La Machine à confesser


Boris Vian

La Machine à confesser


Lithograph on Arches paper 200 g
50 ex
38 x 28 cm
Certificate of authenticity signed by la Cohérie Boris Vian
Lithograph sent unframed


The original etching La Machine à confesser drawn in 1957 announces a society close to the one Boris Vian depicts in his play Les Bâtisseurs d’empire, written in the same year.
It is inspired by Franz Kafka’s novel, La Colonie pénitentiaire, written in 1914.

The original drawing created on white painted wood still hangs in his office today. This preparatory drawing of this fantasized and never built machine fits Grammaj’s intention and illustrates perfectly the link between an art drawing and a technical drawing. Boris Vian offers his interpretation of the confessional. Each person can try to identify, priest, psychoanalyst, executioner, patient, convict…

With this first work, Grammaj takes you into the imaginary world of this artist and his multiple lifes: Boris Vian alias Bison Ravi, alias Vernon Sullivan, alias, Baron Visi, alias Vernon Sinclair…

Boris Vian (10 March 1920 – 23 June 1959) was a French polymath: writer, poet, musician, singer, translator, critic, actor, inventor and engineer. He is best remembered today for his novels. Those published under the pseudonym Vernon Sullivan were bizarre parodies of criminal fiction, highly controversial at the time of their release.
Vian’s other fiction, published under his real name, featured a highly individual writing style with numerous made-up words, subtle wordplay and surrealistic plots. His novel L’Écume des jours (literally: “The Foam of Days”) is the best known of these works and one of the few translated into English, under the title of Froth on the Daydream.
Vian was also an important influence on the French jazz scene. He served as liaison for Hoagy Carmichael, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis in Paris, wrote for several French jazz-reviews (Le Jazz Hot, Paris Jazz) and published numerous articles dealing with jazz both in the United States and in France. His own music and songs enjoyed popularity during his lifetime, particularly the anti-war song Le Déserteur (The Deserter).

He also created real life inventions when he was an engineer student at l’École Centrale. His most famous imaginary machine remains the pianocktail that was meant to prepare drinks while being carried by the musicnote. Additionally he is the creator of various paintings, drawings and sketches.

Download the press release here

2020 celebrates the centenary of Boris Vian’s birth, to know more about the centenary, click here 

© photos Agathe Tissier

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