Janmari-Descriptif-In English

32 €


200 pages
194 pages de fac-similé
Format : 28×21,5 cm
ISBN : 978-2-9541059-2-5
Date de parution : 11 avril 2013

Texte de présentation bilingue


Janmari’s Journal
November, 2001 – May, 2002 

Download pages from the book.

Janmari was an autistic, mute child who was entrusted in 1967 to Fernand Deligny at the age of twelve. He died in June 2002 after living for twenty-five years in the care network that Deligny created at Monoblet, in the Cévennes region. Right from the beginning, Deligny offered sheets of paper and pencils to Janmari, who traced broken lines, then circles, immutably. The tracing sessions became regular. A film directed by Renaud Victor, Ce Gamin, là, shows him in front of an easel, tracing little wavelets and circles on large sheets of paper. 

Gisèle Durand, like Jacques Lin and the other non-professional social workers, lived with the autistic children from the moment the network was created. In November 2001, she proposed that Janmari trace in a sketchbook. Until May 2002, they met in her studio three or four times a week. 


“The sketchbook lay flat on the table and opened to the page. I handed a ballpoint or felt-tip pen to Janmari, and he began a series of small waves or circles. Depending on which side I extended the pen to him, he began on either the left-hand page or the right-hand page. I usually handed it to him above the right-hand page. On reaching the bottom of the page, he turned the page himself and continued on the right-hand page, and so on. (He traced with his right hand. Sometimes he used his left hand, in which case he began in the middle of the page). He quickly became tired at the time, and he sometimes stopped before the end of the first page. 

Whenever I traced a vertical line from top to bottom, Janmari completed the rectangle by tracing the other three sides on his own. Soon I no longer needed to draw the line on the page. I just made the gesture in the air, and he drew all four sides. Then he set the pen down; I handed it back to him again, and he filled the frame with little circles or wavelets. We made the grids together. I began to sketch the left-hand vertical line in the air, Janmari traced the frame and then put down the pen; I performed the gesture of the second vertical line in the air, he traced it and aligned the others. He set the pen down before making circles again, from top to bottom, respecting the separations formed by the vertical lines. 

I tried to vary the shapes. When he began a series of wavelets or circles, I sometimes took a piece of graphite and laid it flat on the paper. Janmari took it and traced a rectangle. He set down the graphite, and this time I handed him the pen while clucking my tongue. He immediately responded by resuming the circles (or wavelets) and filling the rectangle without going outside the frame. As for the graphite circle, I often had to get him started in the air. But not always—Janmari could trace it entirely by himself. 

Clucking my tongue could cause him to switch from one sign to another, which was how one day, when he had begun tracing circles, I made the sound, and he switched to tracing wavelets up to the right-hand edge of the page. Then he resumed the circles, on the left, and I made the sound again and he drew wavelets. After a while, he internalized this rhythm and alternated on his own—sometimes with a certain difficulty—between circles and wavelets, which ended up forming two columns. 

When he had finished a page, I sometimes handed him a colored pencil. He colored the circles, beginning and ending whenever and wherever he wanted. One day, I interrupted him while he was tracing circles; I traced colored bands, and he continued the circles, keeping inside the limits of the bands. It took him around ten or fifteen minutes to fill a page. During that time, I went to draw a bit farther away in the studio. Once he got to the bottom of the page, he continued or else waited for me to come back. He traced sitting down, but the sitting position was painful for him (he was ill at the end of his life), and around April, he started to stand. He traced more slowly, his circles and wavelets becoming less regular, and he lost strength. He died one month after tracing the last page.” 

Gisèle Durand 
December, 2012 

Translation : John Angell

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