Didier Semin

The “little girl and death” theme is recurrent in both painting and music (Schubert or Rhin for example) however the violent nature of the theme is often dissolved through the barrier of language. 
We hear it as the chorus of an omen about the flirtatious nature of women (“If you think, little girl, little girl, that it will last forever…”). Translated into German the words seem harsher; little girl becomes girl and death is referred to directly in its masculine form – on this occasion the childish nature of the girl has vanished.

Through her drawings, Valérie Sonnier presents us with the theme's initial violence and brutality. The little girl is an unflirtatious wooden doll and we can be in no doubt that the skeletal puppet pouncing upon her is male. The game in which the two pupets partake seems all the more painful and cruel.

Freud often referred to puppets with lifelike behaviour as one of the most likely sources to stimulate a sense of the “uncanny” within our imagination. To this obscurity Valérie Sonnier adds that of stricken innocence; the chill that runs through us as we look at her drawings goes back as far as our own memories. We blush at the thought of Eros intervening in this ghoulish game but are unable to shake off the knowledge that desire will always be in the shadow of violence and despair. 

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