It is my refuge, this place that catapults me elsewhere. Yet I am a homemaker ! Figuratively speaking. Exile, exodus... sound like those drugs whose absurd prefixes take you elsewhere - in illusion, at least. It's an ex-nihilo at the start and at the end. Yet the most exotic of countries is in itself. The moon, Mars, the sun, it's the conquest of a pilot at the heart of his own universe. So why so many uproots ? Why so much determination to leave or stay, to hold or loosen ?

Like a hand that opens, it has to be squeezed for a while and then open to the sky - and vice versa. This is the miracle of duality !

Observing the careers of famous musicians, I notice a tendency of leaving, of abandoning one place for another, quite radically if not frequently. Between the definitive exile of the Polish Frédéric Chopin, the incessant travels of a Franz Liszt, the record-breaking moves of Ludwig Van Beethoven or, nowadays, the journeys that have become the norm for young student musicians all over the world, from Russia to the United States via Germany and soon Asia... In short, I find a certain courage in this impulse that is being pulled from one place to another.

Going towards is the movement of daring, the call of an unknown, forcing you to leave behind you a native land, an identity, a language. There is in this process, the path of an alchemist, a sage, an artist. A madman ? "Daring will set us free" writes Linda Bortoletto, an explorer at heart... This word - daring - resounds in me like the greatest of treasures. Be bold and all will be well ! For without it, it is impossible to leave, therefore impossible to go to meet one's freedom. To leave is to observe all that one has been able to believe about oneself and to venture into what one does not yet know about oneself. In this coming and going of the known and the unknown, it is sometimes by exploring all that we are not or what we are no longer that we come closer like the butterfly to the light a little more towards whom we are.

As silence draws everything that music is not, we ask ourselves everything that we are not by going to meet elsewhere. Except that once we meet it, it will belong to our music and it will always be - as long as we are body in that body - a border between what defines us and what we know nothing about - a priori. So are we condemned to this permanent move ?


Exile does not always mean crossing the boundaries of world cartography. It is sometimes changing a single little habit of one's daily life, letting go of a conditioning, transforming a belief, learning a new instrument. Changing one's environment, cooking differently, talking to a stranger, accepting to move away from a memory, a past and getting closer to an unknown area. These are all discoveries that cannot take place without this initial impulse. And here are so many gestures, seemingly tiny, that every day change lives. On the other hand, one can go to the other side of the world or have a mania for movement and in reality not venture further than one's shadow...

Like a musical score, the next note only resounds once the previous one has left. Even if the score already exists in its entirety, from the first note to the last, we can only hear this symphony if we accept to move from one note to the next, in our linear understanding that requires us to let go of the front in order to know the next.

It is by letting go of what has just been that what happens vibrates. The adolescent leaves the child and also dies to let the adult be born one day - several times in his life. Learning in order to unlearn and then relearn, this is the path of the wise man who believes for a moment that he has understood everything, only to realize that he knows nothing! As when one plays Mozart, after having studied him for a lifetime, the ultimate quest is finally to shed all this mastery in order to rediscover a taste for innocence. One must be able to reach this mastery and then abandon it. Like a mountain that one climbs, one must be able to bring it down again and then even realize that the peaks, in the end, are within us. The difficulty of letting go of knowledge learned by the sweat of one's brow is sometimes even greater than that of learning new knowledge.


Surrender. I don't know anything about it. I don't expect anything anymore. I am nothing. This is what exile is all about. Starting from scratch,becoming a stranger to other people and therefore to yourself. Especially in front of yourself. That's the greatest of all dizzy spells. Accepting to twist, for a moment at least. Humans have this unique ability to adapt to anything. He creates conscious or unconscious mechanisms which, even in the most unlikely places, allow him to recreate a pattern, an adaptability to the environment (except in extreme cases incompatible with his minimal survival). There is nothing that human beings like more than to reproduce ! As soon as a thing is imitated, observed, known, sue, integrated, it only has to repeat itself ad libitum. Until the next patterns, until the next transformations.

The slug waddles before the butterfly wiggles, dancing in the air and then withering like a rose petal as soon as it takes a breath.

To break a habit, however, is to get out of a country known for an imaginary land. Here we go again, a new beginning, a new land, a new place. It's cold at first when you arrive in an uninhabited, unfamiliar place. One can feel abandoned in the most beautiful castle lit by a candle and feel reassured in a studio with the old taste of worn-out slippers. So to tear oneself away from one land for another, consciously, is an act of bravery. You can only get there by dying a little, by leaving your illusions there as if you were leaving your skin behind. These illusions are so important to us! Sometimes they are our most terrible sufferings, but we believe that no other suit will fit us better than this one, so we hold this old cloth like a child is afraid of having his candy cane stolen from a playground.

The exile is a rebel! In truth, the difference between a tourist trip and an exile is that in the latter there are no plans to return, no guarantee of returning. This is even unimaginable. You never come back as before. You never swim twice in the same lake. It's a one-way trip.

"Learn the rules like a professional, so you can break them like an artist."

Pablo Picasso

In classical music, you need resonant and dissonant chords to modulate from one colour to another. Between chords and disagreements, we are the heroes of our daily life, where we can become aware at every moment of where we still hold our fear tight and where our audacity is stronger, not to go elsewhere, but to welcome this fear like the cycle of storms, rains or summers.

All creation, by its very essence, is a drive towards the unknown, the utopian, the unexplored. Since this has never been done before, it is then the most gigantic of jumps, the greatest of risks. It is not so much the object encountered in the end, but the subject that encounters. Necessarily, being unique, his experience will be unique. Becoming aware of this is already putting one foot in this unknown.


It is by observing, as I usually do, shamans - Mongolians, Japanese, Amazonian - that I realize how much of an artist the traveller is, how much of an artist is a traveller. True detachment is not to no longer be attached to anything but to be able to attach or detach oneself. To be with or without, to be here or there. It is a great illusion to believe oneself detached from everything, therefore free! However, it is impossible to cross worlds without being free.

As an explorer of the worlds, the shaman exile himself permanently. He extirpates himself from one reality to another. He makes life an art, a perpetual transformation. Sometimes silent, these transformations are our state of being. A state that is only an illusion since it is never more than a transition, a bridge between one agreement and another. We are perhaps then only passers-by in transit, travelers on a station platform, and yet how sweet it is to stroll through train stations, airports, motorway areas !


Leaving is the oldest school, the most eternal way.

Moving on to the next note, we try to learn to let go of the previous one.

What if the present moment is nothing more than perpetual exile ?

The artist's odyssey is then perhaps only the learning of a passage: that from one chord to another, that which allows us to access all states without ever believing that we are one of them.

Harmoniously you !

Wishing you an inspiring Summer,

Hélène Tysman

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                                                                     all rights reserved Hélène Tysman - 2018


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