This is the first solo exhibition dedicated to the work of Antonin Artaud to be staged in the UK, and more significantly to focus on the rarely seen notebooks which Artaud began working on from the time of his arrival at the Rodez mental asylum in 1945, until his death at the Ivry clinic in 1948. The eventual 20,000 pages of image-text amalgam constitute one of his most significant bodies of work. An unclassifiable volume of writing and drawing. Portraits, names, calculations, glossolalia, sigils, lists of drugs and foods stuffs, formulae, totems, lexicons, anatomies, objects, (boxes, chains and nails), machines and implements of obscure purpose. There are numerous fragments, blanks and extended texts whose occasional resemblance to poetry is incidental to another more occluded but violent operation, and where frequently there is enacted a puncturing of the surface with the tip of the pencil, and a repetitive gesture which gives the page “an anthracitic gleam”. Artaud was subjected to repeated sessions of electro shock treatment during his time at Rodez, (1945-46) and the books are inscribed with the trace of this experience, sometimes taking the form of incantations and exorcisms, devices designed to turn this incarceration against itself, to project a sovereignty in the face of institutionalised and occult violence, and to fashion a new body according to his own reimagined anatomy, a hardened and insubordinate form.
More info here.
Private View: 14 February 2019, 6.30 – 8.30pm
Exhibition opening hours: Thursday – Saturday, 12.00 – 6.00pm