Nathalie Gassel, former expert in Muay Thai (Thai boxing), is A Belgian writer and photographer born in Brussels on June 19th 1964. Recognized from her very first book by the great cultural French authors, Nathalie Gassel has never stopped, book after book, extending her current investigation of the motives of the latest truths that exist in our contemporary society. She juggles the life of having an athletic body and of sexuality in a way attached to art, literature and particularly the medium of photography. She brings out aesthetic innovations of the senses in a creative mode of being.
Bibliography in French:
Eros androgyne, Ed. de L’Acanthe, Belgique, 2000. Réédition, Le Cercle Poche, Paris, 2001
- Musculatures Ed. Le Cercle, Paris, 2001Réédition, Le Cercle Poche, Paris, 2004
- Stratégie d’une passion, Ed. Luce Wilquin, Belgique, 2004
- Construction d'un corps pornographique,Ed. Le Cercle d'art, Paris, 2005& Université de Bruxelles
- Des années d'insignifiance,Ed. Luce Wilquin, Belgique, 2006
- Récit plastique,Le somnambule équivoque, Belgique, 2008
- Abattement, Maelstrom réévolution, Belgique, 2009
- Ardeur et vacuité, Le somnambule équivoque, Belgique, 2012
She contributed notably to the following books: Picturing the modern amazon Newmuseumbooks, Rizzoli International Publications, New York. 1999.- Expérience du sport. In : Le Labyrinthe des apparences Ed. Complexe. 2000. Université de Bruxelles. - L’errance, quelques lieux contemporains. In : Je t’aime. Question d’époque Ed. Complexe. 2002. Université de Bruxelles. - L’argent ou l’odeur insistante du pouvoir. In : Argent, valeurs et valeur Ed. Complexe. 2004. Université de Bruxelles.- Les lieux de l'obscène. In, L'obscénité des sentiments, Ed. Le Cercle d'Art & Université de Bruxelles, 2005.- Pour une création androgyne, In, Théorie et pratique de la création, Les Cahiers internationaux du symbolisme. 2005- Une sexualité de mante religieuse, photographie et texte, In, La visite est terminée, Ed. La Trame, Bruxelles, 2006 Marginales, n° 262, Sous les clichés la rage, 2006 Ed. Luce Wilquin, Belgique- Action Poétique, n° 185 , Belges et Belges, septembre 2006, Paris.- Mode, ed. Le Cercle d'art & Université de Bruxelles, Paris, 2008-Marginales n° 270, Editions Luce Wilquin, Belgique.
Eros Androgyne is an odyssey of the inner being, that of a young athletic woman. She dissects her libido, she sublimates primal lustful body. She is in admiration and wonder of her flesh. He yearning becomes poetry. “If eroticism is our relation with us in a given situation, the writings in secret of someone and in an unknown era, then Eros Androgyne is a unique book. A lightning bolt, a dazzling text, inexpressible.” Pierre Bourgeade.
“Nathalie Gassel is a joy that exceeds all boundaries. It is transcendent pornography! The most fascinating book of the year 2000.” Sarane Alexandrian.
“Nathalie Gassel is at the same time an avid bodybuilder, Thai boxing champion, and poet. A most rare poet, it must be added, while only remembering with the threshold of this century, the poetry- more exactly the poetic alliance of certain words, of certain images- not exactly of another time. The prose of Nathalie Gassel is carnal in the two meanings of the term. She is speaking of the body, and she has, herself, the provocation, the attraction, the nakedness of the body…One is not here, one will have to guess it, in a text at ease. One feels, on the contrary, the impression of something tireless. If I dare to say in reading these pages, sometimes reserved, sometimes mad, where the shame of the other presents itself, for a time for what it is: impossible to appease…This is also the work of a poet who seems to shrink from nothing when it comes to things like love, the words that expresses it or the questioning reached, by the very fact, of the deepest that is within us.” Pierre Bourgeaude.
Eros Androgyne, Ed. Le Cercle Poche
Musculatures is the manifestation of a different dazzling desire. Nathalie Gassel shares with us the oscillations baroque and obsessional of an imposing athlete, whose sole driving quest: her body and the body of another. Her body? Sometimes wandering, sometimes the avid hunter/killer driven by physical effort, the exaltation of power and its projection, it is a body enlightened offered for praise. She has reinvented the writing of the birth of the body. “The following autobiographical fragments is a treatise of sexual power. What can one do to her body, or with her body, or even against her body, when one has a gender of the woman or a gender of the man, which one will have sovereignty? The sexual power of sexual femininity is it preferable to the power of male sexuality? Or what if it is reversed, if there exists an integral sexual power, that exerts an individual capable of driving at the same time both man and woman in the same love life, constituting a treasure of ambiguous pleasures? All the conventions of sexual literature are made awkward by this consideration. The pick up of a woman on the streets of a city has never been related in a way so captivating that in these pages one sees such a beast of prey with an insatiable appetite, driven by irresistible obsessions performed on its victims in calculated bounds.
“If I were writing till the present my history of erotic literature, I would place Nathalie Gassel at the same level as Henry Miller in Crucifixion en Rose and with the surrealistic mystic Charles Duits, who wanted to found an “Eroscience” in two violently pornographic novels. Transcendent pornography is an indulgence of the spirit today and of the literature of tomorrow which is found in Nathalie Gassel a dazzlingly masterful interpreter.” Sarane Alexandrian.
Edition Le Cercle, 2001
Réédition Le Cercle Poche, 2004
“The feeling then of being moved, carried to the ordinary is not conveyed; the place where one no longer waits for it. ‘It is the unhoped for respect of the body, barbarism without sin, liturgy of the violent meeting of the body. It is the unexpected asceticism in its most natural form. It is tenderness in its only appearance, happiness brought up from hell. One must imagine Narcissus crazy for his herculean body.” Pierre Mertens.
Strategie d’une Passion is a story of love which places the relationship of power intimately with that of passion. Against uncomfortable prejudices the feeling is pure and strong, present in the worship of very flesh that it confesses. One is in an intimidating singularity of which we are all concerned these wants. The modernity figures also in the fact that the woman, in this epistle of fiction, has the body of an athlete and is in love with the weakness of her partner, as much as he venerates her imposing muscles. It is like the tragedies, a form of torment, which places the tension in an all consuming want, striking because we are still all too human. The feelings are thoughts in constructed lanes. One finds here parallel writing of the body and the spirit, of matter that overflows and sullies it. One can think of an antagonistic title, “The Strategy Passion,” in the passion one imagines the transportation, but there is always a final analysis of the strategy. The writing is vigorous in it and it is like the thrill of a sport. It is one of the omnipresent themes of the female narrator who also writes these letters like a treatise of life.
What becomes of love when one reverses the traditional roles when the woman proves herself more capable and powerful, with more muscle than the man? This is the theme of this book as it revolves around the sexual roles. The writing questions our prejudices. It is also a book of passion set around three objects: a man, the work of writing, and that of sport.
The antagonism of the title: which says impassioned love does not only convey truth but strategy as well. How does one offer oneself to another and how does one maintain supremacy and the other dependence in spite of distance, there is a capacity of control that can not be concealed. The emails serve to communicate the desires to the lover and keep the passion going, to interact as to not lose the feeling of love. February 2004. Editions Luce Wilquin.
Editions Le Cercle d'art& Université de Bruxelles Paris-Bruxelles, 2005.
Construction d’un Corps Pornographique is a reflection of poetic praise of a body reapportioned under intense physical performance. A celebration of luminous sweat achieved by bodybuilding and brought to us by ink and steel. It is an example of poetry that brings out the flesh through text, of muscle and though; sensations, ideas and images. The view is presented through visual photography at the end of the book. Poetry of the athletic body: a portfolio of 8 photographs done by the author. “In writing this book I accomplished several goals: to communicate, and to even consign to written memory the sensuality of a woman athlete- bodybuilder and boxer – in her rigor and vigilance. It is her will to forge powerful carnal matter with pleasure, a feat that may seem paradoxical. In the same leap I hope to overturn a very old taboo, the old forbidden notion of giving power to women. In our childhood, in our education, power and ambition were forbidden to us. It was necessary to transgress in order to make progress. I wanted to also approach this new phenomenon of which there is practically nothing written: of athletic women who overtake by their exploits the majority of men. I desired to stay close to living experience: this book is a reflection of my own life. It is by this bias, of the relation of body and text, of the weights lifted every day, meeting with poetry. It is where the requirement of writing meets the passion of blood pumping into muscles. I would like to feel that these various passions both within the desire of an artist to create new freedoms from transgression in order to create. To fight, to box, in order to pave the way for one to think an act according to the body and to the word. Also the writing that took on an almost physical texture was complimented at the end on a visual note using a portfolio of photographs of the body, poetically annotated. I hope that this strange little book will challenge you and make you a bit curious.” Nathalie Gassel.
Des Annees d’Insignifiance
Ed. Luce Wilquin, September 2006
This book is difficult to take for its emotional implications. I wrote it to tell of the hell that can be childhood, when we realize of our unimportance there. Perhaps we owe it to ourselves to unlearn the contents of our first years of life, and so we must return there to understand what was inculcated there in us. In my texts I had to confront with great discomfort truths that instinctively are buried out of self-preservation. Other truths are those that perhaps have nourished the artist in me in spite of the adversity of the environment, necessary to gain the authenticity needed despite the transgressions.
To be born insignificant or not.
Nathalie Gassel is a writer. Her books, which include Eros androgyne, Stratégie d’une passion, Construction d’un corps pornographique, constitutes or rather builds on a work that compounds the immateriality of a body that she wants powerful, structured, affirmed and insistent. This double company of carnal writing and structuring vibrates of a secret form which comes finally, in these years of insignificance, this last book which appears at Luce Wilquin and which functions as an origin which could never have come but at the end. It would be little to say of this child, of these years of inexistence and of a child that leaves place. It is this inexistence, this insignificance which may clarify one melancholy person. It is the existence and the significance that Nathalie Gassel tries to reconquer, line after line in this book combining in a manner that brings in the flesh of this difficult world. In this account, woven with a steady hand, with its way of smiling irony, sometimes bitter, Nathalie Gassel explores this strange object of her former insignificance with her own eyes. Emerge the pathetic figure of a father who can take hold neither in life nor in writing, the father of unrequited love but of which she cites several magnificent works. A somber note under the harmonic bow of this accomplished author, who backs into the silence as the writing recommences. The father without the girl, the girl without the father, it is a destiny of being and of writing. I really liked this book.” Frank Pierobon.
Frank Pierobon is philosopher. He published: L’humanité tragique, contribution à une phénoménologie de l'écriture, éditions du Cerf, 2008- La conception kantienne des mathématiques, Editions Vrin, Paris, 2003.- Système et représentation – étude architectonique de la déduction transcendantale des catégories dans la Critique de la raison pure d’Emmanuel Kant, Jérôme Millon, 1993.- Kant et la fondation architectonique de la métaphysique, Jérôme Millon , 1990.
Récit plastique, Ed. Le somnambule équivoque
“ In a simply classic prose, with an almost nervous tension in constant vibration by the intensity,” this was from Frank Pierobon. Recit Plastique communicates with texts and photography. This confrontation of writing and images oscillates between the instincts of life and death, leading to a reflection riddled with abstractions.
“Writing as well worked as the athletic body of Nathalie Gassel who came on the scene with Eros Androgyne and Musculatures to celebrate the flesh and affirm power. Until the decisive writing of Annees d’Ignsignifiance where it probes the transgressive context of a torn childhood it did not cease to shine the light on this radical outlook. Plastique affirms this singular universe by also exploring it in the photographic dimension.” Frank Pierobon.
Abattement, Ed Maelstrom, September 2009.
A writing which is also face to face with reality, Nathalie Gassel continues to explore the darkness and the abyss. An incarnation without veil: naked and tormented. The breastplate is not clothing but muscle in all its beauty of vibrant tight leather, practically exploding. Thoughts and emotions are the threads of the narration: all must witness in basic and abrupt feeling, of a universal cloth, radical and of an irregular individuality that unfolds. Abattement probes inside the morbid conscience, with strength for those who abandon all complacency et leave it to fate, this unconscious driving intention, in this case tragic, that guides art. The determination of Gassel, to touch a nerve with sharp contemporaneousness moves from book to book. Here in the loneliness of our virtual world where emails and videoconferences imprison man, claustrophobic and frightened, in as many indivisible individual cells.
Ardeur et vacuité, Ed. Le somnambule équivoque, 2012
Photographies de Nathalie Gassel