Surrealist investigations, annotations, memorable quotes, thoughts, impressions. In search of the marvelous by any means or method of exploration.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Bloodworks... 5 Cantos 

CANTO I - Creo

Rivulets of red run through
bluish frenzy as I watch
the night and ruefully await
dawn’s retort –

Like an army, with incessant marching
they advance like fish hooks
over the horizon –

Drop by drop with none to find
sweeping over night’s despair
glad all at once but mourn the loss
of time’s last whisper –

Limpid pools well up inside
false tears –
red-stained wonders.. but
thoughts collide – to think... to gaze...
life’s world’s unnoticed as the glance
of a butterfly on a razor –

The third eye watches
flights of needles seeking
in their terror’s wake –
sowing seeds of frenzy like a knife –

Frenzy wear’s a comb in her hair
like the butcher’s mistress –
Transient moons of leering glances –

Speak now what it was you’ve done – –

To speak • to think • to waste the fury
of a heart-glass sentiment no longer –

They rise, advance with cutting sighs
to bring a furry mouse in a little box
with passion’s pride and fury spent –

All at once they rise to
the coming struggle of lost hope –
with needles poised they dance the moon
and sing and chant to our defeat

The diamond in the viscera
cries out and weeps for time unleashed
the folly wrought with perfidy
whose covenant is broken –

Shame and woe for it is clear
the visitor with little claws of razors smiles
encroaches upon our red dawns –

The beast is home to romp and play
eviscerating puzzles in the soft moist
tremors and sighs of pink-white lace –

Love’s lost purpose in a bell-jar –
Scalpels dancing roses clapping
pump, pump, pumping
as furtive glances raise the red –

Clamoring and incessant –
Barber poles attacked by wisps of hair
defended by an army of scissors
in a swarm –

This too is unnoticed as if by chance
the red-green tongue clucks on
in mystified reveries lost –

Beware! But for that moment
time was limpid delight
with clock of red-white stripe
and letters suspended in mists of phlegm:

It • Smiles and leers like pustules
in a rose-box gleam –
It • Chuckles and with sneer of knowing
time has become a vacant teardrop pressed
under glass with a mouse’s whisker –

Wooden teardrops rise
to follow in the wake of lust and chaos –
Smolder shimmer with blight renewed
in time to follow hat-pinned heart –

Thus is folly the moment of surprise –

Risen slowly in black heat glance
somnambulistic calculation rises
from the flying paper mice –

Trapped in amber
turn of the wheel
mouse-trapped heart
in the glance of the lace
pink-white kiss –

* * * * *

CANTO II - Intellego

Whispers stung with bee-kisses
with folly, movement, time has come –

The red dark sweeps with grandeur –
What? What’s this? It SPOKE
not murmured, to me 
“Reckoning is nigh for you” –

With flashing foment in nights of fire
red, black, pink desire’s fancy –
The mouse’s tail whips us in a frenzy
singing songs whilst red burst
laughing –

All this and the Third Eye watches –

Bliss of fracture – bliss in raining razor
blades but one...
in the instant of the shattered glass –

Then all in an moment like the
chattering of a thousand hummingbirds
in aspic and rose –

It • comes
It • sneers

Time tumbles away in cobwebbed red –
To laugh and sneer the moment’s breath
all in a little red bow - all in the glow
of a frenzied moth –
Red-green and all mystical pink-black egg–

Why does this beast remove me from
my vanity - my respite in varnished dung?
Under glass with sepia – no. Just more than red this time... not sure – just certain.

The reduction of time lost, spent in the
hourglass of the spider with sand slipping –

Foul fetid thing, so weak,
to have me in its sway still –

It sings to me of little boxes filled
putrid sweet of amber and cotton –

Cascading down in red brackish sludge
it strips the night away like the viscera
in the form of young maidens –

The all conquering mouse-in-a-box
wrapped in pustules pink-violet and
swollen lips kiss bursting cherries on fire –
“Here I am – come and see”.

Embracing me entangled,
smothered laughing it sings and cries
of things to be –
Telltale stains rhapsodically murmur
wistfully with sharp gleaming blade
not far behind –

* * * * *


Under a darkened moonscape,
the driver left his passenger adrift
as if the star had faded
into the blue of milk-white stench –

Time’s trouble set afloat
the wisdom of the Sphinx
as if taken to wing
these demon scissors winging their way
across the rotting filth once known
and in remembrance mourned as one –

The riddle of the ages spent all in
a summer’s eve drifting away like
buttered silk with moths of clay
smiling and laughing at our indiscretions –

The course is set - adrift we find
the moment’s motion never to reveal
that which one has done –
Glancing at the white and red-stripe maggots
gnawing their way through our marrow –

Bit by bit they turn the thread
fleeting glimpses of unknown shadows blue –

Time tumbles time for that which speaks
it hears and knows with flesh unbound
soft clown kisses in a cat’s eye
transfixed in amber-aspic
like a little lost balustrade gleaming
white-hot in the dusk of vermillion swimming in the angst of a pink bug
all wrapped in candy-sweet foulness –

Now is the time for lost regret –
Now is the time for moments unspoken
behind the shadow of a door –

Lost reveries in mists of struggle
against the tiny beasts
with teeth and claws –

Like little lost mice
whipping their licorice tails
leaving traces of blood with every turn –

Again it speaks to me with sinister glee –
“You now are mine.” -
Sad weep in grey
with velvet motion in the heartbeat
of a fly caught in a web - little pill box
echo, caught in frenzy with purple-pink
dots in a ribbon’s teeth –

But for that one moment
when lust was a spider eating caviar
on the backs of four leering keys –

Such was the fate – such was the life –
time stopped the heartbeat of the
chambermouse with fetid cheese
crumbled in letters
formed like scattered dice
foaming at the mouth: b.l.o.o.d.

Was it possible to speak
of horrors unmentioned?
To veer into the Columbine retreat
that canisters soft-hard pink-white dot?

Were it possible to regain
the match that flares brightly on
the backs of the limber who bear it
with grace - but NO.

Swathed in white - bathed in the lost
light of the pale glance
of the young maiden
looking on the crushed embers

Jellyfish with nails
and the one eye
looks on with steady gaze –
all-seeing all-knowing
lost spark regaling in the splendor of
mute butter –

* * * * *


A mirror in a box –
Taunting, teasing, casting black reflections
beating heart entwined with kite-string
struggling to release the sodden juices
fleeting in streams of encrusted
red-white pus-enflamed remembrances
of the time to be –

The master puppeteer with sadistic charm
jerks and pulls the jagged promises –

Time transfixed the teardrop frozen in flight –
insidiously it creeps on little sharpened toes
rending pink to red in ribbons of valour –

The mocking crow dances amongst the
lilies that weep with reflections of
tiny marrow in a field of honor –

But for the one weakened sigh of
the vengeful surprise that mocks
the fragile and sneers at the brave –

With vice-like grip, with sharpened teeth
it gnaws and nibbles away
the lost chord of the lollipop
that has given up its sweet surrender
to the greedy tongues of little children –

No – it is not possible to recant the
terrors of spent moments when
lizards surrender their tails
in flights of fancy while red dots dance on the
horizon made of silken dread –

Foul and stench replace the
velvety touch of two smiles
fading into the watered silk –

A rotting tooth with the distinct odor
of incense and violets –

Clamoring the pestilence and
bridging the gap of reason –

Reason? – and in what manner
can one speak of reason - to reason?
The reason of chasing on the whim
milk laced with blood –

There can be no reasonableness whilst
the knife is held in escrow –
The will of the beast is all...
tamed by the encrusted jewels of plasma –

It is beyond the edge of desires
tempered by the silken cord of
brackish red flagellant
in the middle of the cobweb
mentored by foolish children –

Wallowing in the piteous moan
of fleecy fervor  – all dressed up in
gauzes of splendor, white-hot metal
lashes out in buttered silk –

Worthless ministrations gull-like
anchored in sludge
filled with the horrors of snails
on the march – ever advancing
relentlessly seeking the target-heart –

The vermin kisses, the silent wrenching,
tapped upon the door like a hat
encased in globules of fat –

Eyes shift left and right
only to leer in mock horror –
Apples speak of their remembrances
long gone in the struggle to leap
from imprisoned branches –

Slick venom-kisses retreat from
the dark forest’s delight –

Now, having transformed
the wriggling lion recalls in a whisper
all consuming desires netted true –

Parasites - clinging to the palped pink-ness
shivering delirium and focused frenzy
construct diligently their wondrous palaces
all purple-lace in sticky sweet recall –

Not a word – not a murmuring twitch
transcends the thought that it is now
and only now –

Scabrous being that commands all
brings forth in fashion, the toil
of a lamp on fire in the chastened blink
of four-five-six matches in sallow grey
all the while lost –

Crucified mummy-cry,
little green rises over winding blue ribbons
razor-sharp and at the ready –

Control - dominion overcast
as little frogs descend raining upon us
landing softly into red-velvet hearts –

* * * * * *

CANTO V - Perdo

The aftermath of reason wrought
the wavering perceptions spent –
Last hopes spent idly standing by
rows of fallow wriggling lavendar –

Last tremors reached
fortuitous surprise unleashed
the weight of seven wolves
sneering seven turtles baying at the moon –

Quietly it recedes from glamour
the notions of all burned out roses –
Glimmering in the shadows of
love’s lost twitch –

In a moment all the slick sweet candies
turn sour reply ...
deaf to the world

Chimes ring out in the belly of the goldfish
machine-gun kisses with the
distinct odor of jasmine and burnt cork –

This then is the moment of last reply
to feel, to regain composure
to fly inwards towards the manic
yet openly hostile playground
known only as charra.

To feel - to move - to recant
all that blistering logic
in a cat’s eye marble
left unnoticed on a hardwood floor –

Colliding armor in furious bent
the little hearts raining down
with velvety kisses, the monstrous eye
closes slowly in spite –

* * * * *

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Means and Methods 

Excavation Collage

Fertile sproutings spring from the depths. That which is
hidden is waiting to be revealed by aggressive chance.
The liberation of the image is encouraged; its suggestion is
its virtue, the method is its potency.


At first glance, a collage of disparate images thrust together in the same spatial plane. This method of arrival, at this clearly visible juncture, is achieved by the folllowing method:
Apply two or more separate images, one layered upon the other attached in loose fashion, and the act of tearing away bits of the upper image, here and there, to reveal the image lurking just below its surface. In this way the images are brought together in a rather jarring and forceful manner, with often marvelous results.

Saturday, March 06, 2004

Étrécissements continues.... 


Étrécissements? This is a process that involves reducing again an image. In this process of evaluating an image, and what it may suggest to become – something entirely new – this method of reduction allows us to reevaluate the image in a new light. This intriguing technique quite often bears the most delightful fruits through its liberation of the image by the method of reduction of a visual element, not addition – The additive process is routine for creating a collage; so-called by its very nature of "glueing", it implies one or more disparate elements brought together on a two-dimensional plane. Poetry resides in the process herewith, this being the object of the action.

With Étrécissements it is somewhat different. This evanescent process brings forth often startling results in a way that suggests an alternate sublime reaction to this subconscious impulse to remove something in the anticipation of improving how we perceive it. It is in this removing of imagery that takes us into an inverse pathway towards the poetic state.

Originally a chance encounter, this process was first explored by Marcel Mariën; this inverted vision of how a collage is expected to reveal itself. Within narrative means he explores the beauty of the poetic nature in this method of reducing the image to its simplest form. Simply by cutting away parts of the original image. Mariën rightfully cites this process in its germinal
state within some works of René Magritte. Magritte reduces the value of his image in paint, so that we see a modification that runs counter to what we expect. This then is the beginning
of what was to open new doors to the way we tend to look at things and create spontaneous value judgements. Mariën takes the lead one step further – actually it is a fair leap from this
point-of-reference Magritte poses. Once taken into the hands as collage, this technique
allows one the freedom of chance in mere moments and without any forethought to where
these 'cuttings' may lead.

Étrécissements, by virtue of the poetic nature of collage-making, is a method of expression that transcends the spoken or written word. However, it takes us in the opposite direction of collage only to find ourselves arriving at the same destination after all, as those who proceeded with the method of collage. This – as a means of expression, is the magic of the reduced paper... not glued paper.

In discussion with Dr. JH Matthews. his response was to suggest that these collages were quite possibly 'anti-collages' as they "misbehave" in a way that runs counter to what we expect a collage to do: Connect and expand a dialogue in a new realm of perception by the methods of chance encounter with the simple process of 'glueing'. Whereas the process Étrécissements is achieved by the counter-move of opening up negative space instead. I find that his assessment is quite interesting and holds merit, but the nature of the process is the vehicle to arrive, ultimately, at the horizon of chance encounter. This process also allows the subconcious to suggest form through reduction without premeditation. It is here that revelations hold possibilities undreamt of when, without 'scissors' to reduce, the original image remains relatively banal and holds little or no interest beyond that which we can already perceive. Nothing to mine there. It offers little promise of entering the realm of visual poetry;
suggesting other forms of dialogue.

With the Étrécissement, the opposite method opens the doors to perception in new ways.
It is this dynamic that holds the promise that these Étrécissements will reveal more to open a deeper dialogue with the beholder. In this regard, the notion that 'less is more' might well be true. For with the random movements of the pair of scissors the transformation of form is
quite immediately evident and it is at this point the dialogue of what we perceive visually is
changed and subject to further contemplation. Here then is the 'value' of this exercise.
The opportunity to transform our perception and our sense of judgement within the
context of a single image presented before us.

GENOVESE 1986 (2004)

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

means and methods –

J'ai nomme "Étrécissements" les résultats d'un procédé que l'ai expérimenté pour la première fois au cours de l'été 1964. Manceuvrant à l'estime une paire de ciseaux, je découpais une image de magazine; elle représentait une couple de profil, le homme étant sur le point d'embrasser sa partenaire. le hasard fit que l'image mutilée, a laquelle je m'arrêtai, découvrait maintenant une femme hurlant de terreur, la main de l'homme posée sur son con paraissant la serrer a la gorge. La main de la femme sur celle de l'homme, aggravait encore ce sentiment; mollement appuyée a l'origine, elle semblait maintenant vouloir l'écarter avec force.
Cette altération compléte du sens primitif, cette sorte d'opération césarienne extrayant d'une image existante une image qui lui est totalement opposée dans son aspect et sa signification, cette vie occulte brusquement étalée au grand jour par le simple jeu d'une paire de ciseaux, – tout cela ne me fut pas indifférent, loin de la, mais comme l'image nouvelle offrait une ressemblance morphologique très forte avec une tableau de Magritte ("La fin des contemplations"), je me mépris sur son originalité et je passai à d'autres préoccupations. Une fois encore, trouver n'était rien: il fallait attendre que je m'ajoutasse me découverte.
Deux ans passèrent. Je repensai au découpage et fis un autre essai. Celui-ci, qui aboutit a l'image intitulée "L'espirit frappeur", s'avéra tout aussi riche en surprise, tant il parait que l'oeil conservé, par son isolement, son orientation et par les jeux de la lumière et de l'ombre, recrée la présence de l'oeil que les ciseaux ont retranché. Je poursuivis des lors la création systématique d'étrécissements de toutes sortes pour en arriver a l'ensemble que je présente aujourd'hui, et qui totalise une cinquantaine de pieces.
Pendant que le découpais, que j'étrécissais, il m'apparut que la vertu principale de l'enterprise résidait dans le côtoiement constant, le frôlement périlleux de précipice esthétique, les résidus d'images signifiants, "figuratifs", qui étaient conservés, garantissant l'image nouvelle contre l'abstraction susceptible de la ravaler au niveau décoratif.
En contrepartie, l'arbitraire esthétique intervenait de façon inattendue – a mes yeux, hautement opportune – pour sauver de l'insignificance et de la banalité des images particulièrement ingrates a l'était brut, soir qu'elles émanassent de simples prospectus publicitaires trouvés dans ma boite aux lettres, soit d'images sorties de magazines galants dont on sait combien l'efficacité instantanée céde rapidement le pas a la monotonie.
Les choses n'allerent ensuite que de trop bon train. Au point que je crus devoir tenir pour des signes de fatigue l'enthousiasme même, proche de la frénésie, avec lequel, j'en étais venu a étrécir toure image qui se présentait, et que paraissait alimenter sourdement une manière de dextérité toujours plus grande, d'une expérience a l'autre.
Des années de "métier", si je puis dire, une longue méditation sur les dangers de l'inspiration, sur cette sorte d'esclavage a quoi elle ne manque jamais de mener: de la coquille a la queue du paon, de la dentellière de Bruges a Picasso – bref, l'"hygiène", exigeait que je contremande mes ciseaux débridés. Il était temps de désengrener une enterprise trop munificente pour ne point sombrer, a plus ou moins brève échéance, dans cette battologie consternante a quoi se réduit la production artistique contemporaine. Je pris donc prétexte de déchets d'étrécissement qui traînaient sur le sol – deux particules de papier, – pour mettre un terme a l'entreprise, en les collant, vertes et mies, sur une haute feuille écarlate. L'expérience était close dont l'intérêt pour mot coincide avec les possibilités
inextinguibles, si séduisantes eussent-elles pu etre.
Il ne me reste plus qu'a déclarer que tout étrécissement autre que ceux répertoriés dans le présent catalogue (auxquels s'ajoutent les cinq illustrations jointes a des exemplaires numérotés de celui-ci), que tout autre étrécissement constituerait un faux, une manière d'escroquerie, meme et surtout si, par extrordinaire, celui qui parte devait en être, sous la pression de quelque circonslance qu'il n'imagine, l'irrémissible auteur.

Marcel Mariën

(reprinted from a text appearing in "Marcel Mariën, Retrospective & Nouveautés 1937-1967, publie a l'occasion d'une exposition a la Galerie Defacqz a Bruxelles du 18 Avril au 5 Mai 1967)

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