“The Human Face” and Other Writings on His Drawings (Paperback)
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The first comprehensive collection in English of Antonin Artaud’s writings on his artworks.
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, and Paris’s Centre Georges Pompidou—have entirely transformed our perception of his work, reorienting it toward the artworks of his final years. This volume collects all three of Artaud’s major writings on his artworks. “The Human Face” (1947) was written as the catalog text for Artaud’s only gallery exhibition of his drawings during his lifetime, focusing 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 electrify 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.
About the Author
Antonin Artaud (1895–1948) was a French dramatist, poet, essayist, actor, and theater director, widely recognized as one of the major figures of twentieth-century theater and the European avant-garde.
Stephen Barber is the author/editor of several books on Artaud. He is professor at the Kingston School of Art, Kingston University London, and a visiting research fellow at the Free University Berlin and Keio University Tokyo.
Clayton Eshleman (1935-2021) spent many decades on his translations of Artaud’s work. He was also an acclaimed poet and translator of other works, such as those of Aimé Césaire, and was a professor notably at the California Institute of the Arts and UCLA.