Denis Defrancesco

Le Martinet (The Whip)

Sculpture: Leather, Steel on Marble.

The "Martinet" Whip

… My Mother’s black look, red streaks on my thighs… The scathing memory of my mischiefs in shorts, a sheaf of lashes to whip out my disobedience… Mummy wasn’t mean ; she was inflexible.

… The whip cut short, to start resisting… The little red whip, bare and inoffensive: The powerlessness of the Mother, the revenge of the Son… Man grabbing the handle to take back the Power, like the Male recovering his Virility confiscated by the Female. Might Woman be Man’s dread? The anxiety of castration, this primitive terror… Man dominating Woman to overcome this haunting fear?

… Cold sweats and carnal tremors… The Martinet to wander into forbidden ways… Blushing, suffering, moaning with pleasure… 12 lashes for odd rhymes, like 12 syllables for a libertine Alexandrine… The delicious bite of words, the cruel caress of hide against skin… A range of strange kicks and burning pleasures…

… The Martinet, brandished like a rod… “I saw him, I blushed, I grew pale at the sight; Trouble rose in my lost soul (…) I felt all my body freeze and burn”… Phaedra, led astray before the Spank, Racine disguised as the Marquis de Sade… Wordplay, naughty play, whip play, wordsmiths at play…

… The M of the Martinet dominating the A of Amour… Singular, nasty, crazy, costumed Love… A mask, a bond… The Martinet changing hands. Roles reversed, powers overthrown… The dream of equality between the sexes… The affirmation of Me Too, the Revolution of Not You Either… No doubt the end of a reign and perhaps also the start of a new misunderstanding.


50cm, 18cm, 260cm (Höhe, Breite, Tiefe)
Marmor, Stein
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