maud octallinn – super fière sur mon bulldozer (2017)

From “EN TERRAIN TENDRE”, Maud Octallinn’s first album. Download it HERE.

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VIDÉO
Réalisation : Vincent Pianina et Bertrand Sallé

MUSIQUE
Texte et musique : Maud Octallinn
Avec l’aide de : Laurent Sériès (percussions et bruitages) Enregistrement, mixage et mastering : Igor Moreno

walt disney & salvador dalí – destino (1946/2003)


Why had I never heard of this?! In 1946 Disney and Dalí conceived this animated story of Chronos, the personification of time who falls in love with a mortal.

Dalí described the film as “a magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time”. Disney called it “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”

Read more about the collaboration and realisation of this beautiful little film HERE.

The song is performed by Dora Luz.

hans richter/the real tuesday weld – one more ghost before breakfast (1927/2005)

Hans Richter’s 1927 short Dadaist masterpiece: Ghosts Before Breakfast, re-scored.

“This film initially had a soundtrack which was lost when the original print was destroyed by the Nazis as ‘degenerate art’.

This music – with Jacques Van Rhijn on clarinet, Don Brosnan on bass, Jed Woodhouse on drums, Clive Painter on guitar – was recorded at Clive’s prior to the sessions for our re-score of Richter’s full length magnum opus: Dreams That Money Can Buy for the British Film Institute in 2005.
(Turn off the sound if you want to hear it as Richter didn’t really intend it.)”

dora maar/man ray – the years lie in wait for you (1936)

Dora Maar and Man Ray - 1936, The Years Lie in Wait for You - Spider - Nusch Eluard

Excerpt from an article by Aya Lurie, from the exhibition catalogue: “The Naked Eye – Surrealist Photography in the First Half of the 20th Century”, 2013:

The languishing face of a strikingly beautiful young woman is seen behind a spider web. Is she trapped behind the web? Is she trapped in it? The spider may be lying in wait for her, and maybe she is on the prowl, with her manicured feminine hands, which call to mind the articulated legs of a spider. Perhaps it is rather the lurking time, as indicated by the title of the photograph, that threatens youth and beauty, serving as a reminder of their ephemerality.

The association between the woman and the spider dates back to Greek mythology, where it is embodied in the figure of Arachne, a weaver who made Athena jealous enough to turn her into a spider.1

In the history of culture, the figure of the “spider-woman” has come to be identified with the femme fatale — the archetype of the woman who leads to the downfall of the man attracted to her. In this context, Arachne is presented as a patient plotter who spins a web of schemes to trap and devour the reckless male.2  Dr. Ruth Markus, in her essay about the representations of the castrating woman in Surrealist art, ties the female praying mantis with the female “Black Widow” spider, which characteristically devour their males during or directly after the sexual act. She explains the Surrealist interest in the mantis and similar insects in that they represent the two primordial Freudian instincts: Eros and Thanatos.3

Dora Maar linked the photographed portrait by Man Ray with a manipulated image of a cobweb, to create the effect of transparent contours on the woman’s face in the final print. The resulting photomontage thus fuses the woman’s figure with the spider and its web. The Surrealists were drawn to the mimetic ability of various animals to camouflage themselves in nature, and created many works in which flora, fauna, and the inanimate merge and assimilate into one another.4 In the spirit of pantheist romanticism, this capacity was taken to represent an aspiration to eliminate the boundaries between man and nature, to the point of total fusion with the cosmos, which leads to absolute void. It is, in fact, a yearning for a primordial unconscious state, an existential state which precedes consciousness.

In the photograph in question, the paths of two of the most fascinating women who operated among the Surrealists cross. Photographer Dora Maar (born as Henrietta Theodora Markovitch) was a talented artist in her own right, but her fame came mainly from her relationship with Pablo Picasso, her partner, who often depicted her figure. In addition, Maar also modeled for Man Ray in some of his prime photographs…

… The model in Maar’s photograph is Nusch Éluard (1906–1946, née Maria Benz), a German show dancer who, in 1934, married poet Paul Éluard, one of the kingpins of Surrealism, after his first wife, Gala, left him for Salvador Dalí… Nusch Éluard also served as inspiration for her husband’s poetic work, and he combined her photographs in his books of poetry as elaboration and illustration for the written text.

In 1935, daring nude photographs of Nusch were included in his book Facile. Following her sudden death in 1946, at the age of 40, her portrait, taken by Dora Maar (with which she constructed the montage here), was included in a book by her husband in her memory, Le temps débordé (Time Overflows). The portrait, this time without cobweb,[fig. 3] accompanied the poem “Ecstasy” in which Éluard praises and mourns his wife: “I am in front of this feminine land / Like a child in front of the fire / Smiling vaguely with tears in my eyes / […] / I am in front of this feminine land / Like a branch in the fire.”5

  1. See Ovid’s Metamorphoses, books 6–10, ed. William S. Anderson (Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972), pp. 15-22.
  2. See Doron Lurie, cat. Femme Fatale (Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 2006), p. 108 [Hebrew].
  3. Ruth Markus, “Surrealism’s Praying Mantis and Castrating Woman”, Woman’s Art Journal, vol. 21:1 (Spring/Summer, 2000), pp. 33-39.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Paul Éluard, “Ecstasy,” trans. A. S. Kline, 2001. http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/French/Eluard.htm.

andre breton – nadja (1928)

Cover of the 1928 Gallimard edition of Nadja, collaged over by Marcel Mariën, 1938.

Cover of the 1928 Gallimard edition of Nadja, collaged over by Marcel Mariën, 1938.

The narrator, named André, ruminates on a number of Surrealist principles, before ultimately commencing (around a third of the way through the novel) on a narrative account, generally linear, of his brief ten day affair with the titular character Nadja. She is so named “because in Russian it’s the beginning of the word hope, and because it’s only the beginning,” but her name might also evoke the Spanish “Nadie,” which means “No one.” The narrator becomes obsessed with this woman with whom he, upon a chance encounter while walking through the street, strikes up conversation immediately. He becomes reliant on daily rendezvous, occasionally culminating in romance (a kiss here and there).

His true fascination with Nadja, however, is her vision of the world, which is often provoked through a discussion of the work of a number of Surrealist artists, including himself. While her understanding of existence subverts the rigidly authoritarian quotidian, it is later discovered that she is mad and belongs in a sanitarium. After Nadja reveals too many details of her past life, she in a sense becomes demystified, and the narrator realises that he cannot continue their relationship.

In the remaining quarter of the text, André distances himself from her corporeal form and descends into a meandering rumination on her absence, so much so that one wonders if her absence offers him greater inspiration than does her presence. It is, after all, the reification and materialisation of Nadja as an ordinary person that André ultimately despises and cannot tolerate to the point of inducing tears.

There is something about the closeness once felt between the narrator and Nadja that indicated a depth beyond the limits of conscious rationality, waking logic, and sane operations of the everyday. There is something essentially “mysterious, improbable, unique, bewildering” about her; this reinforces the notion that their propinquity serves only to remind André of Nadja’s impenetrability.

Her eventual recession into absence is the fundamental concern of this text, an absence that permits Nadja to live freely in André’s conscious and unconscious, seemingly unbridled, maintaining her paradoxical role as both present and absent. With Nadja’s past fixed within his own memory and consciousness, the narrator is awakened to the impenetrability of reality and perceives a particularly ghostly residue peeking from under its thin veil. Thus, he might better put into practice his theory of Surrealism, predicated on the dreaminess of the experience of reality within reality itself.

Read the book here: Andre Breton – Nadja.