life’s getting a bit more complex
hands-on (via Amalie Russell)
to record only presence
another gig in London this week, last minute’s notice:
Raymond Roussel anonymously approached the painter and illustrator Henri A. Zo with indications for fifty-nine drawings precisely in order to add an impersonal touch to his poem New Impressions of Africa. By including on every second page drawings illustrating lines the reader had just read, he intended to double the size of his small volume (the typeset poem took up ‘a mere’ fifty-nine pages), which he further doubled by printing only on the recto side of the pages. These were left uncut so the poem could be read without revealing the hidden drawings. One of the fifty-nine illustrations is particularly arresting: the reader lifts the edge of the uncut page in question (heaven forbid he should cut the pages open!) and gradually sees appear a depiction of a man lifting, carefully, the edge of an uncut page in a fairly slim book to reveal something hidden underneath, something indicated by several decisive brushstrokes … Zo was not too happy about his unwitting ‘collaboration’ and others thought the combination strange (‘Chagall, for example, would have been more appropriate’). Still, his banal Indian ink illustrations reflect the mathematical side of Roussel’s poetics and in combination with the uncut pages and methodical use of embedded parentheses that lend his last completed work a palpable secretiveness.
tracing a downward movement