Le regard dans "L'art du maquillage" de Sergio Kokis

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Hayter, Emily
Quebec Literature , Sergio Kokis , Le regard , Le masque
"L’art du maquillage" (1997), a novel by Sergio Kokis, a Quebec author originally from Brazil, not only illustrates the theme of exile but also the universal theme of self discovery, making it a true bildungsroman. This thesis undertakes an analysis of the role of the regard — a concept difficult to translate that includes the idea of the gaze, the look, the eye, as well as one’s perception or point of view — in order to examine its impact on the protagonist Max’s search for identity. This is accomplished in conjunction with a study of the role of the paratext of the novel and various other themes such as counterfeiting, the role of the female figure as “other” and the question of “reality” and “truth”. By way of his encounters with Marilyn de Rosemont, Caroline, Brenda, Annette and Vera, as well as the influence of the artists imitated (notably Marc-Aurèle Fortin, René Richard, Egon Schiele and Otto Dix), Max describes his evolution as an artist and as a counterfeiter. By exploring the role played by the regard in the act of creation (lending particular attention towards the end to "Les langages de la création", an essay by Kokis himself) and in the search for self, we discover the transformative power it engenders and the fact that it is a plurality of regards that orient us in the world, in our interactions with others and in our self conceptions. This plurality of the regard is well illustrated by the combination of the written word and visual art chosen as the form of expression in this novel, resulting in a captivating example of the implications of the power of representation. The narrator’s story and the accompanying illustrations, as well as the works of art described therein, allow the reader to grasp a new understanding of the importance an individual’s point of view exerts on “reality”, and the complexity of the role the regard plays in every aspect of creation.
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