Jewish Artist: Annie Cohen and the Torah

Annie Cohen, “Puisque voici l’aurore”; Editions “des femmes, Antoinette Fouque”, Paris, 2020, 125 p., 14 E.

After her stroke in 1999, Annie Cohen thinks she has reached the bottom. The cycle of her first poetic works – the five volumes of which appeared by the same publisher as this Diary – seem to be part of a past that is closing in on her.

Gradually, however, her life resumes its course in conjunction with writing and a plastic activity – in particular those of the “scrolls of writing” (from her Judean background) which she takes up again in her hand as a writer and artist.

The Love is for many in this revival. It will allow the author to write her own Torah to cherish again and again the impossible according to a formula dear to Edmond Jabès: “The writer chooses to write while the Jew chooses to survive”.

Today, creation is no longer a question of opposing the understandable to the sensible, but of bringing them together. And for Annie Cohen, unlike Jacques Lanzmann, knowledge does not only come through the first expression. The problem is to go “from system to excess” (Bataille), from Hegel to Rimbaud, from Heidegger to Joë Bousquet.

Therefore, the artist and author in spite of her torments and misfortunes can not only “hold on” but advance, because creating does not simply mean complaining and lamenting in front of an invading power. Feeling hopeless and confused has nothing to do with it. Neither do ethics. The soul is the light in situations that must be faced intimately and with the necessary imagination so as not to cut off the first of its activation.

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