In the lower strata of the valley of Les Eyzies, excavation archaeologists had the brilliant idea of preserving a cross-section four to five meters high, with layers built up over millennia. It’s like a mille-feuille. In every layer, the “tenants” left their visiting cards: fragments of bone, teeth, flints. In a single glance, you can take in thousands of years of history. It’s very moving.
And you know what’s responsible? It’s dust! The earth doesn’t have a housekeeper to do the dusting. And the dust that falls on it every day remains there. Everything that’s come down to us from the past has been conserved by dust. Right here, look at these piles, in a few weeks a thick layer of dust has formed. On rue La Boétie, in some of my rooms—do you remember?—my things were already beginning to disappear, buried in dust. You know what? I always forbade everyone to clean my studios, dust them, not only for fear they would disturb my things, but especially because I always counted on the protection of dust. It’s my ally. I always let it settle where it likes. It’s like a layer of protection. When there’s dust missing here or there, it’s because someone has touched my things. I see immediately someone has been there. And it’s because I live constantly with dust, in dust, that I prefer to wear gray suits, the only color on which it leaves no trace.