A Photography, A History: "Les trois singes"

The three monkeys
"Young Nepalese schoolchildren" Alexandre Sattler

Interview Alexandre Sattler



ArtPhotoLimited: Who are these children and in what country was this picture taken?

Alexandre Sattler: These are young Nepalese schoolchildren whom I asked to take the pause.

We noticed that you made a series of photos with three people Realizing the same mimicry, that of the three monkeys of wisdom. What is their meaning?

These monkeys are supposed to represent a way not to feel the evil. The most Commonly admitted is the following: see nothing, hear nothing and say nothing. Through these Monkeys, one can have another approach: not to see the evil, not to hear the evil and Not say bad. This is explained by the idea that whenever we see the evil of our a part of it is anchored in our bodies. In the same way, by hearing the evil, evoking it, part of us becomes bad. These three monkeys would therefore be a call to to refuse the evil in our existence. But this point of view is questionable.

What is its origin?

It is difficult to date the appearance of the first apes of wisdom. They were introduced In Buddhism by a monk around the 7th century. According to legend, this monk Was accompanied by a monkey during his journeys. This monk is Xuanzang, one of the most important translators of Buddhist texts in China.

However, it was not he who invented the monkeys, he merely made them known and Build their notoriety. The first traces of these "monkeys of wisdom" to the "Confucius Interviews," which are generally located between the 4th and the 2nd century BC.


What is your first motivation in your photographic road trips?

The meeting is for me the first reason to travel. It is through the others that I discovers our differences and resemblances. We all share the same emotions Joys, fears, astonishment, sadness, anger ... The language of emotions is universal and allows us to communicate whatever the cultural context. Another common language is body language. The posture of the 3 monkeys is known worldwide, its symbolic a little less, but I like to explain to people that I photograph, that the real wisdom is inner. The posture of the 3 monkeys has become a pretext that allows to launch a discussion around spirituality, or sometimes create a good crazy laugh.

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