Jeannot's floor at Halle Saint Pierre

Religion has invented machines for commanding the brain of people and animals and with an invention for seeing our vision through the retina uses us to do ill (...) the church after using Hitler to kill the Jews wanted to invent a trial to take power (...) we Jean Paule are innocent we have neither killed nor destroyed nor hurt others it's religion that uses electronic machines to command the brain.
These are some of the words a French schizophrenic etched into the floor of his home in a Pyreneean village; now, it's on display at Paris' naif-art center Halle Saint Pierre, where it's creating a ruckus, but not so much for the incomprehensible verbal tirade but the artist's story:
The journey to artistic fame of the 24ft by 9ft oak floor is as strange as its message. Jeannot, whose surname and Pyreneean village have been kept secret, was born in 1939 and lived with his parents and his two older sisters, Simone and Paule. After their father's suicide, Simone married and left home but Jeannot and Paule stayed there with their mother. In 1966, Jeannot opened fire on his neighbours' dining room, after voices had told him to kill them.

When a doctor committed Jeannot to a mental institution in 1967, a team of 30 gendarmes could not get him out of the house. In December 1971, a local vet found his mother dead in her armchair. Jeannot insisted she should be buried under the kitchen stairs, with a ball of wool, knitting needles and a bottle of wine.

Jeannot moved his bed to the dining room, next to the stairs, and began carving the oak floor... Seven months after his mother was buried under the stairs, Jeannot starved to death. Paule lived until 1993 when a neighbour found her body in the pigsty. The bric-a-brac merchants who came to the house at the request of Simone's family found the carved floor...
Full story from The Observer.

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