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Fig. 4. Gherasim Luca, detail from Quantitativement aimée (Bucharest: Éditions de l’Oubli, 1944). Private collection, Paris.

But though ‘published’ by Éditions de l’Oubli, this was in fact a work made in an edition of a single copy, one frequently referenced but that has until recently remained almost entirely undocumented. Comprising two ready-made large scale albums, made of pale green card bound in a maroon cover, it features short hand-stenciled poetic texts describing a kind of violent, dream-like Kama Sutra (“The man bites her / lips while caressing a toothed wheel / while the woman / casts spells at him”), while the facing pages are filled with changing combinations of fountain pen nibs sewn to the card like a stationer’s display board, 944 of them in all.38 The irregular lines of the nibs, each apparently different, many embossed or engraved, some in the shape of spears, scythes, or pointing hands, seem to dance across the page, both answering and conjuring the intricate erotic struggle between the poem’s nameless pair of protagonists. 38

Left behind on Luca’s departure from Bucharest, its two volumes were separated, one eventually being returned to its author while the other ended up in a Swiss private collection (conversation with Micheline Catti, Paris, March 2013). Although the work was exhibited several times — for instance, in Surrealism: Desire Unbound of 2001 — the first time it seems to have been shown in print is in issue 17 of Empreintes (Paris, 2011, 24–27), which reproduces the whole text of the first volume with only details of its ‘illustrations.’

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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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