Saturday, February 21, 2009

Maldoror at Galerie Furstenberg

From 'Les Chants de Maldoror', by the Comte de Lautréamont:

"One should let one's nails grow for a fortnight. Oh! How sweet it is to brutally snatch from his bed a child with no hair yet on his upper lip, and, with eyes wide open, to pretend to suavely stroke his forehead, brushing back his beautiful locks! Then, suddenly, at the moment when he least expects it, to sink one's long nails into his tender breast, being careful, though, not to kill him; for if he died, there would be no later viewing of his misery. Then, one drinks the blood, licking the wounds; and, during the entire procedure, which ought to last no shorter than an aeon, the boy cries. Nothing could be better than his blood, warm and just freshly squeezed out as I have described, if it weren't for his tears, bitter as salt. Mortal one, haven't you ever tasted your blood, when by chance you cut your finger? Tasty, isn't it? For it has no taste. Besides, can you not recall one day, absorbed in your dismal thoughts, having lifted your deeply cupped palm to your sickly face, drenched by the downpour from your eyes; the said hand then making its fatal way to your mouth, which, from this vessel chattering like the teeth of the schoolboy who glances sidelong at the one born to oppress him, sucked the tears in long draughts? Tasty, aren't they? For they taste of vinegar. A taste reminiscent of the tears of your true love, except a child's tears are so much more pleasing to the palate." (Text lifted from here)

When you are reading this I hope to be in Paris visiting an exhibition at Galerie Furstenberg, to see illustrations by Salvador Dali of Lautréamont's infamous Les Chants de Maldoror.

From the Galerie's website: "In 1934, on Picasso's recommendation, the Swiss publisher Albert SKIRA commissioned Dali to illustrate the "Maldoror Songs", the famous text by Lautréamont (Isidore Ducasse). Dali engraved 42 coppers in the spirit of all the surrelist themes of his major paintings during this period. The edition size was initially planned to reach 200 but because of SKIRA's financial difficulties, only about 60 books were printed. The copper plates were confiscated and kept in private hands.

In 1970, a three-party contract was signed between DALI, SKIRA and ARGILLET for the final publication of this major graphic series. For this, DALI engraved 8 new coppers and signed all of the 50 etchings that now compose "The definitive edition of the Maldoror Songs". This Edition was printed in two forms: 100 books containing the text and the 50 subjects (signed and numbered), and 100 series of the etchings alone.

The Galerie Furstenberg is proud to be the distributor of this famous and rare publication to top museums and private collectors."

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