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Made during a trip to Italy and the island of Stromboli, the dozen or so drawings on fine art paper (with the subsequent sheets blank as though beckoning the series’ ‘endless’ completion) are mostly dated on the back and given a geographical location, while a few also have titles, indicating that Luca initiated the collection as a kind of diary of his journey, and that the drawings were made one per day rather than in closer sequence. Delicate shapes emerge from row upon row of dots — very faint pencil lines suggest some preliminary armatures but one can imagine the drawings being built up in spontaneous fashion — to form constellations evoking animal, protozoic, or plant forms (like growth rings or arrays of seeds on a sunflower head), or microscopic structures in crystals. Sometimes apparently abstract, other drawings suggest primitive human outlines, all of them working outwards into the white of the paper as if to assert and explore their emerging outlines. Alternating straight arrays with curving or radiating systems of dots, this is a form of mark-making where drawing’s defining motif — the arrangement of sustained, more or less unbroken lines — is abandoned for a kind of mathematical or geographic plotting, marking out space and time, an infinite series of points that chart the possibilities and the becoming of form. Two published portfolios explicitly connect this practice to text: the second half of the large-format book La fin du monde of 1969 consists of five poems handwritten in Luca’s italic script, each occupying a roughly square space in the lower part of the page. From the edges of these un-bordered text boxes radiate curlicues, filigrees, and striations of dots evoking ferns or textile forms.58 Another, posthumously published work, La voici la voie silanxieuse, consists almost entirely of such drawings, some arranged in formal geometric patterns, others suggesting glyphs; in this case, significantly, many of them are chained directly to the text, which in the first section of the book is rendered in a subtle hand-drawn typography made from

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Ghérasim Luca, La fin du monde (Paris: Jean Petithory, 1969). The colophon identifies the images as engravings, though their origin (given that they include handwriting that would have been impossible to render in reverse) must surely have been drawings.

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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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