Dear Takeshi KITANO,We talk, I talk about culture all the time. I am, by my present condition as minister, led to speak of culture quite frequently, mafoi... And of course, I speak very often to artists, I speak about their works, I thank them on behalf of the French public, I give them a warm thanks…

Well, dear Takeshi KITANO, I wonder if there is not a mistake
somewhere in all this. I wonder if I am not mistaken, if
we are not all a bit fooled by a collective illusion
about culture… It’s your journey that shows me better
probably couldn’t have done it any other way. Yes, I wonder if
I am not mistaken when I say “culture” to evoke all
those artists I love and have the chance to meet. Because I believe
that artists are above all “natures”. They are truly
“forces of nature”, in the creative sense, of course, not
necessarily physical of the term... And this is what, in fact, may be
they engage us, too. They show us the way to
become, or become, after their example, “natures”. That’s right, I
their message, a message of freedom. This is the
promise they make to us, through their work and its evolutions, of
become fully ourselves, completely free, truly free from
“natures”. And we, the public, are obliged to
“to cultivate”, as we say, that is to say to try, basically, to
take on us, like a registry, the example that these
bold and accomplished natures.
This is for me today, dear Takeshi KITANO, the lesson of things,
but above all the life lesson I learn from your work and its
many faces.
This CARTIER Foundation dedicated to contemporary art is by
the place where I think it’s appropriate to tell you, this space
where you have shown us, once again, your formidable
freedom to invent, guided by a kind of instinctive genius.
This exhibition in the shape of an amusement park might seem strange
to a spectator who would be fooled by your successive incarnations and who
would, by some sort of reflex of ease, lock you in. He
would thus occult, behind the many and multiple forms where you
know how to express yourself, the basic movement of creative freedom
exceptional. It makes me think of this “creative evolution” that
described the philosopher Henri BERGSON, who wanted to be attentive to the
continuity of Being, beyond all segmentations and
fragmentations that superimpose a rather sterile ground reason…

So, dear Takeshi KITANO, you are not the man of a single film:
as we are talking about the man of one book. You are not
man of one style, even less of one face. You know to the
sometimes we move, make us tremble, make us laugh and especially make us laugh,
relentlessly, Japanese viewers, under the outside BEAT
TAKESHI». And this exhibition shows more than ever, you
are not the man of one art, nor are they the man of one audience.
You have also beautifully demonstrated that television can
entertain but also educate, change our view of the world and break the
mask of appearances. Besides countless talk comedy shows,
you were, for example, the instigator of the program entitled “Takeshi
no Daredemo Picasso” (“Anyone can be the Picasso of
Takeshi»), followed by no less than fifteen million viewers and
that made the public aware of all forms of artistic practice. The
scientific popularization is also one of your passions with Takeshi
no Komadai Sugakuka”, a program entirely devoted to
math problem solving. You know how to approach
all and to each, showing that television is as much a man’s business
that of structures.
Today we discover your talent as a painter and installer,
already seen in many films, especially in Hana-Bi.
Tomorrow, we will find a new facet of your talent
filmmaker, more reflexive than in the past, as its title indicates
«Achilles and the turtle», which refers us to the famous paradox of Zénon.
Perhaps you know the verses of a French poet, Paul VALERY,
on this very profound theme:
Zeon! Cruel Zeon! Zeon of Elee!
Have you pierced me with this winged arrow
That vibrates, that flies and that does not fly!
The sound gives me birth and the arrow kills me!
Ah the sun... what a turtle’s shadow
For the soul, Achilles, motionless!"
Because if cinema is, literally, an «art of movement», your work
In a way, it offers the quintessence, as it constantly plays on the
breaks in rhythm, long moments of immobility sublimated by
the eruption of violence as sudden as it is permanent.
This is because it is important to recapture the unlikely unity of all your
facets that I rejoice, not only in this bewildering exhibition,
the release of your new film which closes a trilogy, but also
of the retrospective dedicated to you at the National
culture Georges-Pompidou. I add the publication of an exciting book,
your autobiography, patiently ordered by Michel TEMMAN, and in
I learned so much about you, in whom I recognized myself.
Like you I was born in 1947, like you I made television
(as an animator) and cinema (where, among other things, I mentioned Japan
without turning). Like you I carry Africa in my heart (it is the
subject of my first film); like you, I had a scooter accident.
And like you – but that’s where the comparison ends – I was
proposed to become Minister of Culture, which you refused to
several times...
You probably prefer to be your own minister, some kind of
“minister of nature”, of your great artistic nature.
Dear Takeshi KITANO, on behalf of the French Republic, we
Commander’s insignia in the order of the Arts and
Letters.