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About the Author

About Jean-Bernard André (jba)

Here are my 10 rules for better dioramas! 1 -The diorama is everything modelling is about, it's the meeting point of the manufactured object that is the model and the human input, you can –and have to- tell stories with dioramas. 2 -When doing your diorama you should not be influenced by any tr...


Dear Jean Bernard I'm fascinated by this piece - the juxtapostion it's quite poetic. Please satisfy my curiosity. My family comes from Eastern Poland (close to Baranovich - now in Bialorus) ; is this piece of work based on any particular photgraph or historical incident? As you know, Brest is where the Soviets and Nazis infamously met on 19 September 1939 and ratified their unholy alliance, which partitioned Poland and helped sow the seeds of the Cold War, which I guess gives your work even more poigniancy. Indeed, I myself have a long term project to recreate this historic meeting of like-minded 'friends', which I think will make an interesting and unusual vignette. A complete contrast to how history remembers events. The use of a Napoleonic era statue is also great - it can be interpreted in many different ways. However, I suspect that as Brest had only returned to Polish hands in 1919 - 1920 the chances of a Napoleonic era statue surviving through Imperial Russian and then Bolshovik rule were in reality slim. Perhaps you know otherwise? Never-the-less, I do feel compelled to congratulate on a fine piece work - well done. All the very best Karol
SEP 18, 2006 - 11:58 PM
Dear Karol, I must say your reaction to this thing of mine is great to read. I just hope that you won’t be disappointed in reading that this diorama comes straight from a troubled sleeper’s dreams. Most of the dioramas I am building now use historic accuracy to try to unsettle the viewer with other elements. If I am messing up too much with history, the viewers will tend to only focus on this, and this is not what I seek. Should I have to redo this diorama 2 years after I finished it, I would have use a real Pole character instead of a French dragoon Airfix old kit –why not using and transform this wonderful Jan III Sobieski fig that HF colleague painted so handsomely a while back? I wanted this diorama to be settled in Poland for one big reason: I wanted to model complex paveways, and for some reason, my vision on pre-world war 2 Polish towns is big roads with trees, nice houses and beautiful paveways –it must come from some movie but I don’t remember which. Then I wanted the character who would be stricken by the half destroyed statue to be just like he goes out of sleep –and then I remembered that the Germans captured a lot of Russian half dressed when they striked first on june ’41, so I had the guy: a Russian soldier having just the time to pick up rifle and helmet, going outside and see the world upside down from the shelling. Then I wanted a bad omen. And here Brest Litovsk starts to take shape, because though attacked in the first hours of Barbarossa, the citadel held for weeks despite the constant attacks from German forces –it also seems that at this moment, some wisdomic Germans began to have a bad feeling about that war. The last stroke for this idea/diorama was when I read some time ago Alfred’s Jary’s famous book “Ubu king” which is a late XIXth century book about that imaginary mad king that basically kills everybody (a terrible foretelling for Hitler or Stalin said some). Then the book open with this terrible sentence “the action is located in Poland which means nowhere”, quite cruel eh? But that’s the idea the people had about this country for centuries before history settled down a bit. Then I had the idea right since the start that this diorama should in fact be located “in the middle of nowhere”, and here it is… in Brest Litovsk, historical city.. About your own project: I have got also in memory several pictures of the meeting between soviets and nazis I saw both from footages and books, the spirit of this meeting as I remember it was officials and T26 tankers in neatly trimmed uniforms and greatcoats, with the pavement shiny from the rain, and a grey nature behind just like it’s not so happy about the scene. There is definitely something worthy and original to do about this… Thanks again and all the very best too JB
SEP 19, 2006 - 04:08 PM