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With the work connected to electricity, electromagnets cause the glass solids to glow in different colors with the noble gases they contain: lift the fragile solids from their bases, the force-field weakens and the light dims. In some versions of this work, manipulating the solids also activates an audio mechanism relaying a recording of Luca’s voice, intoning each poem.35 In this fragile, unique edition, on the path to being sculpture, no longer quite a publication, flaunting absence and inhabiting a world of mathematical precision whose philosophical grounding it nevertheless promises to ruin, Luca’s task as an unclassifiable re-thinker of meanings and experiences finds tenuous concrete form.36

Luca and the Object

One field to which Luca made a significant but largely unappreciated contribution is in the domain of the surrealist object — that category of activity on the fault-line between surrealism’s artistic practice and its encounter with the materials and experiences of the everyday world. Celebrated examples of this genre, in which collisions of hitherto unrelated objects result in unexpected yet perfect juxtapositions, or in which found objects are interrogated as physical signs of the operation of objective chance, are among the movement’s most iconic artifacts. Luca’s first encounter with surrealism came at a period when this at times obsessive concern with the object among surrealists was at its height, and it is little surprise that he should have been similarly drawn to the object as a perfect strategy for bridging the gap between surrealist theory and 35

See Bailly, op. cit., pp. 62–6. For a vivid demonstration of the work, see the documentary film of this and Kowalski’s Chant de la Carpe object by Gisèle and Luc Meichler at http://vimeo.com/41038017. Kowalski would make a hologram response to Sisyphe géomètre, entitled Epitaph pour Ghérasim Luca, in 1993. 36 The work is ‘published’ by Éditions Claude Givaudin, Geneva 1966. Can it be considered a book? The Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris evidently thinks so, since they own a copy, catalogued as a ‘book-object’; asking to consult it in the special collections room in the late 1980s without yet knowing what it was, with some initial reluctance the staff brought the work out and allowed me to play with the delicate enigma for a while.

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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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