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After some life-and-death adventures at the Romanian border and a short stint in Israel, Luca settled in Paris in 1952. As a poet he had previously explored the sonorities of French ad absurdum with a Duchampian flare (Héros-limite, 1945). He gave public recitals during which he rendered his texts free from mental controls, in a state of trance à la neo-dada. Philosophically he had advocated “the unlimited eroticization of the proletariat” (excluded by the capitalist society from pleasure, modern sexuality, and hedonism) and used deliberately provocative sexual puns and wordplay that were at the same time hypnotic and blissful. His sound panoramas were experimental & paradoxical at the same time, inspired by jazz, as in “Passionnément,” a poem-recital consisting of just one word deconstructed & pronounced, mispronounced & malformed in hundreds of ways, evolving into a sound-poetry composition. Indeed, throughout his lifetime, he continued to invent an entirely new blend of Surrealist performance poetry, a fusion of French and melodic religious incantations, rhythmic rhymes, stuttering and stammering, low-tech sound effects and an ad-hoc creation of puns. By the late 1970s, Luca had joined a collaborative performance group called Polyfonix which included Jean Jack Lebel, Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, Ramuntcho Matta and others, and performed his own poetry in a manner inspired by the dada and jazz improvisations being created in galleries and museums in Paris and New York. He performed live on television, and Deleuze claimed in Dialogues (1977) that Luca was no less than “a great poet among the greatest,” adding: “For those who attended the recitals he gave … his presence was a calm trance, spellbinding, unique, and unforgettable.” For Andre Velter, a French polyphonic performer-poet, Luca helped make it possible to “rediscover the power of poetry, its oracular power and virtue of subversion.” In Romania, Israel, and France, Luca was regarded as a “saint of the avant-garde” for several decades and was invited to appear at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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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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