« Ô vous, frères humains » Luz draws Albert Cohen
Ô vous, frères humains
“A Jewish child encounters hate on his tenth birthday. I was that child.”
Albert Cohen, 1972
“[…] in 2015, I felt the need to reread O Humans, My Brothers, and I was even more powerfully struck by the terrible psychological ordeal of this young boy wandering on the verge of madness, by the message of Albert Cohen’s last testament...”
Luz, 5 February 2016
The musée d’art et d’histoire du Judaïsme is showing Luz’s original drawings for his graphic novel O Humans, My Brothers, his adaptation of the eponymous book by Albert Cohen. Four years after the internationally acclaimed Belle du seigneur, Albert Cohen, then aged seventy-seven, published O Humans, My Brothers (Gallimard, 1972). The book’s focal point is one of the most traumatic events of the author’s life: in 1905, on his tenth birthday, he was publicly subjected to anti-Semitic insults by a street vendor in Marseille. Pain, shame, anger and despair permanently undermined his sense of security and belief in the brotherhood of men. His description of this experience is an appeal for a reawakening of a shared, united, brotherly humanity.
A few months after his friends and colleagues at Charlie Hebdo magazine were murdered by the terrorist attack on 7 January 2015, Luz published Catharsis (Futuropolis, 2015). In this “health record in images,” he describes the state of shock in which the attack left him. Forever haunted by the theme of the loss of innocence, Luz turned to Albert Cohen’s autobiographical narrative.
He turned this text, which had made a profound impression on him as an adolescent, into a poignant and singular graphic novel, also published by Futuropolis in April 2016.
This exhibition of Luz’s 130 drawings for O Humans, My Brothers sheds fascinating new light on one of Albert Cohen’s most powerful and moving texts. In counterpoint to this humanist manifesto, the mahJ is presenting documents from Albert Cohen’s archives, recently acquired by the museum.