In praise of being unprofessional

by Kitty Drake in September 2021

Profane is dedicated to unprofessionals: to artists, collectors and hobbyists who have become obsessed with things they aren’t paid to do. Part of this magazine’s charm is that it is full of eccentrics. One memorable piece in issue 12 is about the architect Antoine Grumbach, who houses a tiny world in his living room made out of gift shop trinkets; Big Ben, The Empire State Building; the Sagrada Familia.

Another bizarre piece is about a Parisian aristocrat, Bénédicte, who asks the writer, Joachim Charbit, to smuggle 74 uprooted peonies from America to France. The aristocrat is intending to transform the ancient moat at her chateau into a floral conservatory, and refers to Charbit only as her “little mule”: “You will have to be very careful with the bulbs, my little mule; do you mind if I call you my mule?”

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Perhaps the strangest character in the whole magazine is the poet and artist Luigi Lineri. Lineri has spent 50 years collecting many thousands of stones, which he groups according to shape in different rooms of his house. Lineri has names for each category of stone (eg.“sheep head”, “bird”, “mouth”, “bull head”) and attributes their distinctive shapes to human, or even divine, interference. One room in his home is devoted to the “Phallic Form”, and I must admit that seeing this many penis-shaped rocks in the same place is enough to suggest some kind of intervention. Although, it begs the question: what kind of a God?

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