Some months ago I wrote a couple of lines about how I met a “pagan goddess in exile" in Paris. At the time I didn’t know that such creatures could be found in real life, and meeting artist-filmmaker Katherine Bauer radically changed my opinion on the topic. Even if I think I may have been able to grasp some of her work (I had also written a piece on a performance she staged in Paris, that is going to be published on the new La furia umana issue), Katherine still remains a fascinating mystery.
One more thing that I didn’t now and that is worth saying now is that today is the birthday of this goddess. I do not know if, like Venus, she got out of a seashell on the day of her birth, but something of the sort might have happened. Anyway, in order the celebrate the day in which this divine creature entered our world of mortals, I decided to show this drawing that I made of her some months ago.
Katherine is portrayed with a gorgeous cat named Renaldo, and the cat happens to be her symbolic animal. Therefore, in homage to both the feline and her I would like to quote entirely the classic poem by Baudelaire, Le Chat, that was featured in the first edition of Les Fleurs du mal (1857), and which happens to include, in my opinion, a pretty accurate description of her glance. Just some lines by a parisian poet, for Paris misses her divine presence so much.
Viens, mon beau chat, sur mon coeur amoureux;
Retiens les griffes de ta patte,
Et laisse-moi plonger dans tes beaux yeux,
Mêlés de métal et d’agate.
Lorsque mes doigts caressent à loisir
Ta tête et ton dos élastique,
Et que ma main s’enivre du plaisir
De palper ton corps électrique,
Je vois ma femme en esprit. Son regard,
Comme le tien, aimable bête
Profond et froid, coupe et fend comme un dard,
Et, des pieds jusques à la tête,
Un air subtil, un dangereux parfum
Nagent autour de son corps brun.*
*For non-French readers: three different translations (by William Aggeler, Roy Campbell, and Geoffrey Wagner) are available here.