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The suicide of Walter Benjamin had haunted me for a long time. In my younger years I had been very interested in his work, and even before that I had known Portbou well – passing through it almost every year. Overshadowed by the dark Pyrenees, it is a dismal place, where everything seems dusty and grey, even the sea. It has a vast, echoing Art Deco railway station and very little else, apart from a large and forbidding police headquarters situated just round the corner from The Hotel de Francia. His brief stay in the hotel was initially spent in desperate attempts to get permission, one way or the other, to continue his journey across Spain to Lisbon and then to the USA. At a certain point he would have realized that his efforts were futile: he would either be turned over to the French border police the following morning, or he could commit suicide.


About the Author

Pratt Contemporary
prattstudio1 Sevenoaks, England
Pratt Contemporary Art (founded 1977) is a fine art printing and publishing studio. It has evolved through a multitude of different activities which include sculpture, painting and drawing. Since its inception the core activity has been printmaking and the development of new methods and materials, such as the digital process and the polymer intaglio plate process. These processes have now been fully integrated into the studio as a medium with which to originate work and for use in combination with other techniques - and more recently for the making of fine Artist’s Books.

Comments (1)


stampa21 says

Hi Marcus,

Hope you're well. As regards John Bellany passing away recently, it was very sad, but I enjoyed seeing his retrospective exhibition earlier this year. Apparently, he'd passed away in his studio, with a paintbrush in his hand.
Also, I like the work of the Scottish printmaker, Ian McCulloch, and have a book my friends Lucy and Gordon gave me as a Christmas present, in about 2002.
Anyway, that's it Marcus. Am doing a feltmaking, and musical instrument appreciation class, hatha yoga, and learning the guitar,in the community education programme.

All the best,


posted at 08:46am Oct 09 PST


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