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ing light on the poem’s ambivalent preoccupation with atomic catastrophe, as if Lam’s syncretic and totemic figures might act as its harbingers.30 Photographic documentation shows Lam and Luca working together on the project at Grafica Uno, suggesting Luca’s involvement at every level of its production. Luca would work with a number of artists and publishers in creating unique and sometimes genre-defying works combining texts, images, sculptures and elaborate de luxe emboîtages, resulting in objects that lie somewhere between the traditions of portfolio, sculpture, and the artist’s book. One final instance of Luca’s collaborative practice to consider here is the distinctive relationship between Luca and the Polish-born artist Piotr Kowalski. An architect by training and profession (he had worked with Marcel Breuer and I.M. Pei in the 1950s), Kowalski’s artistic output pioneered unusual materials and crossmedia concerns, integrating two-dimensional and sculptural forms with materials such as neon, glass, optical and electronic equipment, chemical reactions and large-scale urban art projects.31 This ambition, the interferences between science and art, the movements across light, sound, space, geometry and philosophy would all have attracted Luca — even if Kowalski’s œuvre appears at first sight diametrically opposed that of the surrealist artists Luca had hitherto worked with — and the two completed publishing projects, artworks and an exhibition. The first, limited edition of Luca’s Le chant de la carpe (1973), for example, featured a relief by Kowalski in engraved and painted altuglass (a brand of hard-wearing clear acrylic) bearing a colored geometric design, as well as a recording of Luca reciting one of his poems reproduced on clear vinyl and then the book itself. The even rarer de luxe edition of 20, however, formed a complex ‘book-object’ comprising the book printed not on paper but on clear

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Would it be too fanciful to see Lam’s spirit figures in this context as echoes of the global ‘Mothman’ myths, in which startling winged creatures appear as prophets of imminent disaster? Cf. Mark Pellington, dir., The Mothman Prophesies (Screen Gems / Sony 2002); the DVD release includes a 2002 documentary on the real events of 1966–67 behind this fictionalized account. 31 For an overview of the relevant period of Kowalski’s work, see Jean-Christophe Bailly, Piotr Kowalski (Paris: Hazan, 1988).

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Profile for Contra Mundum Press

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

Gherasim Luca Centenary Issue  

Essays and reflections in English and French on Romanian surrealist Gherasim Luca, including Luca's own texts and art. Also featuring rumi...

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