Wednesday, September 18, 2013
"Locus Solus. Impressions of Raymond Roussel"
My ideal perfect book on a without doubt a perfect writer, that being Raymond Roussel. "Locus Solus:. Impressions of Raymond Roussel" is a catalog of an exhibition that took place in Madrid, and for some reason the literature here is translated into English. Oh joy! Not only do we get samples of Roussel's writings, but also commentary by Dali, Breton, Soupault, and a fascinating interview with the great American poet John Ashbery. He is probably the only American in the 50's who had an interest in Roussel's work. While he lived in France he contacted people who either knew Roussel or had a deep interest in his work.
Roussel was a man who had a small audience for his work, but like the Velvet Underground, each member started their own important band. Roussel's followers were the DADA, the Surrealists, The New York School of Poetry, Georges Perec & his group, and basically anything that even stinks of the avant-garde that has a limb attached to the works of Roussel. Probably the biggest influence on an artist is Marcel Duchamp. The French, but New Yorker, genius based a lot of his ideas on Roussel's visual sense as well as his thoughts about the presentation of things that happen. In his mind, Roussel thought himself as an equal to Verne and Hugo, but the truth is his work was not noticed at all in the bestselling group of writers. He belong to the gutter of the avant-garde, but alas, the gifts he brings is endless and quite complex. The greatest joy in reading Roussel is similiar to someone taking you for a ride in a very interesting neighborhood, a place you don't understand, but equally remarkable for its daring and perverse beauty.
This book is a great introduction to the world of Roussel, and everyone from Dali to Mike Kelley allowed themselves to be touched by his genius. And without a doubt Roussel was a genius. To see the world with his eyes is a combination of a horror and carnival show mixed with a certain amount of beauty. And it these images that he produces through his writing that had such a major affect on the contemporary art world - even to this day. Buy and own this book before it totally disappears into the world of high-priced used books.