LOST ILLUSIONS

by Alana Valentine

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LOST ILLUSIONS

by Alana Valentine

Lost Illusions is an adaptation of the middle section of Balzac's 19th Century novel 'Illusions perdues', part of La Comédie humaine. An ambitious young poet, Lucien, travels to Paris to realise his ambitions as a writer but comes to grief in love, life and his art. It a cautionary tale - a dark parable about the snakes and ladders of life, a set of choices which all of us, especially young artists, are sure to confront on the road ahead.

Commissioned by NIDA in 2010, Balzac writes against the fashionable romanticism of his age, insisting that a focus on individualism and sentimentality fails to present a meaningful perspective on society. In many ways Valentine's choosing to adapt Balzac is consistent with the recurring concerns of her own body of work as an artist, passionately focussed on contemporary Australian society in all its linguistic and cultural diversity but also, increasingly, mistrustful of the cult of individuality as a reliable lens through which to view identity. Valentine writes, "for me, it is community which shapes and nurtures us, which supports or destroys us and in this adaptation of Lost Illusions I have been fascinated to draw a portrait of a judgmental, brutal, ambitious and competitive community which can both cripple and elevate its members."

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