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Title: 'Raclures de l'âme' : materiality, mediation and the problem of representation in the work of Antonin Artaud
Author: Murray, Ros
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis explores the relationship between thought, language and the body in the work of Antonin Artaud. I wish to re-assess Artaud's work in the context ofa critique of representation, specifically as regards to how to represent the body. Artaud's work, I argue, questions the nature of representation and expression, and seeks to express thought as a corporeal force, overcoming the separation of the written word from its material and corporeal origins. On the one hand Artaud seems to desire a direct, unmediated form of corporeal expression, yet he continually draws attention to the body's mediation, as if what he calls the 'veritable corps' (or the 'corps sans organes') only comes into being through this mediation. Artaud's 'veritable corps', I will suggest, is a mediated one, but one which expresses continual processes of destruction and recreation, in opposition to both the living body as it is viewed from the outside, and to any representation of the body as a complete or fixed form. The unfinished nature of most of Artaud's work, and its ambiguous status as 'work', bears witness to this. The surface or membrane is constantly emphasised throughout Artaud's texts and drawings both in metaphorical terms, for example through skin imagery, and literally, through drawing attention to the surface of the page. If Artaud constantly engages with the surface of the page, and always uses surface imagery, this is because his corporeal experimentations, which later became his project for the creation of a new anatomy, occur as a process of destruction of these surfaces. I argue that Artaud's work should not be categorised according to the different media that he engaged with, but should be read as a perpetual striving towards an ultimate, overarching form of gestural expression that arises from the materiality of the objects he produced.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available