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PRINT April 1992

THREE FRAGMENTS OUT OF THE STORY OF MADAM: A PROJECT FOR ARTFORUM

Her femininity was only a mask.

—Jean Genet

You might not notice “Madame,” a solitary woman, neutral, alone on a pilgrimage to find herself. Madame does not stay at home, for privately she does not exist. So she goes out, mingles with the crowd at the National Garden Festival in Gateshead, hoping for a glimpse of royalty, or travels to Cologne for Kameval, that time to be other than oneself, and to Lourdes, the residence of miracles.

Madame is nondescript but can be described, is undistinguished yet can be distinguished from those around her: Madame with her blond curled coif, her glasses, her large black handbag. Madame in her pale raincoat, of sensible length, and her sensible shoes. Madame, her arms crossed over her chest, protecting her loneliness. Madame is a tentative being, almost too timid to assume a persona, or a shape. She can and does relate to others, but her proper province

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