Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945 - 55

Click to follow
The Independent Online
'At the moment, I want to destroy my thought and my spirit. Over and above thought, the spirit and the conscience. I do not want to suppose anything, to admit anything, to enter into anything, to discuss anything . . .'

There is a long silence, interrupted by the crackle of a burning log . . . I remember him confiding to me one day that he had found in the chloral the freedom he was seeking, the deliverance from his obsessions, which he called his 'internal rotation'. I observe, near the hearth, the metal rod he snapped during his last nocturnal delirium. At these times, he becomes imbued with a devilish strength.

Outside there are pine trees and a lodge buried in the undergrowth. He tells me this is the morgue and those woods around it, only 200 metres away from the woods on one side and factory chimneys on the other, could well be Andersen's 'Garden of Death'.

Antonin Artaud contemplated his end for weeks. At last he found the freedom he was so desperately seeking.

Interview with Antonin Artaud by Jean Marabini, in Combat, 5 March 1948

(Trans: Emmanuelle de la Lubie)

Paris Post War: Art and Existentialism 1945-55 at the Tate Gallery until 5 September. Sponsored by the Independent and supported by the French Embassy in London.