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Antonin Artaud, Stephen Barber (ed.): “The Human Face” and Other Writings on His Drawings

Antonin Artaud, Stephen Barber (ed.)

“The Human Face” and Other Writings on His Drawings

Translated by Clayton Eshleman

Softcover, 128 pages

Date of publication: 15.11.2021

The many major exhibitions of Antonin Artaud’s drawings and drawn notebook pages in recent years—at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Vienna’s Museum moderner Kunst (mumok), and Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou—have entirely transformed perceptions of the artits's work, reorienting it towards the artworks of his final years. This volume collects all three of Artaud’s major writings on his artworks, undertaken during the same era as his essay on the work of Van Gogh, “the man suicided by society.” All three texts form intensive anatomical explorations and reconfigurations. Artaud’s drawings oscillate between facial portraits and fragmentary arenas of corporeal contestation.

 

“The Human Face” (1947) was written as the catalogue text for Artaud’s one and only gallery exhibition of his drawings during his lifetime, and focuses on his approach to making portraits of his friends at the decrepit pavilion in the Paris suburbs where he spent the final year of his life. “Ten years that language is gone” (1947) examines the drawings Artaud made in his notebooks—his main creative medium at the end of his life—and their capacity to spark his creativity when language failed him. “50 Drawings to assassinate magic” (1948), the residue of an abandoned book of Artaud’s drawings, approaches the act of drawing as part of the weaponry deployed by Artaud at the very end of his life to combat malevolent assaults and attempted acts of assassination. Together these three extraordinary texts—pitched between writing and image—project Artaud’s ferocious engagement with the act of drawing.

  • Modernism
  • drawing
  • avant-garde
  • art

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Antonin Artaud

Antonin Artaud

(1896–1948) is one of the seminal figures of twentieth century writing, art and sound experimentation, known especially for his work with the Surrealist movement, his performance theories, his asylum incarcerations, and his artworks which have been exhibited in major exhibitions, at New York’s MOMA and many other art-museums.

Stephen Barber

is the author of twenty-five books, including seven novels, most recently White Noise Ballrooms and The Projectionists. Eadweard Muybridge and the Future Projections of the Moving Image. He has received several awards for his books, which have been translated into many languages, such as Japanese and Chinese. The Independent newspaper (London) once called him “the most dangerous man in Europe.” He is a professor at the Kingston School of Art, Kingston University, London, and a visiting research fellow at the Free University Berlin and Keio University Tokyo.
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