Last journey

Hélène Delprat – Chambre funéraire dans la demeure de la Bort-à-Tchino

Hélène Delprat, Chambre funéraire dans la demeure de la Bort-à-Tchino, 1983, vinyl, pigment, paper, canvas, 219 x 154 cm, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, photo: Carl Brunn

In a dark chamber, on a jade-colored papyrus boat, a figure is laid out, a hybrid creature with a human body and an animal’s head. Two wolf-headed figures, equipped with arrows and arches, are placed at the entrance. In the mysterious scenery, the white of their dangerously bared, pointed teeth flashes. Brightly also shine hands and an arrow, which aims in a high curve and apparently by itself, at the reclining figure, already pierced in the middle by a first arrow. 

The glimpse into the gloomy and magical realm of shadows from a mythological past shows a surprising life of its own instead of ceremonial severity. Hélène Delprat depicts the guards of the underworld as devious, violent, and tongue-in-cheek with a bloodthirsty desire to spear innocent victims. Where does the journey of the picture lead? To the eternal afterlife or perhaps into Disney’s fairy tale world with the “big bad wolf”?