WTC > paintings

In 2001, death and destruction fell from the sky upon Manhattan's World Trade Center, leaving behind thousands lives slaughtered, a gigantic scar in the City, human beings forever broken by the loss of their loved ones, and a universal trauma.

By summer 2002, six proposals gathered and presented by LMDC (Lower Manhattan Development Council), for a rebuilding of the WTC Site were unveiled ; none of them proposed a reconstruction of the Twin Towers.
They were therefore rejected by a vast majority in the community of the New Yorkers. Yet the Lower Manhattan Development Council Program's anthem was the Rebuilding of the World Trade Center. One could thus expect to see at least some projects showing the Twin Towers back.

On July 2002, the LMDC launched then a new consultation, the result of which was due to be unveiled by late 2002. At that time, I was already sure that this second attempt would not meet any better success if it dismissed some very simple parameters, that were:

1- Remembrance and homage to the thousands lives destroyed and to the thousands people mourning and grieving.
2- Restoration of the worldwide famous Manhattan's Skyline.

Of course, the problem with that equation was that the attempt to solve one of its terms seemed to automatically inflict injury to the other. Making one side happy seemed to result in dooming the other to frustration.
Whenever the Twins' identical rebuilding would become an option, then difficulties began, because one came right up into the equation's first term : remembrance and homage to thousands Lives destroyed and to thousands of people mourning and grieving.
Because one had to admit that rebuilding the Twins just as they were meant in a certain way restoring the Skyline as if nothing ever happened.

At that point it became obvious to me that if the Manhattan’s Skyline demanded a rebuilding of the Twins, it was mandatory that the new buildings could testify for the future and give evidence about what had happened on September 11th, 2001.

And this idea which had germinated very soon right after the attacks, and which had dozed off in a corner of my memory, suddenly awoke. Its terms fully and faithfully restored the famous urban skyline destroyed by the attacks. At the same time it visibly testified to the tragedy of September 11. Until then I had only had a concept in mind. Now I had the opportunity to visualize it. My medium of expression being painting, I therefore began the execution of three paintings.

The first one was to express the concept, the whys and therefores of the thinking process. This one I called the "Manifesto" painting. The two others were to show the reality of the concept, what it would look like by day, and at night. Starting early September, I spent almost three months working upon those paintings.

I had decided to attempt to hand over the paintings I made to one of the firefighters who survived the Tower's collapse : James Hanlon.
Why James Hanlon?
It turns out that in 2001, the French channel France 3 had broadcast New York : 11 Septembre, an indispensable and poignant documentary film by Jules and Gédéon Naudet, Rob Klug and James Hanlon, which told of the front line immersion of the firemen of Engine 7-Ladder 1, a Fire Unit based at 100 Duane Street, in the immediate vicinity of the Twin Towers' site.
After the September 11 events, James Hanlon had continued to work in this Fire Station (he was at the time also a professional actor, in Television series and in Theatrical, and later pursued this career in Los Angeles by leaving for good his fire man's job, and by becoming a full time director for TV series).










© Jacques Benoit. Design, œuvres, photographies et textes par Jacques Benoit et placés sous son copyright. Les contenus provenant d'autres sources sont crédités comme tel, ainsi que leur origine.
© Jacques Benoit. Design, works, photographies and texts by Jacques Benoit and under the author’s copyright. Except when derived from other sources and then mentioned as such.