The Letter L (The Passive Vampire) by Ghérasim Luca, 1945
On Luca, via Mute magazine:
The book [Le Vampire Passif] falls into two distinct sections, the first of which is concerned with what Luca terms the ‘Objectively Offered Object’ (OOO), and describes the circumstances surrounding a number of these composite surrealist objects, each made by combining found or chosen individual items. […] One such object, entitled ‘The Letter L’, is constructed from an old, wooden child’s doll found in an antique shop, with hundreds of pictorial riddles from the pages of an almanac randomly pasted over its torso and leg, and with another doll’s head disturbingly attached upside down on its groin. Razor blades are inserted into this second doll’s head, with one sliced into an eye. The photographs immediately call to mind the violent re-articulations of Hans Bellmer and, more recently, the Chapman brothers. Through associations with Nadja, this object had been made as an embodiment of Luca’s desire to form a rapport with André Breton, whom he admired and had met only once, briefly. As Luca expresses it:
The doll found in the shop window and the envelope full of riddles in the drawer only imposed their presence, violently, into my life at the moment when the desire to know B. [Breton] located in them the overt substitute means for doing this. The incubus found its full realisation through the use of these two magic objects in which I was also shortly to discern sorcery’s demonic power. (pp.44-45)
There is something distinctly sulphurous in Luca’s allusions, from his poetic hermeticism to the various thaumaturgical and satanic references that run through the book. Certainly, there was a ritual element to the creation of these objects, doubtlessly stemming from his participation in various collective games of the Romanian Surrealist Group; games of giving and receiving ‘awards’ in absurdist ceremonial, and those of exploring the poetic qualities of objects in a darkened room through touch alone. These were games without competition, based upon exchange and complicity, without a predetermined point of arrival; through play the participants were able to explore the relationships that exist between subject and object, and the latent messages that are carried by the objects through a web of inter-subjectivity, in a ‘language of desire’.
Melanie Safka - I’m Back In Town
[…] dieser Widerspruch zwischen Erotik und Zärtlichkeit erschien mir ganz eindeutig als einer der übelsten Schweinerein unserer Epoche, als eines der Dinge, die eine Zivilisation unerbittlich zum Tode verurteilt.
Michel Houellebecq: Die Möglichkeit einer Insel, DuMont, Köln, 2005, S. 82.