Item description for 50 Drawings to Murder Magic (The French List) by Antonin Artaud, Donald Nicholson-Smith & Evelyne Grossman...
Antonin Artaud was a poet, theorist, philosopher, essayist, playwright, actor and director, and one of the 20th century's most important theoreticians of drama. His theory of the ‘Theatre of Cruelty' has influenced playwrights as diverse as Beckett, Genet, Albee and Gelber. Magic was always a central concept for Artaud, and in nearly all his writing it is given the most positive force, as something capable of healing the rift between words and things, culture and life. But during his nine years of incarceration in mental asylums, magic seemed to lose its illuminating transformative power and to become demonic and persecutory. Artaud entered the realm of spectres and vampires which he believed were sucking the vitality from his mind and body.
Artaud later filled twelve little exercise books with an account of his struggles to escape this physical, psychological and artistic hell. The first eleven books are filled with fragments of writing and extraordinary sketches of totemic figures, pierced bodies and enigmatic machines. Two months before his death, he took a twelfth exercise book and wrote a remarkable, incantatory text, 50 Drawings to Murder Magic. It was the last thing he wrote.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 8.5" Height: 11.25" Weight: 1.75 lbs.
Release Date Mar 18, 2008
Publisher Seagull Books
ISBN 1905422660 ISBN13 9781905422661
Availability 0 units.
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Each Page Is An Exercise In Theater (From Ahadada Books) Mar 28, 2008
This volume is a moving and challenging compilation of drawings executed (irony intended) between 1946 to 1948 in elementary school exercise books. The selection of drawings was done by Artaud for a publication planned by Loeb Gallery in Paris, and the poet wrote a text (his last) to accompany it. Artaud died before the project could be brought to fruition. The design of this book is wonderful: the cover accurately reproduces the blue of the student notebooks of the time along with its cloyingly sentimental drawing of fields and haystacks, and on the verso tables for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. We also see the smudges, tears, stains that will be mirrored on the yellowing, blue-gridded pages within. What strikes us is the utter poverty of the poet forced to use such humble media for his writings and designs. We witness his meat machine--even then secretly sapped and undermined by cancer--as the vision trembles through the muted explosions of chemical-induced electricity to cause the muscles to expand and contract with varying degrees of delicacy. We see the piercing of the page--stabbed 11--perhaps 12 times--in ecstacy, frustration, or as part of a private "gris-gris" ritual--by the poet, who includes nails, thorns, and other emblems of ritualistic transfixions in his cruel drawings. The drawings themselves give us glimpses of the poet's [...], of his thyroid, of lung-like sacks collapsed upon a scream; of bodies dissected and exploded and simplified to maps of layered graphite, and of electrical armature-like processes connected by sinister, exfoliating wires. There is also a heroic landscape of words written, smeared, struck through, that encase the drawings.
Now I know the objective plastic power of the breath
says Antonin Artaud, and in our contemplation--our encounter--with this wonderful volume--we know it too.