Mr. Grobli Zirignon, you are initiator of psycho-therapy. What content do you give to this term?
Psycho-therapy is a concept composed of two terms: psycha which is an abstract of psychoanalysis and art therapy. By creating this concept I wanted to signify the association of the two disciplines of which I participate: psychoanalysis and art. The analytic therapy to which the tribulations of my life made me use showed me the limits of this therapy. It is therefore natural that I became interested in artistic technique to explore the field of the preverbal that does not interest psychoanalysis. And it is because I conceive of artistic activity as the necessary complement of psychoanalysis that I have coined the term psychart therapy. 2- In addition to your quality of psychoanalyst, you are often cited among the big names of the pictorial art in Ivory Coast.
Do you claim the quality of painter that you are attributed?
It is not the love of painting that has led me to produce forms on a so-called artistic medium. It is the desire to express my impulses, to evacuate them on a surface and to know the meanings that bear the forms that emanated from the free expression of my unconscious (by means of chalks, pastels and other instruments which fell to my hand) which led me to behave like painters. But in all honesty I have never considered myself a painter, it is the others who consider that what I do is painting. Moreover to Grapholies (1993), some wanted to exclude me and it is the persons in charge of the exhibition who knew my work, imposed it. The jury of the exhibition considered that what I am doing is a form of painting and has done me the honor of primer (prize of Nations). I must say that the Academicians of painting, here as in France, have always considered me a painter, it is thus that at my beginnings (1976) I was awarded the "Louis Dumoulin Prize" of originality at the International Exhibition of Fine Arts at the Grand Palais. I ended up thinking of myself as a painter, but a painter for whom art is primarily responsible for expressing the unconscious through the promotion of preverbal forms: constituent elements of language whose function is to "socialize" his contacts with others.
You often say that the paintings you reproduce are the representations of the ancestors' writings. Does this mean that you are the interpreter of these, in a world dominated by technology?
When I exhibited at the Grand Palais, in front of the connoisseurs, they were struck by my technique of expression, they asked me if I knew that my painting had something to do with the prehistoric painting. I replied that the resemblance had struck me and that it did not come from a conscious desire to reproduce the parietal paintings. It is after having realized quite unconsciously the picture that I realize afterwards, of its resemblance with these founding works. In interpreting this creative necessity, I thought that I had answered the call of the ancestors and that the technique that I use is the way that led me to meet them.
According to you, painting is a language. What is this language that you convey through your paintings whose interpretation is not always easy without your help?
I have to tell you here that my name is Zirignon, which means support for spirits. In Akan country we would talk about Komian. Know that I was unconsciously influenced by the name that I found at the origin of my creations. For me, in fact, it means passing the spirits that inhabit me in our Society under the appearance of preverbal forms. I have the impression that the spirit of the ancestors can revive and that they chose me to fulfill the function of ferryman. I believe that I am the faithful instrument of the great Dead who want to return to this world to continue to serve as pillars of society. Many times I tried to revolt against this fate that prevents me from living like others, but I ended up submitting because they threatened to lacerate me and drive me crazy. Moreover, I have never been attracted by the "worldly life"!
Do not you have the feeling of being misunderstood by your contemporaries?
No, this question does not worry me. I am content to fulfill my mission. The main thing for me is the inner satisfaction (approbation of the ancestors) that I feel. But I must say that many like what I do and ask to buy, which I generally refuse except in special cases that I do not need here to specify, because these works are figurations of the ancestors, and therefore are sacred. If you did not know it, know that with my son, the very combative Ke Williams, I am currently working on the construction of the "ancestors' hut" (museum of psychart therapy), a work of filial piety for the founding fathers of human society. I have the feeling that the difficulty of living in this civilization of enjoyment and profit is not unrelated to the forgetfulness or even the profanation of its foundation. 5 - What's behind your joke "is psychart therapy the message of the dead father relayed by Grobli Zirignon"? I wanted to say that I am only the simple instrument of the Voice of the ancestors: a zirignon who assumes his destiny.
In your opinion, what is the difference between art therapy and psychart therapy, two terms that are used a lot when we talk to you?
It was I who proposed the concept of art therapy at the Dakar symposium in 1998. I had not yet fully understood his relationship with psychoanalysis. It was later that I understood that the art therapy conceived as an extension and deepening of the psychoanalytic field should, more appropriately, be called psychart-therapy.
Do you really think that psycho-therapy is the discipline that can find a lasting solution to the question of violence in Côte d'Ivoire and in the world?
Surely I think so and I have always proclaimed it. I have patients become disciples who will praise you for psycho-therapy as an antidote to destruction drives and an initiation to "living together". 8 - How do you intend to make the discipline more accessible to everyone? I wrote about twenty books on the subject, made videos and gave interviews. I even set up a research and training structure: ARFAT that I animate with three former patients dedicated to the Cause. I feel I have done my part and that the ball is in the court of decision makers. I am ready to train psycho-therapists if asked, to contribute to the re-founding of the "Global Village" threatened by destructive violence in all forms. I am counting on you to help me carry further and higher my request to serve.
Your last word
I bring to your readers' notice that my "son" Ké William and I have created a facebook group to promote psycho-therapy and build the Sacred Box of the Ancestors. I ask for their membership in this group. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1009259752487312/?fref=ts
Interview of Zirignon Grobli by Konaté, journalist