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Antonin Artaud

David Levine (1926-2009)


Signed and dated 68

Pen and ink

7 x 7 inches

New York Review of Books, 29 February 1968, 'Poet of Unreason' by John Weightman (a review of Artaud Anthology, edited and translated by Jack Hirschman)

'The Illustrators. The British Art of Illustration 1894-2020', Chris Beetles Gallery, November 2020-January 2021, No 190

Antonin Artaud

French-born Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) began his career as an actor, both on stage, in the troupe of his teacher, Charles Dullin, at the Théâtre de L’Atelier, Paris, and on screen in such masterpieces of silent cinema as Abel Gance’s
Napoleon (1927) and Carl Theodor Dreyer’s La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (1928). In 1926, he founded the Théâtre Alfred-Jarry with Robert Aron and Roger Vitrac, and there staged one of his earliest plays. However, he demonstrated his full power as an experimental director only a decade later, when, in 1935, he staged Shelley’s The Cenci at the Théâtre des Folies-Wagram. This put into practice his manifestos of a ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ (1932), which sought to wake an audience from its false sense of reality through a violent assault on its senses, and especially the use of image and sound rather than language. Always physically and mentally fragile, he spent much of his later life in psychiatric hospitals, though continued to write until his death, publishing, among other works, Le Théâtre et son double (1938), which includes his manifestos and has proved highly influential on subsequent theatre practitioners, including Samuel Beckett and Peter Brook.

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