"Well you know, one has this expression that you learn when you’re a child:
‘Christian charity’. That is to say, to be charitable is to be attentive to others
and to pardon their faults…And I would say that this Catholic education is
an important aspect of my character. It is something that I’ve never renounced.
I am immersed in a Catholic culture and in so far as I’m an art critic what
interests me in painting and what I continue to immerse myself in is this
Catholic culture. Immersed, because for we westerners images have been princi-
pally produced by the Catholic Church."
So you’d locate the geneaology of your sexual practice; its ethical underpinning
in aspects of Catholicism?
"There is an author who is very important for me – George Bernanos, who is a
Catholic writer. In one of his novels there is a character that Bernanos is said
to have based on the character of St Thérèse de Lisieux, a young saint of the
nineteenth century in France, and what interested him in trying to invent a
character based on this figure of the saint was the question of what a modern
saint would be. That is to say, a saint for our times. And this is a book which
has interested me greatly. I have been fascinated by this character ultimately in
a way that goes beyond Bernanos’s character. Who are the people in our modern
epoch, caught up in the problems of our epoch, who are looking for this saintli-
ness but who are unable to find it of course (except for this character), and who
fail in their search for saintliness…I want to repeat what I have said earlier;
that sexuality is an empty pocket; I don’t think that there is a finality to the
sexual act (a goal) I think it is pure spending. And from the moment you don’t
search to give a sense to your sexual life you are open to everything and often,
your direction will come from others."