The daughter of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg wants the legendary mansion on rue de Verneuil in Paris to become a museum dedicated to the work of the singer whose thirtieth anniversary is celebrated this Tuesday.
On March 2, 1991, Serge Gainsbourg left us. Today, thirty years later, her daughter Charlotte wants more than ever to open her father’s mansion to the public to make it “A place truly anchored in Parisian heritage». «And I would like it to open before the end of the year if possible“, She explains to AFP.
Where is the project to open to the public 5 bis rue Verneuil, the house where your father lived?
Charlotte GAINSBOURG – It is in progress. In the first ten years, when I was the most sure of the project, it was very complicated to bring it to fruition. And then I went back because it was kind of what I had left of him, so I kept him like a treasure. But when I left for New York six years ago, I took a step back and I understood that it had to be done. For people, but also for my mental health, I have to be able to detach myself from it. It has to be a place that is truly rooted in Parisian heritage, that it is accessible.
How would you describe it?
It is his private mansion, we are not going to discover things about his work but the framework of his work. It’s him, his personality, it’s quite surprising. We have the image of artists who are in immense, luxurious spaces, there it is relatively modest. Initially, they are old stables, it is not high ceiling, it is not the Haussmann apartment par excellence. There is a tiny kitchen. Initially, it was the family home, with my mother, my sister, him and me. Back in my mother’s (Jane Birkin) time, there was little, then after that there was more and more very arranged mess (laughs). He transformed it during his lifetime into a museum full of objects, it was difficult to walk without being afraid of breaking something.
Does anything in particular come to your mind?
What is touching is a bust of my mother. It is a cast of her body, it is very very beautiful. At first it was in plaster, then he did it again in bronze».
Have you already scheduled a date for the opening?
«We hoped for the month of March, but it is impossible with the health crisis. We hope for the next school year, before the end of 2021 if possible.
Louise Verneuil is a singer with a stage name inspired by this street: young artists continue to be influenced by everything related to the artist or the man …
I find that incredible, it is today that I really realize it. Before, I was in my lack, in my pain. There I realize the impact it has on generations and generations and the fact that it does not stop».
Young artists say they love his work and his attitude …
There are so many sides to him. He expressed his dark side, there was not a secret side. He is a person of great delicacy who contradicts the character of Gainsbarre at the end. Today, we live in a world so censored, I wonder how he would have experienced that. Would he have been banned from TVs? He was such a rich personality, who combined his great sensitivity and his great sense of provocation. We don’t see that anymore today.
The anniversary of the 30 years of his disappearance gives rise to numerous tributes …
I find that incredibly moving. For a long time I refrained from doing interviews about him, from celebrating it, I told myself that it was a pain, a painful birthday. But it is very beautiful all these statements. I said to myself that maybe I can talk about it too. It took me thirty years (he disappeared when she was 19, Editor’s note). But people didn’t wait for me to celebrate it, that’s good. My father was not locked in an era. Because he has touched all styles, with class in the writing. My father had a mastery of the classical language and modernity in writing, with humor, that’s all we dream of, this refinement, this so agile gymnastics. It sets the bar very, very high.
Are you working on your future album?
I’m in the middle of it, I’m happy, it’s starting to take shape, finally, I started during the first lockdown in March when I was stuck in New York. It must be released in 2022, it must!
Serge and Charlotte Gainsbourg sing Lemon Incest