Frederick Franck, artist and self-made philosopher, has always wanted to create his own Book of Hours consisting of favorite sayings, texts and aphorisms from sages and spiritual teachers who have challenged him and stretched his soul. One day, a letter arrived from an old friend that was put together in the last hour of her life. She summed up what was important to her and inspired Franck to put into motion his own breviary. The artist sat down in his studio and found that this work which had germinated within him for so many years now seemed to unspool effortlessly over the course of two days.
The aphorisms of Zen Masters, Saint John, Basho, Angelus Silesius. Ikkyu, Dogen, Theresa of Avila, Ryokan, Issa, Jacob Boehme, Meister Eckhart and many others were pulled up from his memory and onto the page without his even having to look them up in books. The images, playful and often profound, were inspired by the sayings — or perhaps, Franck admits, it was the other way around.
The result is 144 twins of text and brush drawing. Wriggly lines turn into two figures, one standing, one walking: "If you walk, walk! If you sit, sit! Just don't wobble whatever you do! (Ummon) A smiling face with a beard accompanies the Hasidic saying "God is no uncle. God is an earthquake!" The outline of an eye with stars and the moon in the pupil illustrates Seppo's "All this universe is in this eye of mine." A few strokes make a face to go with "What are you?" "I am no what!" Two strokes make a cross, with little hands at each end of the horizontal line: "Christ has no body on earth, no hands, no feet but yours" (Theresa of Avilla). These are spiritual and artistic treasures to savor.