I had great fun devising the Ravageur names and their dialect using a French dictionary of slang. Here are their names:
(Literal translations in brackets):
Frimousse - vicious face
Rouquin - reddish fur
Fildefer - thin
Croquemort - an undertaker's man
Échalas - (a lath) lanky
Lèche-bottes - a boot-licker
The Lady Ravageurs are cruelly given unpleasant mocking names, such as:
Ripopette - worthless
Caboche - (a hobnail) a blockhead
Bourrique - (a she-ass) a stupid girl
Bassinoire - (a warming pan) a boring female
Bique - (a goat) a silly girl
However, in the end, the females will prove that they are in fact clever, funny and brave.
Grignan is the largest, fiercest and hungriest of the Ravageurs. He's hungry for flesh, for Golosi's Mostarda and most of all, for power. The terrifying thing is that he appears to be entitled to it. Although he claims the title of Lord of the Ravageurs, and is feared by even these fearsome creatures, the story will show that he is not always the leader they believe him to be. Petit Grignon was the name of a devil said to consort with a Frenchwoman called Suzanne Gaudry, who was tried for witchcraft in 1652. A wife of a man called Nochin Quinchou was named in the same trial, so I borrowed that one as well.
I lived with those Ravageurs in my head for a couple of years. They are still there to consult, if I want to.
And I was driven back into Ravageur Venice with a shock and a gulp recently.
One of the main joys of the Biennale in Venice is the fact that one is allowed access to certain wonderful palazzi and cloisters that are not normally open to the public. Often, the art is almost beside the point, because the architecture is so dazzling.
But this year I stumbled into an exhibit that put the architecture in the shade, while still profiting from the space.
Although the installation is ‘site-specific’, her oeuvre did not refer to any specifically Venetian context. ('Tis almost ever thus, at the Biennale).
The website appears to have a bad case of ‘Google Translate’ or ‘Babelfish’, explaining:
This is meant to represent the one hand a complaint against those attacks and destroys the art, the other a conviction against religious persecution a complaint extremely important especially because made by a Chinese artist who makes her cry of pain of His Holiness Pope Francis the guilty silence of the world.
And anyway, for me the main joy was to discover that someone had made one hundred of my Ravageurs and smeared them with blood.
Michelle Lovric’s website