Artaud’s Homage to Van Gough




Rena Victoria’s return in a more fleshy form (ink and paper) is equivalent to Eve returning to Adam in Paradise. A New Genesis is under way, as I own four pages of divine suggestions worthy of the Sistine chapel, such as this one;

“I see you are quite left-leaning. Please do not, in your urban world, be too hard on cattle producers and red-neck women. We are human too!”

Perhaps this is not a commandment from the omnipotent pedagogy, but, it is a wished for course correction that points the prow of my ship towards a more feminine, thus peaceful star. If I don’t want the source of my inspiration flow, to be cut-off, I will do my best to write the most profound apology in the history of the English language. James Joyce, move over.

For a warm up I am going to author a short story about two French lunatics who escape from the booby hatch and hop a steamer to America in 1872. Going West, they buy a cattle ranch in Montana, and are pleased that they fit right in. Here, scary psychotic folks carrying a big gun are held in high esteem. In no time Vince and Art have acquired a reputation.

“Don’t get in these guys way, because they are bad-ass hombres – even though they’re from France.”

Just put a cowboy hat on Gough and Artaud, and we got one hell of a psychological western thriller that tells the world Artists and Mad Men – are human beings too!

Do you think there is a Cultural Shootout coming, between me and my Muse, at the ‘I’m O.K. You’re O.K. Coral’? I think this is exciting as all hell!

Jon Presco

A few days before the opening of a van Gogh exhibition in Paris in 1947, gallery owner Pierre Loeb suggested that Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) write about the painter. Challenging the thesis of alienation, Artaud was determined to show how van Gogh’s exceptional lucidity made lesser minds uncomfortable.

Wishing to prevent him from uttering certain “intolerable truths”, those who were disturbed by his painting drove him to suicide.

In 1947, one year after having spent nine years in psychiatric hospitals, Antonin Artaud published a beautiful book as an apologia of Vincent Van Gogh, “suicided by society” like every other visionaries that has been categorized as mad. Artaud, fifteen years before Michel Foucault, affirms that madness has been created by psychiatric medicine and not the other way around. He accuses doctors and Van Gogh’s brother Theo, to have, not only ignored, but actively suppress the expression of the painter’s art.
The invention of the adjective suicided illustrates exactly the process of psychiatry. By having elaborated this medicine method, society did not want simply to kill those that it could not assimilate (like it would do for prisoners for example), but it wanted them to recognize themselves their vision as a pathology and therefore to make them commit a social suicide.

Just like Heliogabalus or the Crowned Anarchist (we’ll see it in another article sometimes), Antonin Artaud’s literary style is magnificent and untranslatable. One of the most illustrative example of that is Artaud’s obsession for Van Gogh’s “coup de pinceau”, which literally means paint brush’s strike and therefore express the painter’s power but the same expression is the correct expression to talk more simply of any painter’s action on the canvas…
Nevertheless, I attempted to translate by myself several excerpts and I already apologize for providing such badly transcripts in English (the original version in French is below):

Antonin Artaud
One can speak of the good mental health of Van Gogh who, in his whole adult life, cooked only one of his hands and did nothing else except once to cut off his left ear,
in a world in which every day one eats vagina cooked in green sauce or penis of newborn child whipped and beaten to a pulp,
just as it is when plucked from the sex of its mother.
And this is not an image, but a fact abundantly and daily repeated and cultivated throughout the world.
And this, however delirious this statement may seem, is how modern life maintains its old atmosphere of debauchery, anarchy, disorder, delirium, derangement, chronic insanity, bourgeois inertia, psychic anomaly (for it is not man but the world which has become abnormal), deliberate dishonesty and notorious hypocrisy, stingy contempt for everything that shows breeding.
insistence on an entire order based on the fulfillment of a primitive injustice, in short, of organized crime.
Things are going badly because sick consciousness has a vested interest right now in not recovering from its sickness. This is why a tainted society has invented psychiatry to defend itself against the investigations of certain superior intellects whose faculties of divination would be troublesome.
…In comparison with the lucidity of Van Gogh, which is a dynamic force, psychiatry is no better than a den of apes who are themselves obsessed and persecuted and who possess nothing to mitigate the most appalling states of anguish and human suffocation but a ridiculous terminology,
worthy product of their damaged brains.

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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2 Responses to Artaud’s Homage to Van Gough

  1. Reblogged this on rosamondpress and commented:

    After hearing my Rena forty-four years, and considering going to a Montana to see her, I saw a cultural show-down, not unlike the one when I went to the Wayne Morse Plaza last week. SLEEPS was shot down by the Mayor Kitty. Are the Rosy Chalk Wars over? Note the stary night and Iren’s mural.

  2. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    In January 2014 I did a series of posts about a imaginary Art Festival being held in Bozeman Monatana. Artaud and VanGough were coming in on the high noon train to attend. They represented the foreign eliment lacking in this cowboy town. To read the article wherein the Bozeman Arts Thing, defends the National Endowment of the Arts, is why Trump fears artists more than the press. “As executive orders continue, Americans need to keep their focus on assessing their merits in terms of community. For example, the federal arts and history funding programs, National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, are possibly going to be terminated.
    Budgetary considerations can hardly be the reason as these organizations operate in the millions, not billions, something akin to one or two military aircraft. Yet they touch every state, providing funding and opportunities for opera companies (consider Bozeman’s own Intermountain Opera), for hundreds of Shakespeare productions through outreach to rural communities, for museums, theatre companies, and for grants to arts and history training programs for young people – cultural enrichment for communities in 50 states.”

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