Thursday, 26 September 2013
Public Holidays (Les Chants de Maldoror), 2009, screenprint, edition of 100
Extract from Maurice Blanchot - Lautréamont and Sade:
What did Lautréamont have on his mind the night that he scribbled the first words: "May it please heaven that..."? It is not enough to say that, in this initial moment, Lautréamont had not completely formed the memory of the six cantos that he was going to write. We have to say more: not only were the six cantos not in his mind, but this mind did not exist yet; the only goal that he could have was that distant mind, that hope of a mind that, at the moment when Maldoror would be written, would lend him all the strength he would need to write it.
It is no doubt admirable that, as a completed work, Maldoror presents itself as a totality without cracks, like the basaltic rock on which Maldoror sadly recognizes the solidity of his own existence, drawn from all dissolutions. Is there another work like this one, on the one hand completely at the mercy of time, inventing or discovering its meaning while it is being written, an accomplice closely linked to its duration, that remains meanwhile a mass without a beginning or an end, a timeless substance, a simultaneity of words, wherein every trace, before and after, seems to have been erased, and forever forgotten? Therein lies one of the great surprises of this book, but one that we must, for the moment, try to avoid. Rather, that we might glimpse Lautréamont himself, perhaps we should look for him at the moment when, with no one there, on the fifth floor in an empty room, lit by a single candle flicking on the white page, one hand, ah, certainly one very beautiful hand, forms itself in solitude to write, "May it please heaven that... ," and to write in response to these five words.