Tuesday, March 30, 2010
50 Drawings to Murder Magic.
Antonin Artaud , one of the 20th century’s most important theoreticians of drama, was maybe the last visionary poet and a theorist of cruelty as principal life force. He was a playwright and actor and well read in esoteric and occult texts from the Upanishads to Novalis. For him art was indistinguishable from magic and his use of it was no ‘tourism of the irrational’ but a fervent and often desperate attempt to ‘reunite what is separated and to rebuild what is destroyed’. But nine years of incarceration in French mental asylums, following a disillusioning trip to Mexico had destroyed his belief in magic as positive and transformative power and the whole world seemed to have become demonic and cannibalistic, persecutory and vampiristic around him.
This incredible piece magic in itself bears the facsimile reproductions taken from the last 12 of the 406 ‘little schoolchild notebooks’ which he had been pencil-carving into from 1945 to 1948. They are witness to a last warding off in stunning works of exorcism by one surrealist whose appetite for life and culture was terrifying and hallucinatory in the best sense of the word.
His incantatory text, which opens the book - reproduced in facsimile as well, was the last he wrote, 2 months before his death.