on the Moon, had decreed that she had no need of God, and therefore questioned his death with the famous cover of New York Time magazine in its edition of April 8th, 1966 (Is God dead?).
Noting a few years later that the corpse still quivered, Time had again proposed an answer in the form of questioning in its edition of December 26, 1969 (Is God coming back to life?).
The tumultuous 70s brought the response. These years of great upheaval of values and traditions, achieving the disintegration of optimistic Modernity, simultaneously signed the return of religious forces (the advent of the Iran totalitarian theocracy being one of the key symbols of that return). The 70s would as well hatch the career of Patti Smith with the release of Horses in 1975. If it is commonly admitted that Patti Smith was a precursor of Punk Rock - rightly so – maybe it should also be considered that the New York-based poet also invented Bible Rock.
The last piece of the puzzle coming together, it was time for the little boy Peter Reich to run to his father under the stars in the blue fields at night. It seemed right, in my mirrored construction of correspondences between Birdland and The Birds, that the boy Peter Reich passed the baton in my paintings to another orphan, The Birds’ Mitch Brenner. His run through the fields along his life path in search of his father leads him to manhood, rising to the heavens to find the Tutelary Figure, back to life, in the film that became Birdland through these paintings.
I am helium raven and this movie is mine (Birdland).
With this line in Birdland, Patti Smith is referring, apparently, to certain sections in A Book of Dreams (the movie mentioned by Reich in the book, in this case, is a cartoon, but could also refer by extension to the film that the filmmaker Dušan Makavejev created on Wilhelm Reich in 1971).
This verse also has been instrumental in my associative approach between Hitchcock's work and that of Patti Smith.
This movie is mine.
The cinema joins the music, which joins the painting.
In the final sequence (We like Birdland), I have deliberately avoided literally representing the big black spaceship evoked by Patti Smith.
I felt that the aesthetics traditionally paid to flying saucers of the Roswell type (my ownership of a plethora of books and films devoted to UFOs reflects my fascination in this topic), did not meet the so special atmosphere that Patti Smith had created with Birdland.
I wanted to avoid the pitfall of a representation of little gray men (the "Grays" in UFO mythology) and flying metal fried eggs, even be they black and gigantic. I then remembered the unique representation of the aliens that Stanley Kubrick had proposed in his 2001 A Space Odyssey masterpiece.
Kubrick had opted for a symbolic embodiment of the aliens with seven mysterious tetrahedral crystals (seven, a religious number par excellence and a number symbolizing perfection, Number of the Divine in Tradition), accompanying astronaut David Bowman’s hovering above the spatial solarized plains imagined by (the other) greatest filmmaker of all time - to my eyes, anyway.
The Patti Smith’s pupae-birds had therefore found their final clothing under the shape of crystal celestial butterflies.
However, I respected the description Peter Reich gives of his father when, in his dream, he finally finds him aboard the gigantic EA evoked by Patti Smith:
He was wearing a new uniform made of silky blue, with the spinning wave symbol across his chest. On his shoulders were general’s stars, only these were real stars, five on each side, glowing and sparkling.
("A Book of Dreams" - Peter Reich)
We like Birdland.
Patti Smith, Alfred Hitchcock, Peter and Wilhelm Reich, Mitch, Lydia and Cathy Brenner, Melanie Daniels and Annie Hayworth testify that they do, before the final curtain drops, up in the stars.
In art and dream may you proceed with abandon.
(Patti Smith, Early Work, 1970-1979)
I followed Patti Smith’s statement. Thanks to her extraordinary Birdland, I did abandon myself to a dream, itself part of a dream, which in its turn was only the reflection of another dream.
For All that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream.
In respectful tribute to Patti Smith.
And to Alfred Hitchcock,
Peter and Wilhelm Reich.
And with special respectful and fond thoughts for the unforgettable actors
of The Birds who made me dream for so many decades.
The enigmatic and beautiful Tippi Hedren.
The magnetic and handsome Rod Taylor, who left this world in January 2015.
The wonderful Veronica Cartwright.
The immeasurable actress Jessica Tandy and the beautiful and moving Susan Pleshette, who both parted also to the heavens of Birdland.