Stephen Barber

  • A CINEMA OF CRUELTY: ANTONIN ARTAUD

    In September 1987, Artforum published “A Foundry of the Figure: Anton in Artaud,” an excerpt from Stephen Barber’s forthcoming book on Artaud. What follows is a second section of the book—an examination of Artaud’s work in film.

    THE CRUCIAL AREA OF ARTAUD’S production that has remained substantially closed to critical speculation is his involvement with Surrealist cinema. Artaud is known as the scenarist of one of the great examples of Surrealist film, La Coquille et le clergyman (The seashell and the clergyman), but this work was reputedly steered away from his original conception by its director,

  • A FOUNDRY OF THE FIGURE: ANTONIN ARTAUD

    If there is a culture it is always alive and burns things up.

    – Antonin Artaud

    OVER THE LAST THIRTY YEARS, the emotional and intellectual impact of the work of Antonin Artaud has been colossal. The ideas of a Theater of Cruelty that he set out in the 30s have permeated the stages of Europe and the Americas. In France, philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and Julia Kristeva have addressed the polyvocality and the rhythmic, pulsive movement of Artaud’s language, with its break from fixed and seemingly inflexible modes of expression. His vision of a new and delirious dancing body has found its way