Thursday, September 8, 2011

Olivier Allais (1954-2011) [168]

























On September 1, 2011 we lost a very close and dear friend, Olivier Allais. I say "we" because there were hundreds of people at the services for Olivier yesterday (September 7) here in Paris and many more from around the world who were blessed with the presence of this gentle and beautiful man.

Olivier was like a big brother to me, but also to these many friends he had around the world from Australia to New York to China to Brazil. His was a spiritual quest and his project was the route he took and the people he collected along the way (including me). He knew both how to offer love and maybe more importantly, how to receive it. He was an articulate listener, a curious traveler and a friend with a seeming endless reservoir of love. While Olivier's ashes are interred at Pere Lachaise in Paris, his presence is literally spread across the planet.

A French man with an appetite for the world, Olivier spent several years in China and in early 2010 asked me about putting together an exhibition of A Book About Death in Beijing where he had many contacts with artists, curators and museum directors. A long SKYPE conversation with ABAD artist Alessandro Rolandi and Olivier from Beijing began the process of developing mirror sites for the main web pages of ABAD in China (the pages you are now reading are blocked in Beijing) and proposals for various museums and art centers in China. And while Olivier wasn't a contributing artist to the project, it intrigued him personally. We spent hours discussing the project in all its manifestations and possibilities.

However Olivier's health prevented him from moving forward as quickly as he wanted to for an exhibition. And his heart, simply, could no longer support his eagerness for this world.

On his FaceBook page in the "About Olivier" section he reminded us of what the journey was all about when he wrote: "Exploring the now."

It is hard to say we lost a great friend when we feel him with us, but we will miss his gentle touch and generous presence.  With love, Olivier, we celebrate your life.

9 comments:

Patricia Sahertian said...

i am sorry for your loss and extend my deepest sympathy.

CB said...

What a wondrous and lasting legacy he leaves . . .

artphotogirl said...

Beautiful elegy, Matthew. Our thoughts are with you.

Kathleen McHugh/mchughart.net said...

All the attributes of your friend can be seen in his eyes. Very sorry to read that he left this life. Love remains, and is the glue that connects.

Moira said...

I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like an inspiring person on many levels. Thank you for sharing your reflections on his friendship and your connection.

Anonymous said...

so sorry for your loss

Heather Matthew said...

Yes a beautiful eulogy Matthew, you have brought someone to life through your words and his spirit will continue to live on through them. Thank-you for sharing his life with us who have never known him

Anonymous said...

A moving eulogy indeed. I am saddened by your loss and ABAD's loss. Knowing the fleeting and random nature of life on earth only strengthens my desire to make the most of it every day.

Phyllis said...

I have asked for Olivier to be remembered at two services at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London: All Saints Sunday 30 Oct at 10 am and All Souls Sung Eucharist Wed 2nd Nov.
The Faure Requiem will be sung by the choir on Wed 2nd Nov with an orchestra, and will be the first webcast by St Martin's. I know the timing is challenging, and perhaps you can find a way to record it from the webcast. It will be a moving ceremony.
I will be remembering Olivier at both services, and he has been remembered in prayers by the congregation.