of a dead sister. This sibylline emblem, interlacing life and death, would be for me anecdote, were it not in truth the marker of a house arrest in an altogether subjective and social transmission.


This is the inaugural of what we call a body of work.

Translated by Peter Goodrich, with the collaboration of Cécile Korn



Solennel, l’oiseau magique préside à nos écrits.
Le paon étale ses plumes qui font miroir à son ombre.
Mais c’est de l’homme qu’il s’agit :
il porte son image, et il ne le sait pas.

« Sous le mot Analecta,
j’offre des miettes qu’il m’est fort utile
de rassembler afin de préciser
sur quelques points ma réflexion. »
Pierre Legendre

« Chacun des textes du présent tableau et ses illustrations
a été édité dans le livre, Le visage de la main »

Ars Dogmatica