Unreal Nature

February 2, 2016

Respiration of the Spaces

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:51 am

…they reveal a crafty deliberation, slyly inverting their terms and willfully throwing their mechanisms of communication out of gear.

Continuing through Art Brut by Michel Thévoz (1995):

… whenever they take to writing, makers of Art Brut are inclined to emphasize the actual letters of words and disrupt their linear arrangement, as if by such distortions they were confusedly trying to work their way back to the original continuity between picturing and writing. Or are these irregularities to be attributed to a simple inability to withdraw from the body space and enter into the logical and atopical relations which govern alphabetic writing?

[line break added] For the typographical system is based essentially on the standardization and ordered sequence of the signs, leaving out of account their position on the field of the sheet. In a page of writing, the position of a word at the beginning or end of a page or line is a matter of chance, independent of the meaning and immaterial to it.

[line break added] Now in the writings of Constance Schwarzlin, Palanc, Gustav or Teresa Ottalo, one is made keenly aware of the distortion of the letters, the fluctuation of the lines, the general respiration of the spaces, the pause of the blanks, the erection of the text — in short, a perverse eroticization of what should be considered as the signs constituting a purely logical relation. Alphabetical writing, which appeared to have accomplished the desexualization of words, thus becomes paradoxically the object of a libidinal reinvestment, and what was bodily suppressed reappears in the very signs of its obliteration.

So we might apply to the makers of Art Brut in general what was said in connection with Jules Doudin: their disregard of spelling and lettering involves too many disruptions on the level of meaning for it to be considered a simple matter of mental inability. The very reverse is true: in their handling of the different languages (oral, written, figurative) they reveal a crafty deliberation, slyly inverting their terms and willfully throwing their mechanisms of communication out of gear.

My most recent previous post from Thévoz’s book is here.

-Julie

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