Antonin Artaud

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"Artaud" redirects here. Antonin Artaud_sentence_0

For the 1973 Pescado Rabioso album, see Artaud (album). Antonin Artaud_sentence_1

Antonin Artaud_table_infobox_0

Antonin ArtaudAntonin Artaud_header_cell_0_0_0
BornAntonin Artaud_header_cell_0_1_0 Antoine-Marie-Joseph Artaud

(1896-09-04)4 September 1896 Marseille, FranceAntonin Artaud_cell_0_1_1

DiedAntonin Artaud_header_cell_0_2_0 4 March 1948(1948-03-04) (aged 51)

FranceAntonin Artaud_cell_0_2_1

NationalityAntonin Artaud_header_cell_0_3_0 FrenchAntonin Artaud_cell_0_3_1
EducationAntonin Artaud_header_cell_0_4_0 Studied at the Collège du Sacré-CœurAntonin Artaud_cell_0_4_1
OccupationAntonin Artaud_header_cell_0_5_0 Theatre director, poet, actor, artist, essayistAntonin Artaud_cell_0_5_1
Known forAntonin Artaud_header_cell_0_6_0 Theatre of CrueltyAntonin Artaud_cell_0_6_1
Notable workAntonin Artaud_header_cell_0_7_0 The Theatre and Its DoubleAntonin Artaud_cell_0_7_1

Antoine Marie Joseph Paul Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud (French: [aʁto; 4 September 1896 – 4 March 1948), was a French dramatist, poet, essayist, actor, and theatre director, widely recognized as one of the major figures of twentieth-century theatre and the European avant-garde. Antonin Artaud_sentence_2

He is best known for conceptualizing a 'Theatre of Cruelty'. Antonin Artaud_sentence_3

His ideas were adopted by such playwrights as Orton and Genet and were vividly seen in Barrault's adaptation of Kafka's The Trial (1947). Antonin Artaud_sentence_4

Early life Antonin Artaud_section_0

Antonin Artaud was born in Marseille, France, to Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud. Antonin Artaud_sentence_5

Both his parents were natives of Smyrna (modern-day İzmir), and he was greatly affected by his Greek ancestry. Antonin Artaud_sentence_6

Antoine-Roi Artaud was a shipowner. Antonin Artaud_sentence_7

Euphrasie gave birth to nine children, but four were stillborn and two others died in childhood. Antonin Artaud_sentence_8

Artaud was diagnosed with meningitis at age five, a disease which had no cure at the time. Antonin Artaud_sentence_9

Biographer David Shafer points out, "given the frequency of such misdiagnoses, coupled with the absence of a treatment (and consequent near-minimal survival rate) and the symptoms he had, it’s unlikely that Artaud actually contracted it." Antonin Artaud_sentence_10

After a long struggle including a comatose period, a severely weakened Antonin survived. Antonin Artaud_sentence_11

Artaud's parents arranged a series of sanatorium stays for their temperamental son, which were both prolonged and expensive. Antonin Artaud_sentence_12

This lasted five years, with a break of two months in June and July 1916, when Artaud was conscripted into the French Army. Antonin Artaud_sentence_13

He was discharged due to addiction to laudanum and mental instability. Antonin Artaud_sentence_14

During Artaud's "rest cures" at the sanatorium, he read Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, and Edgar Allan Poe. Antonin Artaud_sentence_15

In May 1919, the director of the sanatorium prescribed laudanum for Artaud, precipitating a lifelong addiction to that and other opiates. Antonin Artaud_sentence_16

He suffered a nervous breakdown at age 19; this was not the end of his mental illness. Antonin Artaud_sentence_17

Career Antonin Artaud_section_1

In March 1921, Artaud moved to Paris to pursue a career as a writer (against his father's wishes). Antonin Artaud_sentence_18

While training and performing with directors including Charles Dullin and Georges Pitoëff, he continued to write both poetry and essays. Antonin Artaud_sentence_19

At the age of 27, he mailed some of his poems to the journal La Nouvelle Revue Française; they were rejected, but the editor, Jacques Rivière, wrote back seeking to understand him, and a relationship via letters developed. Antonin Artaud_sentence_20

Their compilation into an epistolary work, Correspondance avec Jacques Rivière, was Artaud's first major publication. Antonin Artaud_sentence_21

His first work in the theatre was with French theatre director Lugné Poe who described Artaud as "a painter lost in the midst of actors". Antonin Artaud_sentence_22

Apprenticeship with Charles Dullin Antonin Artaud_section_2

Dullin is one of the celebrated French "teacher-directors" with whom Artaud worked, along with Jacques Copeau, André Antoine, and Firmin Gémier. Antonin Artaud_sentence_23

Artaud was taken on as an apprentice by Dullin in 1921, at his Théâtre de l'Atelier. Antonin Artaud_sentence_24

He worked as a member of with Dullin's troupe for eighteen months, training ten to twelve hours a day. Antonin Artaud_sentence_25

Artaud was quoted as saying of Dullin, "Hearing Dullin teach I feel that I'm rediscovering ancient secrets and a whole forgotten mystique of production". Antonin Artaud_sentence_26

Artaud came to disagree with many of Dullin's teachings. Antonin Artaud_sentence_27

He left the troupe after a disagreement over his performance of the Emperor Charlemagne in Alexandre Arnoux's Huon de Bordeaux. Antonin Artaud_sentence_28

Work in the cinema (1923–1935) Antonin Artaud_section_3

Artaud cultivated a great interest in cinema as well, working as a critic, actor, and writing film scenarios. Antonin Artaud_sentence_29

Artaud's performance as Jean-Paul Marat in Abel Gance's Napoleon (1927) used exaggerated movements to convey the fire of Marat's personality. Antonin Artaud_sentence_30

He also played the monk Massieu in Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). Antonin Artaud_sentence_31

He wrote a number of film scenarios, and ten are listed in his Complete Works. Antonin Artaud_sentence_32

As Ros Murray points out, 'one is a fragment, four were written under a pseudonym, and one was lost altogether.' Antonin Artaud_sentence_33

The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928) Antonin Artaud_section_4

Only one of Artaud's scenarios was produced, The Seashell and the Clergyman (1928). Antonin Artaud_sentence_34

Directed by Germaine Dulac, it is often considered the first surrealist film. Antonin Artaud_sentence_35

This film influenced Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, two key Spanish surrealists, when they made Un Chien Andalou (1929). Antonin Artaud_sentence_36

Association with Surrealists Antonin Artaud_section_5

Artaud was briefly associated with the Surrealists, before being expelled by André Breton in 1927, shortly after the Surrealists aligned themselves with the Communist Party in France. Antonin Artaud_sentence_37

Scholar Ros Murray asserts, 'Artaud was not into politics at all, writing things like: "I shit on Marxism."' Antonin Artaud_sentence_38

Additionally, 'Breton was becoming very anti-theatre because he saw theatre as being bourgeois and anti-revolutionary.' Antonin Artaud_sentence_39

Artaud ends his manifesto for the Theatre Alfred Jarry, 'The Manifesto for an Abortive Theatre' (1926/27), with a direct attack on the Surrealists, who he calls 'bog-paper revolutionaries' that would 'make us believe that to produce theatre today is a counter-revolutionary endeavour'. Antonin Artaud_sentence_40

He declares they are 'bowing down to Communism', which is 'a lazy man's revolution', and calls for a more 'essential metamorphosis' of society. Antonin Artaud_sentence_41

Theatre Alfred Jarry (1926–1929) Antonin Artaud_section_6

In 1926, Artaud founded the Theatre Alfred Jarry with Robert Aron and expelled Surrealist Roger Vitrac. Antonin Artaud_sentence_42

They staged four productions between June 1927 and January 1929. Antonin Artaud_sentence_43

The Theatre was extremely short-lived, but was attended by an enormous range of European artists, including Arthur Adamov, André Gide, and Paul Valéry. Antonin Artaud_sentence_44

Productions at Theatre Alfred Jarry Antonin Artaud_section_7

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  • The theatre's inaugural production was 1 June 1927, and featured Artaud's Ventre brûlé; ou La Mère folle (Burnt Belly, or the Mad Mother), Vitrac's Les Mystères de l’amour (The Mysteries of Love), and Aron's Gigogne.Antonin Artaud_item_0_0
  • The second production was 14 January 1928 and 'consisted of a screening of Vsevolod Pudovkin's 1926 film Mat' (as La Mère), and a performance of the last act of Paul Claudel’s Le Partage de midi.'Antonin Artaud_item_0_1
  • The third production, on 2 and 9 June 1928, was August Strindberg's A Dream Play.Antonin Artaud_item_0_2
  • The final production was Vitrac's Victor; ou, Le pouvoir aux les enfants, which ran 24 and 29 December 1928 and 5 January 1929.Antonin Artaud_item_0_3

The theatre advertised that they would produce Artaud's play Jet de sang in their 1926–1927 season, but it was never mounted and was not premiered until 40 years later. Antonin Artaud_sentence_45

Artaud at the Paris Colonial Exposition (1931) Antonin Artaud_section_8

In 1931, Artaud saw Balinese dance performed at the Paris Colonial Exposition. Antonin Artaud_sentence_46

Although he did not fully understand the intentions and ideas behind traditional Balinese performance, it influenced many of his ideas for theatre. Antonin Artaud_sentence_47

Scholar Adrian Curtin has noted the significance of the soundscape that accompanied the event, stating that Artaud was struck by 'the 'hypnotic' rhythms of the gamelan ensemble, its range of percussive effects, the variety of timbres that the musicians produced, and – most importantly, perhaps – the way in which the dancers' movements interacted dynamically with the musical elements instead of simply functioning as a type of background accompaniment.' Antonin Artaud_sentence_48

Also during this year, Artaud's 'First Manifesto for a Theatre of Cruelty' was published in La Nouvelle Revue Française; it would later appear as a chapter in The Theatre and Its Double. Antonin Artaud_sentence_49

The Cenci (1935) Antonin Artaud_section_9

In 1935 Artaud staged a production of Percy Bysshe Shelley's The Cenci at the Théâtre des Folies-Wagram in Paris. Antonin Artaud_sentence_50

The drama contains themes of abuse, incest, violence, murder and betrayal. Antonin Artaud_sentence_51

In Artaud's stage directions, he described the opening scene as "suggestive of extreme atmospheric turbulence, with wind-blown drapes, waves of suddenly amplified sound, and crowds of figures engaged in 'furious orgy'", accompanied by "a chorus of church bells", as well as the presence of numerous large mannequins. Antonin Artaud_sentence_52

In this scene, which is often referred to as "the banquet scene", Dullin's influence on Artaud is very clear, as both the sounds of bells and the sounds of amplified footsteps were present, along with the strongly emphasized theme of elemental forces. Antonin Artaud_sentence_53

Scholar Adrian Curtin has argued for the importance of the 'sonic aspects of the production, which did not merely support the action but motivated it obliquely.' Antonin Artaud_sentence_54

While Shelley's version of The Cenci conveyed the motivations and anguish of the Cenci's daughter Beatrice with her father through monologues, Artaud was much more concerned with conveying the menacing nature of the Cenci's presence and the reverberations of their incest relationship though physical discordance, as if an invisible "force-field" surrounded them. Antonin Artaud_sentence_55

Artaud's strong interest in oriental theater, specifically Balinese and Chinese, was in part shared by his mentor Dullin, but Dullin, unlike Artaud, did not think Western theater should be adopting oriental language and style. Antonin Artaud_sentence_56

He was quoted as saying of Artaud's influences from oriental theater, "To want to impose on our Western theater rules of a theatre of a long tradition which has its own symbolic language would be a great mistake." Antonin Artaud_sentence_57

Artaud's implementation of Dullin's sensory awareness exercises into the stage production were clearly observable in The Cenci, Jane Goodall writes of the performance, Antonin Artaud_sentence_58

The Cenci was a commercial failure, although it employed innovative sound effects—including the first theatrical use of the electronic instrument the Ondes Martenot—and had a set designed by Balthus. Antonin Artaud_sentence_59

Travels and institutionalisation Antonin Artaud_section_10

Journey to Mexico Antonin Artaud_section_11

In 1935 Artaud decided to go to Mexico, where he was convinced there was 'a sort of deep movement in favour of a return to civilisation before Cortez'. Antonin Artaud_sentence_60

He received a grant to travel to Mexico, where in 1936 he met his first Mexican-Parisian friend, the painter Federico Cantú, when Cantú gave lectures on the decadence of Western civilization. Antonin Artaud_sentence_61

Artaud also studied and lived with the Tarahumaran people and participated in peyote rites, his writings about which were later released in a volume called Voyage to the Land of the Tarahumara, published in English under the title The Peyote Dance (1976). Antonin Artaud_sentence_62

The content of this work closely resembles the poems of his later days, concerned primarily with the supernatural. Antonin Artaud_sentence_63

Artaud also recorded his horrific withdrawal from heroin upon entering the land of the Tarahumaras. Antonin Artaud_sentence_64

Having deserted his last supply of the drug at a mountainside, he literally had to be hoisted onto his horse and soon resembled, in his words, "a giant, inflamed gum". Antonin Artaud_sentence_65

Artaud would return to opiates later in life. Antonin Artaud_sentence_66

Ireland and repatriation to France Antonin Artaud_section_12

In 1937, Artaud returned to France, where he obtained a walking stick of knotted wood that he believed belonged not only to St. Antonin Artaud_sentence_67 Patrick, but also Lucifer and Jesus Christ. Antonin Artaud_sentence_68

Artaud traveled to Ireland, landing at Cobh and travelling to Galway in an effort to return the staff. Antonin Artaud_sentence_69

However, speaking very little English and no Irish whatsoever, he was unable to make himself understood. Antonin Artaud_sentence_70

He would not have been admitted at Cobh, according to Irish government documents, except that he carried a letter of introduction from the Paris embassy. Antonin Artaud_sentence_71

Most of his trip was spent in a hotel room he was unable to pay for. Antonin Artaud_sentence_72

He was forcibly removed from the grounds of Milltown House, a Jesuit community, when he refused to leave. Antonin Artaud_sentence_73

Before deportation he was briefly confined in the notorious Mountjoy Prison. Antonin Artaud_sentence_74

According to Irish Government papers he was deported as "a destitute and undesirable alien". Antonin Artaud_sentence_75

On his return trip by ship, Artaud believed he was being attacked by two crew members, and he retaliated. Antonin Artaud_sentence_76

He was arrested and put in a straitjacket. Antonin Artaud_sentence_77

His return from Ireland brought about the beginning of the final phase of Artaud's life, which was spent in different asylums. Antonin Artaud_sentence_78

It was at this time that his best known work The Theatre and Its Double (1938) was published. Antonin Artaud_sentence_79

This book contained the two manifestos of the Theatre of Cruelty. Antonin Artaud_sentence_80

There, "he proposed a theatre that was in effect a return to magic and ritual and he sought to create a new theatrical language of totem and gesture – a language of space devoid of dialogue that would appeal to all the senses." Antonin Artaud_sentence_81

"Words say little to the mind," Artaud wrote, "compared to space thundering with images and crammed with sounds." Antonin Artaud_sentence_82

He proposed "a theatre in which violent physical images crush and hypnotize the sensibility of the spectator seized by the theatre as by a whirlwind of higher forces." Antonin Artaud_sentence_83

He considered formal theatres with their proscenium arches and playwrights with their scripts "a hindrance to the magic of genuine ritual." Antonin Artaud_sentence_84

Artaud in Rodez Antonin Artaud_section_13

In 1943, when France was occupied by the Nazis, Robert Desnos arranged to have Artaud transferred to the psychiatric hospital in Rodez, well inside Vichy territory, where he was put under the charge of Dr. Gaston Ferdière. Antonin Artaud_sentence_85

At Rodez Artaud underwent therapy including electroshock treatments and art therapy. Antonin Artaud_sentence_86

The doctor believed that Artaud's habits of crafting magic spells, creating astrology charts, and drawing disturbing images were symptoms of mental illness. Antonin Artaud_sentence_87

Artaud, at his peak began lashing out at others. Antonin Artaud_sentence_88

Artaud denounced the electroshock treatments and consistently pleaded to have them suspended, while also ascribing to them 'the benefit of having returned him to his name and to his self mastery'. Antonin Artaud_sentence_89

Scholar Alexandra Lukes points out that 'the "recovery" of his name' might have been 'a gesture to appease his doctors' conception of what constitutes health.' Antonin Artaud_sentence_90

It was during this time that Artaud began writing and drawing again, after a long dormant period. Antonin Artaud_sentence_91

In 1946, Ferdière released Artaud to his friends, who placed him in the psychiatric clinic at Ivry-sur-Seine. Antonin Artaud_sentence_92

Career resumed Antonin Artaud_section_14

Artaud was encouraged to write by his friends, and interest in his work was rekindled. Antonin Artaud_sentence_93

He visited an exhibition of works by Vincent van Gogh which resulted in a study Van Gogh le suicidé de la société [Van Gogh, The Man Suicided by Society], published by K éditeur, Paris, 1947 which won a critics' prize. Antonin Artaud_sentence_94

He recorded Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu (To Have Done With the Judgment of God) on 22–29 November 1947. Antonin Artaud_sentence_95

This work was shelved by Wladimir Porché, the Director of French Radio, the day before its scheduled airing on 2 February 1948, partly for its scatological, anti-American, and anti-religious references and pronouncements, but also because of its general randomness, with a cacophony of xylophonic sounds mixed with various percussion elements. Antonin Artaud_sentence_96

While remaining true to his Theatre of Cruelty and reducing powerful emotions and expressions into audible sounds, Artaud had utilized various, somewhat alarming cries, screams, grunts, onomatopoeia and glossolalia. Antonin Artaud_sentence_97

As a result, Fernand Pouey, the director of dramatic and literary broadcasts for French radio, assembled a panel to consider the broadcast of Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu. Antonin Artaud_sentence_98

Among approximately 50 artists, writers, musicians, and journalists present for a private listening on 5 February 1948 were Jean Cocteau, Paul Éluard, Raymond Queneau, Jean-Louis Barrault, René Clair, Jean Paulhan, Maurice Nadeau, Georges Auric, Claude Mauriac, and René Char. Antonin Artaud_sentence_99

Porché refused to broadcast it even though the panel were almost unanimously in favor of Artaud's work. Antonin Artaud_sentence_100

Pouey left his job and the show was not heard again until 23 February 1948, at a private performance at Théâtre Washington. Antonin Artaud_sentence_101

Final years Antonin Artaud_section_15

In January 1948, Artaud was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Antonin Artaud_sentence_102

He died shortly afterwards on 4 March 1948 in a psychiatric clinic in Ivry-sur-Seine, a commune in the southeastern suburbs of Paris. Antonin Artaud_sentence_103

He was found by the gardener of the estate seated alone at the foot of his bed, and it was suspected that he died from a lethal dose of the drug chloral hydrate, although it is unknown whether he was aware of its lethality. Antonin Artaud_sentence_104

Twenty years after its recording and production in November 1947, French radio finally broadcast the performance of Pour en Finir avec le Jugement de dieu. Antonin Artaud_sentence_105

Influence Antonin Artaud_section_16

Artaud has been cited as a profoundly influential figure in the history of theatre, avant-garde art, literature, and other disciplines. Antonin Artaud_sentence_106

His work proved to be a significant influence on the Theatre of the Absurd, particularly the works of Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett, and helped inspire a movement away from the dominant role of language and rationalism in contemporary theatre. Antonin Artaud_sentence_107

Artaud also had a significant influence on the philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, who borrowed Artaud's phrase "the body without organs" to describe their conception of the virtual dimension of the body and, ultimately, the basic substratum of reality in their Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Antonin Artaud_sentence_108

Poet Allen Ginsberg claimed that his introduction to Artaud, specifically "To Have Done with the Judgement of God", by Carl Solomon had a tremendous influence on his most famous poem "Howl". Antonin Artaud_sentence_109

An extremely important study on the Artaud work comes from Jacques Derrida. Antonin Artaud_sentence_110

According to the philosopher, as theatrical writer and actor, Artaud is the embodiment of both an aggressive and repairing gesture, which strikes, sounds out, is harsh in a dramatic way and with critical determination as well. Antonin Artaud_sentence_111

Identifying life as art, he was critically focused on the western cultural social drama, to point out and deny the double-dealing on which the western theatrical tradition is based; he worked with the whirlpool of feelings and lunatic expressions, being subjugated to a counter-force which came from the act of gesture. Antonin Artaud_sentence_112

Theatrical practitioner Peter Brook took inspiration from Artaud's "Theatre of Cruelty" in a series of workshops that led up to his Royal Shakespeare Company production of Marat/Sade in 1964, which was performed in New York and Paris as well as London. Antonin Artaud_sentence_113

The Living Theatre was also heavily influenced by Artaud, as was much English-language experimental theatre and performance art; Karen Finley, Spalding Gray, Liz LeCompte, Richard Foreman, Charles Marowitz, Sam Shepard, Joseph Chaikin, and more all named Artaud as one of their influences. Antonin Artaud_sentence_114

In the winter of 1968, Williams College offered a dedicated intersession class in Artaudian theatre, resulting in a week-long "Festival of Cruelty," under the direction of Keith Fowler. Antonin Artaud_sentence_115

The Festival included productions of The Jet of Blood, All Writing is Pig Shit, and several original ritualized performances, one based on the Texas Tower killings and another created as an ensemble catharsis called The Resurrection of Pig Man. Antonin Artaud_sentence_116

Charles Marowitz's play Artaud at Rodez is about the relationship between Artaud and Dr. Ferdière during Artaud's confinement at the psychiatric hospital in Rodez; the play was first performed in 1976 at the Teatro a Trastavere in Rome. Antonin Artaud_sentence_117

The writer and actor Tim Dalgleish wrote and produced the play 'The Life and Theatre of Antonin Artaud' (originally called 'Pigshit') for the English physical theatre company Bare Bones in 1999. Antonin Artaud_sentence_118

The play told Artaud's story from his early years of aspiration when he wished to be part of the establishment, through to his final years as a suffering, iconoclastic outsider. Antonin Artaud_sentence_119

In Canada, playwright Gary Botting created a series of Artaudian "happenings" from The Aeolian Stringer to Zen Rock Festival, and produced a dozen plays with an Artaudian theme, including Prometheus Re-Bound. Antonin Artaud_sentence_120

The Latin American dramatic novel Yo-Yo Boing! Antonin Artaud_sentence_121

by Giannina Braschi includes a debate between artists and poets concerning the merits of Artaud's "multiple talents" in comparison to the singular talents of other French writers. Antonin Artaud_sentence_122

The band Bauhaus included a song about the playwright, called "Antonin Artaud", on their album Burning from the Inside. Antonin Artaud_sentence_123

Influential Argentine hard rock band Pescado Rabioso recorded an album titled Artaud. Antonin Artaud_sentence_124

Their leader Luis Alberto Spinetta wrote the lyrics partly basing them on Artaud's writings. Antonin Artaud_sentence_125

Composer John Zorn has written many works inspired by and dedicated to Artaud, including seven CDs: "Astronome", "Moonchild: Songs Without Words", "Six Litanies for Heliogabalus", "The Crucible", "Ipsissimus", "Templars: In Sacred Blood" and "The Last Judgment", a monodrama for voice and orchestra inspired by Artaud's late drawings "La Machine de l'être" (2000), "Le Momo" (1999) for violin and piano, and "Suppots et Suppliciations" (2012) for full orchestra. Antonin Artaud_sentence_126

Filmmaker E. Antonin Artaud_sentence_127 Elias Merhige, during an interview by writer Scott Nicolay, cited the writings of Artaud as a key influence for the experimental film Begotten. Antonin Artaud_sentence_128

Selected filmography Antonin Artaud_section_17

Antonin Artaud_unordered_list_1


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonin Artaud.