Little wooden lorry, turn thyself… (extracts)

Does Valérie Sonnier draw so that she might “see the soul” of her little object on wheels?
This is, according to Baudelaire, what drives a child to continually turn their toy around, to shake it, hit it against the walls, throw it on the ground –hardships experienced by all toys, of which this little lorry is surely a veteran as it doesn’t seem to be intact.
The adventure of a lorry –absurd? (to use a weak word from Disney’s Silly Symphonies story, dating from the 30s)– sexually conquering a doll, then the whole world, and eventually coming across death, brings to mind the undeniable feeling described by Freud of “when things, images, lifeless dolls come to life”.
(…)

There is little need to insist upon the perverse ambiguity of toys, particularly dolls, used and abused in cinema, with genius, to evoke memories. Alfred Hitchcock, for example, used a blood-stained doll in Stage Fright (1949) to confuse the character played by Marlene Dietrich…
The essential beauty of this Book of miniscule Dead stems from a clear manifestation of reminiscence. Freud again, in the famous text already mentioned, when commenting upon the Sandman, taken from Hoffmann’s Mysterious tales, focuses on the crazed nature of the hero Nathaniel who exclaims : “Little wooden doll, turn thyself!” Little wooden lorry it is your turn to turn thyself! The toy goes around the world between birth and death and, in doing so, brings to light the destiny of certain objects found along the way that carry secrets concerning us all.
Undoubtedly, this lorry knows a huge amount about what it is depicting.

Dominique Païni

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