"People say that my work derives from a logic of pleasure, and I admit that I enjoy racking my brains for flashes of wit. To be frank, I aim at a precise point in a zone that's oddly innervated, equidistant between brain and heart. The practice is all the more exhilarating for being risky. It takes rigour, and a relaxed attitude.
Relaxation's important. It's what makes people want to believe you, even if you're telling a tall story, and the trickery's plain to see. In any case, what happens behind the scenes is more interesting than what happens on the stage. Asking how things work – that's what children do. Children or scientists. It's pretty much the same thing. And there's nothing wrong with that.
So one day I decided I wanted to be like those who know about quantum theory, Boolean algebra, thermodynamics, transcendental numbers. But the longer I looked at the way the world worked, the more I doubted its reality. Its texture became changeable; it started slipping through my fingers. So I decided to stop learning, and, from then on, to invent the unknown. After all, not knowing means already having a point of view. But I'd got into a habit: I count on gravity to draw pretty curves, pretty parabolas.
In spite of everything, my ignorance remains boundless. Sometimes I fill in a few gaps, but very often I'm happy just to exhibit them. The equipment's minimal: no compass, just a good pick. Apart from that, I trust in my lucky star to come up trumps."
Le Gentil Garçon, A good pick
Translated by John Doherty, 2014