March 29, 2004--An American artist marrying a French poet is hardly an unusual occurrence, unless, of course, the poet in question has been dead for 134 years. Utilizing an obscure clause in French law, an American artist, Shishaldin, has requested permission to marry Isidore Ducasse. Ducasse, writing under the nomme de guerre Comte De Lautréamont, is the author of "Les Chants De Maldoror", widely acknowledged as one of the masterpieces of 19th century French literature. His death at the age of 24, capped a short, controversial, and mysterious career.
Under French Civil Code 171, the President has the authority to sanction marriages between the dead and the living. The law was enacted in 1959 when then President Charles de Gaulle toured the town of Frejus where a dam had burst, killing hundreds. A young woman approached him with the request that she be able to marry her dead fiancée. A special law was passed and, to date, several hundred couples have been married as a result.
"As an artist, I feel compelled to make a bold stand in defense of marriage. I view marriage as a union that cannot be defined, a union of souls and minds, the sort of union celebrated by art and literature... in fact, a marriage of art and literature." says the 23 year old bride to be.
The question of money is not an issue as the law prohibits financial gain that was not already provided for in a pre-existing will. Additionally, the author's works have long since entered the public domain.
"This isn't about money, this is about love and marriage and art. It is about enhancing the stature of a great artist through a spiritual partnership. This is the true spirit of marriage," continues Shishaldin. "Our marriage would also be significant as a symbolic gesture of healing between our two great nations. This would be a marriage that spans across cultures, continents, centuries, and even the mortal plane itself."
The marriage is still awaiting confirmation from French President Jacques Chirac but is scheduled for July of 2004.
About The Couple:
Isidore Ducasse: Born in Montevideo, Uruguay, the French national is best known for his work under the pseudonym Comte de Lautréamont. His novel "Les Chants De Maldoror" is universally regarded as one of the masterpieces of French literature.
Shishaldin: The 23 year old artist resides in Brooklyn where she is an MFA candidate at Pratt Institute. She originally hails from Alaska where she was the statewide women's tennis champion. She is the recipient of numerous awards in tennis and track and recently completed a piece called "Berserker: Meat Marathon" wherein she ran the 2003 NYC Marathon clad in salami. She has been awarded Outstanding Merit in Sculpture from Pratt Institute and was featured on the cover of The Coagula Art Journal. "Shishaldin: Collected Works and Writings", an 80 page illustrated book chronicling the artist's career, was recently published.
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