CLEM PELTIER
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Lucrezia Borgia, 140x60 cm, Oil on canvas (Detail)
Photo: Miel Mosterd
Exhibition 'The Borgias'  (2012)

"Magnificent Lord Silvio, we salute you.

We have learned, through letters from our friends, that you have been proscribed by the perfidy of the pope, that all your possessions have been looted, that you have left Rome and that you have escaped the fury and the rage of these bandits. We grieve for your misfortune, as we should, but among so many evils we rejoice to know that you have arrived safely in Germany, and that you have been well received by the emperor.

We learn that you employ your relationships and your friends at Caesar's court to recover your possessions. We were surprised to see that your caution has arrived at this point of credulity, or, to speak more frankly, irresponsibility, to hope that this man, the enemy of mankind, whose life is just a sequence of rape and plunder, and who cares only for deceit, would want or do something righteous, without being compelled to it by fear and strength. You are mistaken, dear Silvio, and great is your mistake if you think you can ever come to an agreement with this monster. Because, after having been betrayed and proscribed by him and having your belongings looted, for no reason but his greed and perfidy, this eternal war will last, as your hatred, until death. It is therefore necessary to resort to other means, reveal that public wound of Roman plague to proper doctors, and expose to the emperor and other princes of the Roman Empire, all the evil and chaos that this infamous beast has caused, gravely endangering the Christian republic; you must tell the detestable crimes that are committed in defiance of God and are ruining religion, crimes so great and so atrocious that they defy all description, even from the most eloquent. Here is what you should recount the assemblies of princes, what you should publish heavily and tell everyone everywhere.

We have been complaining that Muhammad, that old enemy of the Christian religion, has attracted a multitude of peoples and had them abandon the faith, while this new Muhammad has far exceeded him in iniquity and set ablaze what remained of faith and religion with a formidable fire of mortal diseases; so it seems that the time of the Antichrist, so often foretold by the prophets, has arrived, because never a creature more openly hostile to God, a more bitter opponent of faith, a more cruel destroyer of religion will be born or imagined.

The benefits and ecclesiastical dignities that, according to the ancient decrees of the Holy Fathers, were to be given wittingly to the most illustrious men, able to work for the salvation of souls, are publicly sold and granted to those who offer the highest price. People go to the Vatican, gold in hand, to buy the mysteries of faith; it is the seat of the minister of iniquity, the cardinal of Modena, who sells these benefits to satisfy the greed of the pope. Responible for the receipts, like Cerberus guarding the entrance of hell, he barks at everyone, shamelessly calculating what each one can bring in; only the rich and the powerful are allowed; as for the poor, they are driven out by insulting words, because the pope auctions everything: dignities, honors, exemptions and cassations of marriage, divorces, repudiations and a thousand other things that our ancestors have never seen and that are not accepted by Christianity; so much so, that a new sect and new dogmas have been introduced among the people, bringing great scandal to Christ's church. There is no crime nor infamy that isn't openly commited in Rome and in the Vatican: the banditry of the Scythians, the perfidy of the Carthaginians, the cruelty and barbarism of the Neros and Caiuses is surpassed.

We wouldn't know where to stop, if we wanted to list all cases of murder, pillage, rape and incest. The most noble prince of Aragon, the pope's son-in-law, pierced with wounds, died twice, so to speak; the papal chamberlain, Perotto, was murdered in his master's arms, his blood stained the Vatican's - once so respected - asylum, and made the terrified courtiers flee. It would be long to mention everyone else that was thrown into the Tiber wounded, dead or alive, or died poisoned; their number is so large and is growing to such an extent every day, that there is no one in Rome, as distinguished by his merit or his job as he may be, not even commoners, who doesn't fear for himself and his family. Who would dare tell the horrible excesses of debauchery that are committed openly in this house, in defiance of God and men? Among his sons and daughters acts of adultery, incest and infamy are commonplace, in the palace of Saint-Peter herds of courtesans and crowds of pimps come and go, it is defiled by excess that is not even seen in dives and brothels."

Extract from an anonymous letter addressed to Silvio Savelli - who had been deprived of his property and outlawed by the pope - sent to Alexander VI.

Le mal français (At the time of the expedition of Charles VIII in Italy), H A R Hesnaut based on the Otiigi-Slaux documents, C. Marpon et E. Flammarion Paris, 1886
The Supreme Being, 90x115,5 cm, Oil on canvas (Detail)
Photo: Miel Mosterd


Exhibition 'Antichrist and Supreme Being'  (2010)

"The eternally happy day which the French people consecrates to the Supreme Being has finally arrived. Never has the world he created offered him a sight so worthy of his eyes. He has seen tyranny, crime, and deception reign on earth. At this moment, he sees an entire nation, at war with all the oppressors of the human race, suspend its heroic efforts in order to raise its thoughts and vows to the Great Being who gave it the mission to undertake these efforts and the strength to execute them.

Did not his immortal hand, by engraving in the hearts of men the code of justice and equality, write there the death sentence of tyrants? Did not his voice, at the very beginning of time, decree the republic, making liberty, good faith, and justice the order of the day for all centuries and for all peoples?

He did not create kings to devour the human species. Neither did he create priests to harness us like brute beasts to the carriages of kings, and to give the world the example of baseness, pride, perfidy, avarice, debauchery, and falsehood to the world. But he created the universe to celebrate his power; he created men to help and to love one another, and to attain happiness through the path of virtue.

The Author of Nature linked all mortals together in an immense chain of love and happiness. Perish the tyrants who have dared to break it!

Frenchmen, Republicans, it is up to you to cleanse the earth they have sullied and to restore the justice they have banished from it. Liberty and virtue issued together from the breast of the Supreme Being. One cannot reside among men without the other.

Generous people, do you want to triumph over all your enemies? Practice justice and render to the Supreme Being the only form of worship worthy of him. People, let us surrender ourselves today, under his auspices, to the just ecstasy of pure joy. Tomorrow we shall again combat vices and tyrants; we shall give the world an example of republican virtues: and that shall honor the Supreme Being more."

Robespierre

Keynote speech at the 'Festival of the Supreme Being' on June 8th 1794
The Antichrist, 80x60 cm, Mixed media on paper
Exhibition 'The Antichrist'  (2010)

The bible warns us about the Antichrists: "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15) and "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. Is it not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve." (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

It speaks of people that we entrust to ward the general good, but instead unashamedly use their position to enrich themselves. When we look around, we see Antichrists at work everywhere. Public funds are allocated to uninteresting projects. Jungle capitalism demolishes our architectural heritage unhindered. Unscrupulous companies make billions by restructuring and relocating perfectly profitable companies, laying off thousands of people, pushing them into economic insecurity and poverty.
Mysticism and Anarchy, Diptych 2 x 70x90 cm, Oil on canvas
Photo: Philippe Vernaeve
Publication of the book 'Mysticism and Anarchy'  (2008)

For every collection Clem Peltier goes through a entire process of collecting inspiration, thinking, writing and painting. The plan of this book is to give an interested audience an insiderís view into this process, by presenting his works of art together with texts that inspired him and personal thoughts. In this way, Clem Peltier wants to reach an audience that is as large as possible. It is his core belief that art cannot be elitarian, but that its intuitive nature makes it an excellent means of giving people the desire to futher develop and grow.

The subjects of mysticism and anarchy are very dear to Clem Peltier. When asked about what links them together and what their relevance is today, he answers the following: 'Mysticism as well as anarchy are instruments that elevate us above the illusion, above the deceit. They enable us to further develop ourselves and become whole people. To this end, neither one, hesitates to disprove theories and dogmas. Furthermore, they share a message of freedom, sympathy and tolerance.' He adds that he sees the role of his works of art as a starting point for people to engage in critical thinking and question established ideas and values. In his opinion the strength of art is that it creates an environment in which people dare see things differently. This is an essential first step in every improvement process.
 
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