"As I was shooting ’Story of My Life As Told by My Photographs’, part of which recounted my memories and the settings of my early childhood, I met up with my ‘oldest’ friend Richard Kenigsman (literally, ‘King’s Man’), whom I had known for more than sixty years. He had given me a photo album. These photographs had been taken in the house in which my parents had lived for the better part of their stay in Brussels, at 25 Léon Frédéric Street in Schaerbeek. Richard’s parents lived on the same street at number 19. As children, we would pluck apples and lilac flowers in the garden and play marbles on one of the two waste grounds nearby. Richard had been able to enter that house, now inhabited by a painter, whereas all my attempts to get in had ended in failure. My father was a furrier, a fur merchant, and Richard’s father was a leather merchant. Both had fled Poland just before World War II. This film talks about the ’alterations and repairs’ which our respective fathers undertook in their job, but the title obviously also has a second meaning. This provides the outline of a film-portrait, focusing first on Richard’s drawings and sculptures, but also on his relationship with his father (an ideal father, "the man of precision and perfection"). Without being aware of it, Richard Kenigsman goes through the same gestures. You can see him working on scraps of leather he happens to find in a cardboard box. He is in a sense taking over the remains of his father ("At last he managed to have his father’s hide", Daniel Sibony), not to grieve over them but to appropriate them as a true artist. The significance of tools (wrenches, pincers, pliers, screwdrivers, scissors…) is here underscored, inasmuch as they become part and parcel of the work. Through this action Richard also turns away from his past (as a tradesman in the pharmaceutical industry), from his identity (as a Jew), from his origin, from himself. Hence this endless hit-and-miss, this searching in all directions, which may suggest a certain clumsiness. This experimental, self-taught aspect is what most appeals to me. In all modesty the film shows this: what does it mean to learn a trade? What is involved in learning to play the violin? An earlier version of the film, entitled ’L’homme de cuir [The Leather Man]’ had been shown at the Centre Pompidou in 2003, but it is no longer extant, having been destroyed. Hence the need for ’alterations and repairs’." (source:
Retouches et Réparations, 2001-2008, Boris Lehman © the artistRetouches et Réparations, 2001-2008, Boris Lehman © the artistRetouches et Réparations, 2001-2008, Boris Lehman © the artist  
  • Format 16mm(16 mm.)
  • Color system PAL
  • Color col.
  • Year 2001-2008
  • Duration 00:50:00
  • Languageinfo
    Subtitles: English UK
    Spoken: French
  • Artists