Antonin Artaud

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Antonin Artaud
Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud
BirthplaceMarseille, France
Theatre director, poet, actor, playwright
Known for Theatre of Cruelty

Artaud, Antonin

(äNtônăN` ärtō`), 1896–1948, French poet, actor, and director. During the 1920s and 30s he was associated with various experimental theater groups in Paris, and he cofounded the Théâtre Alfred Jarry. Artaud's theories of drama, particularly his concept of the "theater of cruelty," greatly influenced 20th-century theater. He related theater to the plague because both destroy the veneer of civilization, revealing the ugly realities beneath and returning humanity to a primitive state, in which it lacks morality and reason. The aim of the "theater of cruelty" was to disturb the audience and reveal the forces of nature. To achieve this end he emphasized the nonverbal aspects of theater such as color and movement and stressed the importance of violence as a theatrical device. Artaud's most important work is Le Théâtre et son double (1938, tr. 1958). His influence can be seen in the works of Jean GenetGenet, Jean
, 1910–86, French dramatist. Deserted by his parents as an infant, Genet spent much of his early life in reformatories and prisons. Between 1940 and 1948 he wrote several autobiographical prose narratives dealing with homosexuality and crime, including
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, Fernando ArrabalArrabal, Fernando
, 1932–, French playwright, b. Melilla, Morocco. He studied law in Madrid before moving to Paris in 1954. His plays, which reflect his abhorrence of political repression, bourgeois complacency, and war, are often abstract and savagely ironic, employing
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, Peter WeissWeiss, Peter
, 1916–82, German-Swedish dramatist, novelist, film director, and painter. Weiss's early novels Abschied von den Eltern (1961; tr. Leavetaking, 1962) and Fluchtpunkt (1962; tr.
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, Peter BrookBrook, Peter,
1925–, English theatrical director, b. London, grad. Oxford (1943). An innovative, unconventional, and controversial figure, Brook mounts energetic productions in which the entire stage is utilized and realistic sets are banished in favor of bold, abstract,
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, and Julian BeckBeck, Julian,
1925–85, American theatrical director, actor, and producer, b. New York City. In 1948 he married Judith Malina, 1926–2015, also an American theatrical director, actor, and producer, b. Germany.
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 and Judith Malina. Artaud was afflicted with mental illness from his childhood, and in 1936 he was declared insane; he spent much of the rest of his life in mental institutions.


See his Selected Writings ed. by S. Sontag (1971); B. L. Knapp, Antonin Artaud: Man of Vision (1980); J. Derrida and P. Thevenin, Antoine Artaud: Drawings and Portraits (1990).

References in periodicals archive ?
Small oblong portraits capture 36 influential figures, from Amedeo Modigliani, John Cage and Antonin Artaud to Sheikh Imam, Ghassan Kanafani and Umm Kalthoum.
I told Sarah to imagine a song written by Antonin Artaud, and she would understand.
Based on the work of Antonin Artaud, a 1920s French actor and writer who spent almost 10 years in a mental institution, Pearson's solo performances, Flesh and Asylum, explored the physical and mental aspects of the writer's condition after years of electro-shock treatment.
Dort, a eveille l'attention de Bertolt Brecht, Heiner Muller, Antonin Artaud pour ne citer que ces emblemes, un compositeur autrichien, Alban Berg qui l'a transcrit en opera, Werner Herzog dans son Woyzeck-film avec Klaus Kinski, une creation radiophonique et un superbe argument critique de Jean-Louis Besson, citons aussi Bob Wilson, Matthias Langhoff, Manfred Karge, et un autre film de Nuran David Calis, et tres recemment, Benjamin Poree, Jean Pierre Baro, Christophe Perton.
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As Maurice Saillet puts it in his essay, "In Memoriam: Antonin Artaud," "There can be no doubt that this journey among the Tarahumara Indians represented a kind of salvation for Artaud; never had his suffering, his inner agony corresponded so well to his vision of the world around him.
He brings to vivid life Breton, Marcel Duchamp, Antonin Artaud, and others, and even takes the title of Hu Mei's killer poem from a key phrase in Breton's The Surrealist Manifesto (1924), later inscribed in the epitaph on his tombstone: "I seek the gold of time.
This cryptic text acts as the inspiration for Kiefer's own hermetic works, which abound in mysteries of their own, referencing, amongst others, Paracelsus, the seeker of hidden knowledge, the secret mystic order of Rosicrucianism, the Golem, the notoriously cruel Roman Emperor Heliogabalus who instituted the mystical cult of the sun god, as dramatised by Antonin Artaud, the chariot of Ezekiel, 'The Great Work' otherwise known as the search for the philosopher's stone, the Norse God Thor, the secret language of birds, and of course Tempelhof itself.
Drawing on a background in German philology and anticipating his eventual training as a psychotherapist, Rickels analyzes several mostly German modernist writers--Freud, Nietzsche, Kafka, Karl Abraham, Antonin Artaud, G.
The focus of the author's work lies in her analysis of several key artists and musicians who have directly affected the development of new media such as John Cage, Edgard Varese, Antonin Artaud, Jon McCormack, Catherine Richards, and Char Davies.
Antonin Artaud, Marcel Broodthaers, Guy Debord, Marcel Duchamp, Yayoi Kusama, Yoko Ono, a succession of Life magazine covers and clippings, all of them secured under Henry Moore's Reclining Figure (1935) reproduced on page one as if it were a paperweight.