Antonin Artaud

Projet dessins pour Artaud

‘these are not drawings, / they do not figure anything / do not disfigure anything, / are not there to construct, / edify / institute / a world / even abstract, / these are notes, / words / trumeaux, / they are ardent, / corrosive, / incisive, / spurting forth / from I don’t know what whirlwind / of under-maxillary / under-spatulary / vitriol / for they are there as if nailed down / and destined no longer to move, / trumeaux then, / but making their apocalypse / for they have said too much about it to be born / and have said too much in being born / not to be reborn / and take on their body / then authentically.

And these drawings, these members gathering themselves together to take on a body, they would be nothing if we did not leave the written page. To understand them, Antonin Artaud tells us, once having left this written page we must furthermore “enter into the real”, an operation that afterward would not be sufficient if we did leave “the real, to enter into the surreal”, into that which they plunge us and from which they come, these drawings “are in fact / only the commentary of an action that has really taken place, / the figuration / on the circumsribed paper / of a thrust that has taken place / and has produced magentically and magically its effects.”

Susan Sontag wrote a biography of Artaud, noting that his

“work denies that there is any difference between art and thought, between poetry and truth. Despite the breaks in exposition and the varying of “forms” within each work, everything he wrote advances a line of argument. Artaud is always didactic… Artaud is someone who has made a spiritual trip for us—a shaman. It would be presumptuous to reduce the geography of Artaud’s trip to what can be colonized. Its authority lies in the parts that yield nothing for the reader except intense discomfort of the imagination.”

Artaud quoted from The Secret Art of Antonin Artaud, Trans Mary Ann Caws. MIT Press, London 1998:pp.43

Sontag quote  reproduced from

Image reproduced from