This selection of letters (1945-1947) from Artaud’s consummate work, Suppôts et Suppliciations [Henchmen and Torturings] gives a vivid intimate view of Artaud’s final years. They show Artaud at his most exposed: explosive, tragic, sad, even humorous. Each of the correspondents were deply affected, since Artaud's project at this time was essentially to make an 'attack / on the mind of the public'.
Artaud recounts his torture and violation in asylums, his crucifixion two thousand years ago in Golgotha, his deception by occult initiates and doubles, and his intended journey to Tibet, where he hopes to end the 'maneuvers of obscene bewitchment'. Artaud also speaks of his plan to create a 'body without organs' and extends this idea to the visual arts, where he argues that painting and drawing must wage a ceaseless battle against the limits of representation.
The letters have never before been translated into English. Peter Valente and Cole Heinowitz have done a magnificent job with the letters, and Karolina Urbaniak and Martin Bladh have presented the images and the interior design to their usual gold standard. With colour photographs, decorated endpapers and silk ribbon. An important work.
London: Infinity Land Press, 2020. Hardback, 219 pages. New.