Diary, memoir, poem, fiction? Autopsy, crime scene, hagiography, hymn? The chronicle of an obsessive love.
In the middle of the night between the 25th and 26th of November, Vincent fell from the third floor playing parachute with a bathrobe. He drank a liter of tequila, smoked Congolese grass, snorted cocaine... —from Crazy for Vincent
Crazy for Vincent begins with the death of the figure it fixates upon: Vincent, a skateboarding, drug-addled, delicate “monster” of a boy in whom the narrator finds a most sublime beauty. By turns tender and violent, Vincent drops in and out of French writer and photographer Hervé Guibert's life over the span of six years (from 1982, when he first met Vincent as a fifteen-year-old teenager, to 1988). After Vincent's senseless death, the narrator embarks on a reconnaissance writing mission to retrieve the Vincent that had entered, elevated, and emotionally eviscerated his life, working chronologically backward from the death that opens the text. Assembling Vincent's fragmentary appearances in his journal, the author seeks to understand what Vincent's presence in his life had been: a passion? a love? an erotic obsession? or an authorial invention? A parallel inquiry could be made into the book that results: Is it diary, memoir, poem, fiction? Autopsy, crime scene, hagiography, hymn? Crazy for Vincent is a text the very nature of which is as untethered as desire itself.
Hervé Guibert (1955–1991) was a writer, a photography critic for Le Monde, a photographer, and a filmmaker. In 1984 he and Patrice Chereau were awarded a César for best screenplay for L'Homme Blessé. Shortly before his death from AIDS, he completed La Pudeur ou L'impudeur, a video work that chronicles the last days of his life.
Bruce Hainley is the author of Under the Sign of [sic]: Sturtevant's Volte-Face and Art & Culture, both published by Semiotext(e). The editor of Commie Pinko Guy, he wrote, with John Waters, Art—A Sex Book. He cochairs the Graduate Art program at ArtCenter College of Design and is a contributing editor at Artforum.