Cabinet Features - Pierre Klossowski

Films, texts and images

 
 

Roberte, 1979
Initial release: 14 March 1979 (France)
Director: Pierre Zucca
Producer: Hubert Niogret
Music composed by: Éric Demarsan
Screenplay: Pierre Klossowski, Pierre Zucca

To download a PDF of an English translation of the script for the above film please click here
 


Publications
 
 
Pierre Klossowski
The Immortal Adolescent

translated by Catherine Petit & Paul Buck


This book, his last, broke more than twenty years of silence from Pierre Klossowski the writer. Its origin: a commission in 1992 for a play by a Viennese theatre. Fascinated since childhood by this mode of expression, Klossowski immediately saw the character Ogier from The Baphomet on stage and set to work once again at his writing desk.


However, time had enriched his imagination, and aided by the excitement of a dramaturgical finality, he reworked his novel intently.


The commission running aground, he transformed the scenario into a récit. From the succession of metamorphoses The Immortal Adolescent was born. Today it presents itself as undauntedly identical to its first model as totally different from it. Such is the game of the cycle of time.


Pierre Klossowski

The Immortal Adolescent

translated by Paul Buck and Catherine Petit

Published by Vauxhall&Company, 2014

68pp. 245 x 310 mm

Edition of 150

ISBN: 978-0-9928355-0-7

£60.00


To place an order please email art@cabinetltd.demon.co.uk



roberterecouped3.png
Roberte au Cinema
Pierre Klosswoski & Pierre Zucca.
Drawings by Pierre Klossowski, photographs by Pierre Zucca
Texts by Pierre Zucca, Pierre Klossowski, Michel Camus, Vincent Vergne, Jean-Marie Monnoyer, Jean –Noel Vuarnet.
Obliques Numero Special
Edited by Roger Borderie
Published by Editions Borderie 1978
27 cm x 21 cm 112 pp.
134 B&W & 8 Colour images
£35.00 GBP

To place an order please email art@cabinetltd.demon.co.uk


Frédéric Tonnerre Lucrèce et Tarquin from Pierre Klossowski Roberte Au Cinema



Frédéric Tonnerre La Belle Versaillaise from Pierre Klossowski Roberte Au Cinema





Pierre Klossowski
Gulliver’s Last Works
Originally published in French under the title “Les Derniers Travaux de Gulliver suivi de Sade et Fourier”
© Fata Morgana 1974
English translation © 2007 by Paul Buck & Catherine Petit
22pp. 31 x 40 cm
Published by Cabinet London in an edition of 50
£85.00 GBP
 
 

“ When I show Gulliver surveying and pacing out the vastly oversized body of a woman, this body could never be exchanged. One can see that this sort of mental or pathological exaggeration applies to the criteria of sensibility, that all sensibility presupposes the forgetting of a very early distortion. The Gulliverian perspective abuses the relative scale of visual sensuality. I admit that this disturbing obsession comes from my very early childhood… …..
I take the framework of Gulliver: a relic of the child’s diminished perspective, as in certain neurotic moments where a magnification of exaggeration appears, at the same time as that preference for partial objects, which says that the part stands for the whole. Note this explains my obsession with making the hand equivalent to the whole body: this is just an instrument of voluptuousness that has no other purpose than it’s own experimentation.”
From an interview with Pierre Klossowski.
 
 
 
To place an order please email art@cabinetltd.demon.co.uk



Pierre Klossowski.
The Voyeur and his Counterpart.
Catherine Francblin
(Translated by Suzanne Selvi)
 
from the May 1982 International edition of Flash Art
 
 
An unknown master
La Revocation de l'Edit de Nantesone of the narratives composing the romantic trilogy published under the title of Les Lois de I'Hospitalite begins by recalling the paintings of an "unknown master." Frederic Tonnerre, a painter "who was just over the age of thirty at the time of the Commune," had one fervent collector, one ardent patron, namely, the master of the very house which was ruled by the Laws of Hospitality: Octave, the sixty-year-old husband of the beautiful Roberte, heroine of all sorts of erotic adventures.
This unknown master had, for instance, painted a picture of Lucrece et Tarquin which the master of the house, Octave, describes in detail in his diary. The artist having painted La Belle Versaillaise the master depicts the painting, his writing reproduces the scene, his words reconstitute the picture, reveal the naked thigh, the golden hollow of the armpit, the breast peeping out from the unlaced bodice.
And then, there is Roberte—her life a succession of similar scenes. She is a living picture, writing personified.

The link between these three levels of reality—the body in the flesh, the body of painting, the body of writing—makes the origin of our emotion uncertain. Which comes first? Tonnerre's painting which inspires Octave's writing, which in turn arouses Roberte's licentiousness? It cannot be so, since Klossowski invents (imagines) the artists' paintings, paints them mentally before describing them and finally in fact paints them after having depicted the paintings in writing. So did the writing then come first? But Klossowski's romantic manner of writing is pure scenography, a pictorial sequence: a visuallanguage. What is the cause, where is the origin of the sexual disturbance? Is it Roberte? But Roberte is no more than a sign, a sham. As such, .she deludes us, and reality incessantly passes from the world of words taken shape to the world of the image taken shape, in a wild planetary whirl.
However undefinable the origin and unfathomable the cause, it makes no difference: "it goes round" as Galileo would have said. An unknown master plays with our emotions, captivates our eye, captures our senses. We are the prisoners of an elusive power, but one which does exist. Is it painting, is it literature, or is it sexual reality which binds us? The power which hides its sources so well, reveals itself through its effects.

Double language
Klossowski's painting reveals a particular eroticism in the play of hands. In the Barres Parallelesseries, particular attention is drawn to Roberte's hands, which are tied, and thus offered to the covetous desire of her aggressors. In he Maniaque Commence, 1978 a man standing on a stool sucks the palm of her hand; in Digantement, 1978 another, on a chair this time, uncovers a hand already opened in a submissive gesture. Roberte's hands, always very present, long and carefully drawn, are language in themselves. The silent image becomes eloquent through these hands. Look, for instance, at Lucrece et Tarquin painted by Frederic Tonnerre, alias Pierre Klossowski. While pretending to push away Tarquin's greedy mouth, Lucrece alias Roberte (alias Denise Klossowski) in fact flagrantly offers him her palm, whilst her other hand, lower down, far from refusing him access to the slit of her sex, in fact shows him the way. If we look at La Belle Versaillaise by the same unknown master, we can see the same double language expressed by the hands of the beautiful Roberte: "one of her hands lies while the other admits to a crime which she feels in her fingers". This double language which both hides and exposes, resists and surrenders, seems parallel to the language which Klossowski uses when, with one hand, he paints a picture, while with the other, he depicts a painting. Roberte's duplicity as revealed to us by Klossowski is the actual emblem of his art, but perhaps again only a strategy to escape from meaninglessness. Roberte: "He [Octave] thinks that by committing adultery or by prostituting myself, my soul will suffer, will become immortal and a beneficial shameful-ness will engulf me upon the appeasement of my senses; and that I shall at last be split up and achieve grace for having accepted what he calls sin"  
Writer on the one hand, painter on the other, Klossowski, at last split into two, can escape solitude through a state of grace. Roberte, who symbolizes imposture in art, is the bitch who in her train of scandal brings grace.
Solecism
Quintilien's phrase as an epigraph on the Catalogue Raisonne of the collection of Octave's paintings, as an additive to his diary says: "Some think that a solecism exists also in a gesture whenever, by a movement of the head or the hand, one implies the contrary of what one is saying." Solecism thus defined applies remarkably well (notes Octave) to the art of the unknown master whose women derive their very seduction from the fact that their sensuality conceals itself behind austere and chaste appearances. This solecism, or concealment, is the key to Klossowski's work. "One can imply the contrary of what one is saying …"
Pious imagery
The contradiction that exists between form and subject matter is in my opinion the strangest aspect of Klossowski's art. The licentiousness of the subject, the exhibition of sexual pleasure, the lewd lighting of bodies, is ill suited, but that of course is the whole point, to the "popular image" character of these paintings. From a pictorial point of view, they are not far removed from the pious images which are freely distributed in cathedrals, as in Siena for instance, representing Saint Catherine blessed by divine light. From a formal point of view, the artist is extremely classical, he draws with great care, there is no shakiness apparent, his style is almost lifeless, a well-ordered composition with pale and timid coloring. And then, at the same time, there is the subject which "implies quite the contrary," suggestive of sensual pleasure, disorder and brazen insolence. How can this cold, measured pictorial expression sustain these exhibitions of excessive behavior and disorder so evident, for instance, in Roberte surprise par le Colosse or L'Imperatif Categorique?
Klossowski's painting is a split image. Linguistics have taught us that a sign is composed of the significant and the signified which are forever linked together like the "two sides of a sheet of paper." (Ferdinand de Saussure). In Klossowski's work, this split is so evident as to create the impression that one can see at a glance both sides of the paper on the same side. The perceptive phase displacement produced by these two images simultaneously obtained —the pornographic image which superimposes itself on the pious image without eliminating it, and the pious image which contradicts the pornographic image but doesn't censure it—is somewhat like the feeling we would have if we were constantly flooded with daylight in the middle of the night. It is the distance which Klossowski creates between the significant and the signified which adds a certain humorous dimension to his art. This pornography is in reality a modern farce.
The obscene scene
During the last century when madmen really were in a world of their own, and when doctors would come to psychiatric clinics to have the patients presented to them, they were in a situation rather similar to the one Klossowski imposes upon us: a situation of total detachment. The dramawhich is being enacted before us and of which the painter is pulling the strings, is scene we see from afar—we try to interpret it, but we do not participate in it. There is no possible communication between the scene and ourselves. The actors are on one side and the spectators are on another; two closed worlds. One often hears people comment on Klossowski's paintings by saying "It doesn't affect me at all," as if the representation of drunkenness could actually make anyone drunk! In fact, Klossowski's aim is to sober us up by putting a certain distance between the scene and the spectator in order to reveal the forms more clearly. He wants to create a different space, an absolute mythical space which, because it cannot be possessed by the spectator, eludes accepted space. The fact that there can be no possible identification of the painting space with the spectator's commonplace vision of such space reinforces the obscenity of the scene which one can only look at as a voyeur. As a voyeur and not as a drunkard. In pre-Freudian times (when it was not as yet accepted that a grain of folly is imbedded in each of us), a madman was also considered to be an obscene person, fascinating and yet rejected as belonging to a world where excess knows no bounds. Excessive behavior, beyond our reach, has a transcendental quality. Unattainable, the obscenity of the scene is all the more desirable: it becomes the very object of lust. Roberte will never be consummated; the work of art will never be quite like the objects and the Robertes in our own image.
A living painting
And yet, Klossowski declares: "All my characters are portraits. They always have a living counterpart." Furthermore, his drawings are done on a large scale so that the representation in his pictures is nearer still to human proportions. Is this his way of linking the fictitious scene of unreality to the human stage? And what does a human represent? Isn't he already part of a scene, or rather would life be perceptible if it were not played out as on a stage? When Rodin undertook his Bourgeois de Calais and sculpted the most realistic figures (which he placed, without any pedestal whatsoever, right on the pavement of a public square so that passers-by would be shoulder to shoulder with them), not only did he revo­lutionize our idea of sculpture and our con­ception and definition of a work of art, he also considerably modified our way of looking at our fellow humans. If the Bourgeois de Calais are comparable to the men who sur­round them, then these men in turn have a resemblance to the Bourgeois de Calais;, they become sculptures. The characters in Klossowski's paintings—actors frozen in theat­rical attitudes—are, of course far from realistic. Contrary to Rodin's sculptures, they have no kinship with the passer-by, and there is no link other than that of size. Klos­sowski seems bent both on convincing us of our situation as spectators, excluded from the stage, and on obliging us to play an essential part in the play. By creating an identity of form between the spectator and the stage, he projects the former right into the heart of the scene. Finding himself sud­denly "a living painting," but in the posi­tion of an outsider, the spectator is faced with his counterpart, and this unknown image which is presented to him seems as artificial as a scene upon stage. The split image which I spoke about earlier now app­lies to space. The voyeur and his counter­part dwell at present in a split space, the twopoles of which, the real and the imaginary, stimulate each other but do not mingle-—"like the two sides of the same sheet of paper."
Klossowski's technique
The incongruity of Klossowski's tech­nique is just as disturbing as the images he paints. What is so surprising is that his work, which is complex and full of cultural significance, so mysterious and even her­metic in the message it portrays, should be so transparently simple when it comes to his choice of the manner in which to express himself. Klossowski uses a pencil—a lead pencil and crayons—and very large sheets of paper; there is something rather Lilliputian about him, as though he had decided to empty the ocean with a thimble. His draughtmanship suggests that he works slowly, meticulously, with scholarly appli­cation, often having to use his eraser and always having to control his movements. He works close up to his paper, and deals with his space inch by inch, which doesn'ttally with the idea of a phantasmagorical scene, implying global vision. The discipline which Klossowski imposes upon himself and for which Remy Zaugg compares him to Seurat, this discipline which proves that the artist is by no means carried away by passion, testifies in fact against him. For if one can easily admit pornographic imag­ery that can be classified—as X films are—as a certain type of imagery, this segregation no longer holds when the pornographer is as innocent as a choir-boy. The scandalous character of this licentious play is not due so much to its scenes as to the way these scenes are staged. Klossowski knowingly keeps his phantasmagorical vision at arm's length, thus enabling himself to avoid becoming its prisoner. Liberated from the slavery of the image, he can then give free vent to his tech­nical capacity. This is what makes him so modern. His work, which revolts against devoutness, pleads for liberty, not sexual liberty so much as a pressing need for liberty of language.
Stereotype
If the medium takes so important a place
in our perception of Klossowski's paintings, it is also perhaps because these scenes are clichés. The repetitive effect caused by the multiplicity of Robertes (Roberte et le Colosse, Roberte et les Collegiens, Roberte au Palais Royal, etc.) associated with the monotony of the events the paintings por­tray, indicate a phantasmagorical obsession but do not reveal it completely. This sup­posed obsession slips away again through the schematized and conventionally stereo­typed form, leaving exposed only what can be expressed. Frustrated by the impossibil­ity of capturing the essence of the phan­tasm, our eye slides away from the adoration of the imagery and rests upon the aesthetic code.
Pious images
As a child, Klossowski had a very tradi­tional upbringing. Marked by the symbo­lism of the Roman Catholic liturgy, he soon confused aesthetic Code and religious iconology. Later, remembering the code but forgetful of the pious message, he gives his painting quite another meaning. Not only does he replace the Virgin and Child with
the prostitute with a hat: he goes out to show that religion is based on the identifica­tion of code and imagery. Returning to the concealed word of the Bible, he protests against idolatry (that fetishism of imagery which leads to a confusion between the law and its incarnation). By doing this, Klos­sowski, pornographic painter, gives us an important theological lesson.
Sade, my fellow creature
If there is one name to which Klossows­ki's own name should be linked, it is Sade. Klossowski dedicated several years of his life to the study of Sade, from the publica­tion of Sade mon prochain  in 1947, to that of the essay The Philosophe Scelerat in 1967. Furthermore, in almost all Klossowski's written work, he makes some allusion to the "problem of Sade" and several of his paintings actually refer to him (as for instance in Saint Fond et le Petit Rose or Sade meditant sur la mort de Justine). What is so attractive to Klos­sowski in Sade's reasoning? It is precisely its discussion of atheism within the limits of its relation to theology.
Is the "unknown master" who dictates his law to Klossowski, a painter or a writer? In other words, where do the signs that Klossowski assumes originate? Now that God is dead, which unknown master sends the signs that testify to his presence here?
Interpretation
Should one read the dozen or so philo­sophical essays and novels which Klos­sowski has written in order to have a better understanding of his painting? Upon asking him this, his answer is (as could be expected): "Yes and no." Personally, I would say that they should be read, not so much with an aim to understanding the paintings, but so as to understand why, finally, in his work, one can only become lost or bypass it completely.
As such, the action which we are faced
with in the paintings is incomprehensible. It bursts upon our sight, reveals itself abruptly and aggresses us as though a light were sud­denly flashed on us in the dead of night. It is incomprehensible because, unwittingly, not having realized that we were on foreign ground, we find ourselves suddenly in a bro­thel. This unexpected moment which has loomed up upon us, without our knowing the why and the wherefore, leaves us as bewildered spectators, able to see the action before us, but incapable of translating it to our minds. This vision can certainly be des­cribed, but no single interpretation is possi­ble here: for either it refuses all interpretation (and can only be repeated) or else it provokes an infinite number of signi­fications (which is no longer an interpreta­tion but rather an exegesis). Cutting into the continuity of space and perception, broken, ruptured, the   obscure    scene
becomes excessive in two contrary but accessory ways: its excessiveness is either inferior by its lack of signification, or super­ior by an infinite proliferation of commen­taries. To take the scene literally, would be to stifle it and miss the point; and yet to look for its meaning would entail endless interpretation. From this point of view, the spectator can only play the part of a "consu­mer of painting." He is required to produce a text himself, a painting deriving from the "writability"—as Barthes would have said —of the work, as opposed to its consumer readability.


*

A brief biographical note on Klossowski would include the following

Pierre Klossowski was born in Paris in 1905 to a family of Polish ancestry. His older brother was the painter Balthus.
In 1935, after having frequented the circles of the Parisian Society of Psychoanalysis, whose Reviewpublished his first text on Sade, he met Georges Bataille with whom he formed a deep friendship that would last beyond the events of the war and until Bataille's death. It was through Bataille that Klossowski made contact with Breton and Maurice Heine and the group Contre'Attaque, and, later, that he would participate in the Review Acephale. He was a founding member of the College de Sociology. (along with Bataille, Leiris and Caillois,) and translated Nietzsche, Wittgenstein and Heidegger. In 1947 he published Sade Mon Prochaine, followed by his first novel in 1950 La Vocation Suspendue. However it was the publication in 1954 of Roberte Ce Soir, which Klossowski illustrated himself, which announced the singularity of his vision. This novel is followed by Le revocation de l’Edict de Nantes (1959) and Le Souffleur (1960) that along with Roberte Ce Soir make up the trilogy Les Lois de l’hospitalitie. Two further and important studies include Nietzche et Le Cercle Vicieux (1969) which was dedicated to Gilles Deleuze and which Foucault described as the  “the greatest book of philosophy I have ever read, on a par with Nietzsche himself”, and La Monnaie Vivante  (1970), essentially a book of economics,  which had a major influence on Lyotard and the writing of Economie Libidinale. 

Looking back Klossowski described the composition of Roberte Ce Soir as a decisive rupture with writing , and almost exclusively from 1970 until his death in 2001, Klossowski will devote himself to making large scale drawings, developing a unique semi academic anti-naturalistic style, declaring that “thought could only be understood by means of the imagination, and not the contrary”. Klossowski would have exhibitions in France, Italy and Switzerland , and would reach audiences in Mexico and Japan by the late 1980s. In 1981 he had a major retrospective at the Kunsthalle in Bern and the following year  was included in Documenta 7. Retrospective exhibitions have been held at the Pompidou Paris, Museum Ludwig Koln, and the Whitechapel Gallery London.



Installation Views

 
I. The Symptom of Art II. Schizoanalysis, Cabinet, London, 23 April - 23 May 2015 
 
Please click on images to enlarge
01.jpg 03.jpg
Installation view, I. The Symptom of Art II. Schizoanalysis, Cabinet, London, 23 April - 23 May 2015 Installation view, I. The Symptom of Art II. Schizoanalysis, Cabinet, London, 23 April - 23 May 2015
04.jpg 05.jpg
Installation view, I. The Symptom of Art II. Schizoanalysis, Cabinet, London, 23 April - 23 May 2015 Installation view, I. The Symptom of Art II. Schizoanalysis, Cabinet, London, 23 April - 23 May 2015
06.jpg 07.jpg
Installation view, I. The Symptom of Art II. Schizoanalysis, Cabinet, London, 23 April - 23 May 2015 Installation view, I. The Symptom of Art II. Schizoanalysis, Cabinet, London, 23 April - 23 May 2015
20.jpg 21.jpg
Scott Von The Symptom of Art 2015 Ink on paper 187 x 135 cm Scott Von The Symptom of Art 2015 Ink on paper 187 x 135 cm
22.jpg 23.jpg
Scott Von The Symptom of Art 2015 Ink on paper 187 x 135 cm Scott Von The Symptom of Art 2015 Ink on paper 187 x 135 cm
24.jpg 25.jpg
Scott Von The Symptom of Art 2015 Ink on paper 187 x 135 cm Pierre Klossowski Le Barres Paraileles 4 1976 Coloured pencil on paper 233 x 150 cm
27.jpg 30.jpg
Henrik Olesen The Body of the Master 2015 Wood, gesso primer, Edding industry painter 172 x 144 x 30 cm Danny McDonald Joker 2015 Plastic, metal, wood 135 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm
32.jpg 33.jpg
Danny McDonald Joker 2015 Plastic, metal, wood 135 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm Danny McDonald Joker 2015 Plastic, metal, wood 135 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm
35.jpg 19.jpg
Danny McDonald Joker 2015 Plastic, metal, wood 135 x 25.4 x 25.4 cm Pierre Klossowski Le Nu au Rat 1 1967 Pencil on paper 124 x 124 cm

 
The Immortal Adolescent, Cabinet, London, 12 September - 5 October 2013
Courtesy Cabinet, London
 
Please click on images to enlarge
130913-Pierre-Klossowski-Cabinet-0006.jpg 130913-Pierre-Klossowski-Cabinet-0013.jpg
Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent, Cabinet, London, 12th September - 5th October 2013 Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent, Cabinet, London, 12th September - 5th October 2013
130913-Pierre-Klossowski-Cabinet-0017.jpg 130913-Pierre-Klossowski-Cabinet-0007.jpg
Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent, Cabinet, London, 12th September - 5th October 2013 Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent, Cabinet, London, 12th September - 5th October 2013
18.jpg 20.jpg
Pierre Klossowski La punition au réfecroire, première version 1990 Coloured crayon on paper 175 x 143 cm / 69 x 56 in Pierre Klossowski Ogier feignant de s’en aller 1990 Coloured crayon on paper 167 x 122 cm / 65.7 x 48 in
19.jpg 23.jpg
Pierre Klossowski Ogier morigénant le Frére Damiens 1990 Coloured crayon on paper 175 x 142 cm / 69 x 56 in Pierre Klossowski Suprême vision de frère Damiens 1987 Coloured crayon on paper 148 x 140 cm / 58.3 x 55.1 in
21.jpg 22.jpg
Pierre Klossowski Le commandeur de St. Vit séduit par le jeune 1992 Coloured crayon on paper 126.5 x 148 cm / 49.8 x 58.3 in Pierre Klossowski Malvoisie initiant le jeune Ogier 1987 Coloured crayon on paper 137.5 x 150 cm / 54.1 x 59 in


The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet Gallery and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin, 14th December 2013 - 22th February 2014
 
Please click on images to enlarge
PK_46300.jpg PK_46303.jpg
Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin
PK_46291.jpg PK_46296.jpg
Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin
PK_46306.jpg PK_46318.jpg
Simon Thompson, Installation View, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin Simon Thompson, Installation View, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin
PK_46352.jpg PK_46357.jpg
Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin
PK_46342.jpg PK_46329.jpg
Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin Installation View Pierre Klossowski, The Immortal Adolescent II, Cabinet, London in collaboration with Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin
PK_46328.jpg PK_46361.jpg
Reading by Paul Buck, performance documentation, The Immortal Adolescent II, photograph by Juliette Blightmann Reading by Paul Buck, performance documentation, The Immortal Adolescent II, photograph by Juliette Blightmann
DSCN9143.JPG DSCN9144.JPG
Reading by Paul Buck, performance documentation, The Immortal Adolescent II, photograph by Juliette Blightmann Reading by Paul Buck, performance documentation, The Immortal Adolescent II, photograph by Juliette Blightmann
DSCN9145.JPG DSCN9147.JPG


 
 The Prose of Actaeon by Michel Foucault

 

From Pierre Klossowski The Baphomet

 

 

Klossowski revives a long lost experience. Of this experience, hardly any vestiges remain that might call our attention to it; and those that do survive would no doubt remain enigmatic if they had not been given new vividness and prominence in Klossowski's language. And if, since then, they had not resumed speaking— saying that the Demon is not the Other, the opposite pole of God, the Antithesis without recourse (or almost), evil matter, but rather something strange and unsettling that leaves one baffled and motionless: the Same, the perfect Likeness.

Dualism and Gnosticism, despite all the denials and persecutions, have indeed borne heavily on the Christian conception of Evil: their binary mode of thought (God and Satan, Light and Darkness, Good and Heaviness, the great battle, and a certain radical, obstinate spitefulness) has organized, for our thought, the order of disorders. Western Christianity condemned Gnosticism, but from it retained a light, appealing form of reconciliation; for a long time, in its fantasies, it carried on the simplified duels of the Temptation: through the cracks in the world, a whole people of strange animals rises up before the half-open eyes of the kneeling anchorite—ageless figures of matter.

But what if, on the contrary, the Other were the Same? And the Temptation were not one episode of the great antagonism, but the meager insinuation of the Double? What if the duel took place inside a mirror's space? What if eternal History (of which our own is but the visible form, soon to be effaced) were not simply always the same, but the identity of this Same—at once the imperceptible displacement and the grip of the nondissociable? There is a vast range of Christian experience well familiar with this danger: the temptation to experience the temptation in the mode of the indiscernable. The quarrels of demonology are devoted to this profound danger; and consumed, or rather animated and multiplied by it, they are forever resuming an endless discussion: to go to the Sabbath is to surrender to the Devil, or perhaps also to devote oneself to the Devil's simulacrum which God has sent to tempt men of little faith—or men of too much faith, the credulous who imagine that there is another god than God. And the judges who burn the possessed are themselves victims of this temptation, this trap in which their justice becomes entangled: for those possessed are but a vain image of the false power of demons, an image by means of which the Demon takes possession not of the bodies of the sorcerers but of the souls of their executioners. Unless of course God himself has donned the face of Satan in order to becloud the spirits of those who do not believe in the uniqueness of his omnipotence; in which case God, in simulating the Devil, would bring about the odd espousal of the two condemned figures, the witch and her persecutor—both thereby consigned to Hell, to the reality of the Devil, to the true simulacrum of God's simulation of the Devil. In all these twists and turns the perilous games of extreme similitude multiply: God so closely resembling Satan who imitates God so well. . . .

It took no less than Descartes's Evil Genius to put an end to this great peril of Identities, over which 17th century thought had "subtilized" to no end. The Evil Genius of the Third Meditation is not a lightly seasoned compendium of the powers of deception residing within man, but he who most resembles God, who can imitate every one of His powers, can pronounce eternal verities like Him, and can, if he wishes, make two plus two equal five. He is His marvellous twin, except for a malignance that expels him immediately from all possible existence. Ever since then, the concern over simulacra has fallen into silence. We have even forgotten that until the beginning of the Neoclassical age (observe the literature and especially the theatre of the Baroque era) such simulacra constituted one of the great causes of vertigo for Western thought. We continued to worry about evil, about the reality of images and representation, and about the synthesis of the different. We no longer thought that the Same could still get the better of one's reason.

Incipit Klossowski, like Zarathustra. In this somewhat obscure and secret side of the Christian experience, he suddenly discovers (as if it were the latter's double, perhaps its simulacrum) the resplendent theo-phany of the Greek gods. Between the ignoble Goat who presents himself at the Sabbath and the virgin goddess who steals away into the water's coolness, the game is reversed: during Diana's bath, the simulacrum occurs in the flight from extreme proximity and not in the insistent intrusion of the other world. But the doubt is the same, as well as the risk of splitting in two: "Diana makes a pact with an intermediary demon between the gods and humanity to appear to Actaeon. By means of his airy form, the Demon simulates Diana in her theophany and inspires in Actaeon the desire and mad hope of possessing the goddess. He becomes the imagination and mirror of Diana." And Actaeon's final metamorphosis transforms him not into a hounded stag but into an impure, frantic and delightfully desecrating goat. As if, in the complicity of the divine in sacrilege, something of the light of Greece streaked with lightning the dark background of the Christian night. Klossowski finds himself situated at the intersection of two very divergent and yet very similar paths, both originating in the Same, and both perhaps leading there as well: that of the theologians and that of the Greek gods, whose glorious return Nietzsche proclaimed to be imminent. The return of the gods, which is also, without any possible dissociation, the insinuation of the Demon into the unsavory, tepid night: "What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will return to you, all in the same succession and sequence—even this spider and this moonlight between the trees, and even this moment and I myself. The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again, and you with it, speck of dust!' Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you could reply to him: 'You are a god, and never have I heard anything more divine.'”[1]

 

* * *

 

Klossowski's experience lies here, more or less: in a world where reigns an evil genius who has not found his god, or who might just as well pass himself off as God, or who might even be God himself. Such a world is neither Heaven nor Hell, nor limbo; it is, quite simply, our own world. That is, a world that would be the same as ours except for the fact that, indeed, it is the same. In this imperceptible divergence of the Same, an endless movement finds it place of birth. This movement is utterly foreign to dialectics; for it concerns not the test of contradiction, nor the game of identity at first affirmed then denied. The equation A = A is animated by an internal, unending movement which separates each of the two terms from its own identity and refers the one to the other by the game (the force and treachery) of this very separation. With the result that no truth can be engendered by this affirmation; however, a space of danger here begins to open up, in which the arguments, fables and booby-trapped, alluring ruses of Klossowski will find their language. A language which for us is as essential as that of Blanchot and Bataille, since in its turn it teaches us how the gravest of thought must find its enlightened lightness outside of dialectics.

In reality, neither God nor Satan ever appear in this space—a strict absence which is also their interweaving. But neither of the two is ever named, perhaps because it is they who invoke, rather than being invoked. This is a narrow, numinous region where all figures are the sign of something. Here one passes through the paradoxical space of real presence—a presence which is only real in so much as God has absented himself from the world, leaving behind only a trace and a void, so that the reality of this presence is the absence in which it resides, and in which it unrealizes itself through transubstanfiation. Numen quod habitat simulacro.

This is why Klossowski hardly approves of Claudel's and Du Bos's summoning Gide to convert; he well knows that those who put God at one end and the Devil at the other (a god of bone against a devil of flesh) were mistaken, and that Gide was closer to being right when by turns he would come near and steal away, playing the devil's simulacrum at the behest of others, but not knowing, in so doing, whether he was serving as the devil's toy, object and tool, or whether he was not as well the chosen man of an attentive, crafty god. It is perhaps of salvation's essence that it is not announced by signs but takes place in the profound depths of simulacra.

And since all the figures that Klossowski sketches and sets in motion inside his language are simulacra, it is necessary that we understand this word in terms of the resonance that we may now confer upon it: vain image (as opposed to reality); the representation of something (in which this thing delegates itself and is manifested, but also withdraws and in a sense is hidden); a lie which leads one to take one sign for another;[2]a sign of the presence of a deity (and the reciprocal possibility of taking this sign as its opposite); the simultaneous irruption of the Same and the Other ("to simulate" originally meant "to come together"). Thus is formed the wondrously rich constellation so characteristic of Klossowski: simulacrum, similitude, simultaneity, simulation and dissimulation.

 

* * *

 

For linguists, a sign possesses its meaning only by virtue of the play and sovereignty of all other signs. It has no autonomous, natural and immediate relationship with what it signifies. It is valid not only through its context, but also by means of a virtual reach which extends like a dotted line on the same plane as it: by virtue of this ensemble of all the signifiers which define a language at a given moment, it is forced to mean what it says. In the religious domain one often finds a sign entirely different in structure; what it says, it says by virtue of a profound belonging to an origin, by virtue of a consecration. There is not a single tree in the Scriptures, not a single living or dissicated plant which does not refer back to the tree of the Cross—or to the wood cut from the First Tree at the foot of which Adam succumbed. Such a figure breaks down into stages through moving forms, which gives it that strange, twofold property of designating no meaning in particular but of referring back to a model (to a simple of which it is supposed to be the double, but which takes it back within itself as its own diffraction and transitory duplication) and being bound to the history of a manifestation that is never completed; within this history the sign may always be deferred to some new episode where a simpler simple, an earlier model (though later in Revelations) will appear, giving it an entirely opposite meaning; thus the tree of the Fall one day becomes what it has always been, the tree of the Reconciliation. A sign of this sort is at once prophetic and ironic: hanging entirely from a future that it repeats in advance, and which will repeat it in turn, in broad daylight. It says this, then that, or rather it already said, without our knowing, both this and that. In its essence it is a simulacrum, saying everything simultaneously and ceaselessly simulating something other than that which it says. It presents an image that depends on a forever receding truth—Fabula; and it binds in its form, as in an enigma, the avatars of the light that will come to it—Fatum. Fabula and Fatum, both sending us back to the first utterance from which they spring, that root which the Latins understood as word, and in which the Greeks saw the greatest essence of luminous visibility.

Clearly it is necessary to make a rigorous distinction between signs and simulacra. They do not at all involve the same experience, even though they may happen at times to overlap. For the simulacrum does not determine a meaning; it belongs to the realm of appearance, in the explosion of time: Noontide illumination and eternal recurrence. Perhaps the Greek religion knew nothing but simulacra. First the Sophists, then the Stoics and the Epicureans wanted to read these simulacra as signs—a rather belated reading, in which the Greek gods were effaced. Christian exegesis, which is of Alexandrian birth, has inherited this mode of interpretation.

In the great detour that is our own current experience, whereby we attempt to sidestep all the Alex-andrianism of our culture, Klossowski is the one who, from the bottom of the Christian experience, has rediscovered the marvels and depths of the simulacrum, beyond the games of yesterday: those of sense and non-sense, of signifier and signified, of symbol and sign. It is this, no doubt, which gives his work its religious, solar aspect once one grasps in it the Nietz-schean interplay of Dionysius and Christ (since they are each, as Nietzsche saw, a simulacrum of the other).

The realm of simulacra, in Klossowski's oeuvre, conforms to a precise set of rules. The reversal of situations takes place in the moment, the inversion of for and against being effected in an almost detective-genre fashion (the good become bad, the dead come back to life, rivals turn out to be accomplices, executioners are subtle saviors, encounters are prepared long beforehand, the most banal statements are endowed with double-meanings). Each reversal seems to be on the road to an epiphany; but in fact each discovery only makes the enigma more profound, increases the uncertainty, and never reveals an element except to conceal the relationship existing among all the other elements. But what is most unusual and difficult in all this, is that the simulacra are neither things nor clues, nor those beautiful motionless forms that were the Greek statues. Here the simulacra are human beings.

Klossowski's world is sparing of objects; moreover, they form only meager connections between the men whose doubles and as it were precarious intervals they constitute: portraits, photographs, stereoscopic views, signatures on checks, open corsets that are like the empty but still rigid shells of a figure. On the other hand, the Simulacra-Men abound: still few in number in Roberte, they multiply in La Revocation and especially in Le Souffleur, so much so, in fact, that this latter text, nearly stripped of all setting and materiality that might bring fixed signs to bear on interpretation, no longer consists of much more than a sequential joining of dialogues. The point is that humans are simulacra much more vertiginous than the painted faces of deities. They are perfectly ambiguous beings because they speak, make gestures, communicate by winks of the eyes, move their fingers and appear suddenly in windows like semaphores (is it to send signs or to give the impression of doing so while in fact they are only making simulacra of signs?).

With such characters as these, one is dealing not with the profound, continuous beings of reminiscence, but with beings consigned, like those of Nietzsche, to a profound forgetfulness, to that oblivion which makes possible, in "re-collection," the sudden appearance of the Same. Everything in them is breaking apart, bursting, presenting itself and then withdrawing in the same instant; they might well be living or dead, it matters little; oblivion in them oversees the Identical. They signify nothing; they simulate themselves: Vittorio and von A., uncle Florence and the monstrous husband, Theodore who is K., and especially Roberte who simulates Roberte in the minute, insuperable distance through which Roberte is such as she is, this evening (cf. Roberte cesoir).

All these simulacra-figures pivot in place: rakes become inquisitors, seminarians become Nazi officers, the confused persecutors of Theodore Lacase find themselves in a friendly semicircle around the bed of K. These sudden twists only come about by means of the play of "alternators" of experience. These alternators are, in Klossowski's novels, the sole peripeties— but in the literal sense of the word: that which ensures the detour and return. Thus: the test-provocation (the stone of truth which is at the same time the temptation of the worst: the fresco of the Vocation, or the sacrilegious task assigned by von A.); the specious inquisition (censors who present themselves as former rakes, like Malagrida or the psychiatrist with dubious intentions); the two-sided conspiracy (the "resistance" network which executes Dr. Rodin). But most of all the two great configurations which cause appearance to alternated are hospitality and the theatre: two structures which stand face to face with each other in reverse symmetry.

The host (a word which in French—hole—already whirls about its interior axis, meaning both the thing and its complement, host and guest), the host offers what he possesses, for he can only possess what he proposes—which is there before his eyes and is for everyone. He is, to use the wonderfully ambiguous word, regardant.[3]Surreptitiously and with avarice, this giving regard sets aside its own portion of pleasure and confiscates by sovereign authority one aspect of things which regards only it. But this regard has the power to absent itself, to leave the place it occupies empty and to offer instead what it envelops with its avidity. Thus its gift is the simulacrum of an offering, as soon as it only preserves the feeble, distant silhouette, the visible simulacrum of what it gives. In Le Souffleur the theatre takes the place of this giving "regard," such as it reigned in Roberte and La Revocation. The theatre imposes on Roberte the role of Roberte; that is, it tends to reduce the interior distance which opened up in the simulacrum (under the effect of the giving regard), and to make the double of Roberte, separated from Roberte by Theodore (perhaps K.), be inhabited by Roberte herself. But if Roberte plays her role with natural ease (which comes to her at least as if on cue), it is no longer but a simulacrum of theatre; and if Roberte on the other hand stumbles through her text, it is Roberte-Roberte who slips away beneath a pseudo-actress (and who is a poor actress in as much as she is not an actress but Roberte). That is why this role can only be played by a simulacrum of Roberte who resembles her so much that Roberte herself might well be this simulacrum herself. It is thus necessary that Roberte have two existences, or that there be two Robertes with one existence; she must be a pure simulacrum of herself. In the regard, it is the Regardant who is made double (and until death); on the stage of the false theatre, it is the la Regardee (the woman seen) who undergoes an irreparable ontological split.[4]

Yet behind this whole game of alternating experiences in which the simulacra flicker, is there some absolute Operator who is thereby sending out enigmatic signs? In La Vocation Suspendue it seems that all the simulacra and their alternations are organized around a greater invocation which makes itself heard within them or which, perhaps, just as well remains mute. In the subsequent texts, this imperceptible but "invoking" God has been replaced by two visible figures, or rather two series of figures who are, in their relation to the simulacra, at once with both feet on the ground and in perfect disequilibrium—both dividing, and divided, in two. At one end, the dynasty of monstrous characters, at the borderline of life and death: the professor Octave, or that "old master" that one finds at the beginning of Le Souffleur controlling the shuntings at a suburban train station, in a vast, glazed hall before or after life. But does this "operator" really intervene? How does he tie the plot together? Who is he, really? Is he the Master, Roberte's uncle (the one with two faces), Dr. Rodin (the one who dies and is resuscitated), the lover of stereoscopic spectacles, the chiropractor (who massages and works on bodies), K. (who steals the works and perhaps the wives of others when he's not giving away his own wife), or Theodore Lacase (who makes Roberte act) ? Or is he Roberte's husband? A vast genealogy runs from the Almighty to the one crucified in the simulacrum that he is (since he, who is K., says "I" when Theodore speaks). But at the other end, Roberte herself is the great operatrix of the simulacra. Tirelessly, with her hands, her long, beautiful hands, she caresses shoulders and heads of hair, arouses desires, recalls former lovers, gives herself to soldiers or seeks out hidden miseries. It is without question she who diffracts her husband in all the monstrous or lamentable characters in which he scatters himself. She is legion. Not the one who always says no, but, inversely, the one who forever says yes. A forked yes which gives rise to that interspace where everyone stands beside himself. Let us not say Roberte-the-Devil and Theodore-God; let us say, rather, that the one is the simulacrum of God (the same as God, hence the Devil), and that the other is the simulacrum of Satan (the same as the Evil One, hence God). But the one is the Insulted-Inquisitor (laughable seeker of signs, obstinate and always disappointed interpreter—for there are no signs, only simulacra), while the other is the Holy-Sorceress (forever on her way to a Sabbath where her desire invokes human beings in vain, for there are never any humans, only simulacra). It is in the nature of simulacra not to tolerate either that exegesis which believes in signs or that virtue which loves humanity.

Catholics scrutinize signs. Calvinists have no trust at all in them, because they only believe in the election of souls. But what if we were neither signs nor souls, but merely the same as ourselves (neither visible sons of our works, nor predestined), and thereby torn apart in the discrete distance of the simulacrum? Well, the point is that the signs and destiny of man supposedly no longer have a common ground; the point is that the Edict of Nantes supposedly was revoked; that we are henceforth in the void left behind by the division of Christian theology;[5]and that on this deserted earth (which might indeed be rich from this abandonment) we can turn our ears to the words of Holderlin: "Zeichen sind wir, bedeutungslos," and perhaps still beyond, to all those great and fleeting simulacra that made the gods sparkle in the rising sun or shine like great silver arches in the heart of the night.

This is why Le Bain de Diane is probably, of all of Klossowski's texts, the one closest to this dazzling—but to us gloomy—light, from which the simulacra come to us. In this exegesis of a legend we find a configuration similar to the one that gives order to his other narratives, as though they all had their great mythical model therein: a proclamatory fresco as in La Vocation; Actaeon is Artemis's nephew, as is Antoine to Roberte; Dionysius is Actaeon's uncle and the old master of drunkenness, of anarchy, of death forever revived, of perpetual theophany; Diana is divided in two by her own desire, Actaeon metamorphosed at once by his desire and by that of Artemis. And yet, in this text devoted to an interpretation of a remote legend and a myth of distance (man chastised for having attempted to approach the naked goddess) the offering is as close as can be. There the bodies are young, beautiful, whole; they flee toward one another with all certainty.

The simulacrum still presents itself in its sparkling freshness, without resorting to the enigma of signs. There, phantasms are the welcome of appearance in the light of origin. But this origin is one that by its own movement recedes into an inaccessible remoteness. Diana at her bath, the goddess stealing away into the water at the moment in which she offers herself to the gaze, is not only the turning away of the Greek gods; it is the moment in which the intact unity of the divine "reflects its divinity in a virgin body," and thereby doubles into a demon who makes her, at a distance from herself, appear chaste and at the same time offers her to the violence of the Goat. And when divinity ceases to shine in the clearings only to split in two in the appearance where it succumbs while vindicating itself, it leaves the space of myth and enters the time of theologians. The desirable trace of the gods withdraws (and perhaps is lost) in the tabernacle and the ambiguous play of signs.

At this point the pure word of myth ceases to be possible. How can one henceforth transcribe into a language such as ours the lost but insistent order of simulacra? The word perforce must be impure, which draws such shades toward the light and wants to give back to all simulacra, beyond the river, something like a visible body, a sign or a being. Tarn dira cupido. It is this desire which the goddess placed in Actaeon's heart at the moment of metamorphosis and death: if you can describe the nudity of Diana, you are welcome to do so.

Klossowski's language is the prose of Actaeon: the transgressive word. Is not every word so, when it must deal with silence? Gide and many others with him wanted to transcribe an impure silence into a pure language, no doubt not seeing that such a word only possesses its silence from a much deeper silence that it does not name and which speaks in it and in spite of it—thus rendering it confused and impure.[6]We now know, thanks to Bataille and Blanchot, that language owes its power of transgression to an inverse relationship, that existing between an impure word and a pure silence, and that it is in the indefinitely travelled space of this impurity that the word may address such a silence. For Bataille, writing is a consecration undone: a transubstantiation ritualized in reverse where real presence becomes again a recumbent body and finds itself led back to silence in an act of vomiting. Blanchot's language addresses death: not in order to triumph over it in words of glory, but so as to remain in that orphic dimension where song, made possible and necessary by death, can never look at death face to face nor render it visible: thus he speaks to it and of it in an impossibility that relegates him to an infinity of murmurs.

Klossowski knows these forms of transgression well. But he recaptures them in a movement that is entirely his own: he treats his own language like a simulacrum. La Vocation Suspendue is a simulated commentary on a story that is itself a simulacrum, since it does not exist or rather it lies entirely within the commentary made on it. As a result, in a single layer of language there opens up that inner distance of identity that enables the commentary on an inaccessible work to exist in the very presence of the work and enables the work to slip away inside this commentary, which is nevertheless its only form of existence: the mystery of real presence and the enigma of the Same. The Roberte trilogy is treated differently, at least in appearance—-journal fragments, scenes with dialogues, long exchanges that seem to tilt the word toward the currency of an immediate language without overview. But among these three texts a complex relationship is established. Roberte ce Soir already exists inside the text itself, since the text recounts Roberte's decision of reproof against one of the novel's episodes. But this first narrative also exists in the second, which contests it from within through Roberte's journal, and later in the third, where one sees its theatrical representation being prepared, a representation which escapes into the very text of the Souffleur, where Roberte, called upon to give life to Roberte through her identical presence, splits apart into an irreducible gap. At the same time, the narrator of the first story, Antoine, breaks up, in the second, between Roberte and Octave, then is scattered in the multiplicity of the Souffleur, where the one speaking is, without one's being able to determine for certain, either Theodore Lacase or K., his double— who passes himself off as him, wants to take credit for his books and finally finds himself in his place—or even the Old Man, who presides over the shuntings and remains the invisible "breather" (Souffleur) of all this language. A breather already dead, breather and breathed—perhaps Octave speaking yet again beyond death?

It's neither the ones nor the others, probably, but rather this overlapping of voices that "breathe" one another, insinuating their words into the other's speech and animating him with a movement, a "pneuma" that is not his own—but also breathing in the sense of a breath, an expiration that extinguishes the light of a candle; and lastly breathing (soufflant) in the specifically French sense of cheating or trickery, where one seizes upon something destined for another (taking his place, his role, his situation, his wife). Thus, as Klossowski's language recuperates itself, looming over what it has just said in the swirl of a new narration (and there are three, just as there are three turns in the spiral staircase adorning the cover of Le Souffleur), the speaking subject is dispersed into various voices that "breathe" and "trick" one another, suggest, extinguish and replace one another—scattering the act of writing and the writer himself into the distance of the simulacrum in which he loses himself, breathes and lives.

As a rule, when an author speaks of himself as an author, it is in the vein of the "diaristic" confession that tells of everyday truths—an impure truth in a spare, pure language. In this recovery of his own language, this retreat that inclines toward no intimacy, Klossowski invents a space of the simulacrum that is without doubt the contemporary, but still hidden, place of literature. Klossowski writes a work, one of those rare works which discover: in it, one sees that the existence of literature concerns neither humans nor signs, but this space of the double, this hollow of the simulacrum where Christianity has fallen under the spell of Demon, and where the Greeks once feared the gleaming presence of the gods with their arrows. It is the distance and proximity of the Same where the rest of us, now, encounter our only language.

 

Originally published in the NRF No. 135

Copyright Editions Gallimard 1964, Paris 



[1]Italics are mine (demon, I myself and god). The text is from Nietzsche's Gay Science (trans. W. Kaufmann), as quoted in Un si Funeste Desir, an important collection which contains some very profound pages on Nietzsche and makes possible an entire rereading of Klossowski's work.

 

[2]Marmontel said admirably: "Simulating would express the lies of feeling and thought" (Oeuvres, vol. X, p. 431).

 

[3]The French regardant, as discussed here by the author, means "particular, careful, punctilious" as well as "stingy, close-fisted"; it also, as a noun, means "onlooker," and since Foucault is playing on all these meanings, I have left it in the original French. (Translator's note.)

 

[4]Here one encounters again—though as a pure form, in the stripped-down game of the simulacrum—the problem of real presence and of transubstantiation.

[5]When Roberte the Calvinist, in order to save a man, violates a tabernacle in which real presence is not hidden, she is suddenly seized, through that miniscule temple, by two hands, which are her own: in the void of the sign and of the artwork, the simulacrum of the doubled Roberte triumphs.

[6]On the word and purity, cf. Un si Funeste Desir, pp. 123-125.

 

 

 


Installation View, Roberte Ce Soir, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, 18 March – 14 May 2017 
Courtesy Cabinet, London

Please click on images to enlarge
Pierre Klossowski_Roberte Ce Soir_2.jpg Pierre Klossowski_Roberte Ce Soir_6.jpg
Installation view, Roberte Ce Soir, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, 18 March – 14 May 2017, Courtesy Cabinet London Installation view, Roberte Ce Soir, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, 18 March – 14 May 2017, Courtesy Cabinet London
Pierre Klossowski_Roberte Ce Soir_4.jpg Pierre Klossowski_Roberte Ce Soir_7.jpg
Installation view, Roberte Ce Soir, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, 18 March – 14 May 2017, Courtesy Cabinet London Installation view, Roberte Ce Soir, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, 18 March – 14 May 2017, Courtesy Cabinet London
Pierre Klossowski_Roberte Ce Soir_9.jpg Pierre Klossowski_Roberte Ce Soir_11.jpg
Installation view, Roberte Ce Soir, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, 18 March – 14 May 2017, Courtesy Cabinet London Installation view, Roberte Ce Soir, Schinkel Pavillon, Berlin, 18 March – 14 May 2017, Courtesy Cabinet London


 
Artworks
 
 
 
 
Pierre Klossowski
Roberte aux Barres Paralleles
1990
Resin, wood, metal, acrylic paint
250 x 140 x 100 cm
Courtesy Cabinet, London

Please click on images to enlarge
28.jpg 29.jpg
Pierre Klossowski_Roberte Ce Soir_12.jpg Pierre Klossowski_Roberte Ce Soir_13.jpg

Pierre Klossowski
Diane & Acteon 
1990
Resin , wood,  canvas  & acrylic paint
244 cm x 176 cm 122 cm
Courtesy Cabinet, London
 
Please click on images to enlarge
37.jpg 38.jpg
 

Pierre Klossowski
L’enlèvement de Roberte ou La descente de l’escalier
1993
Oil on resin
244 x 150 cm
Courtesy Cabinet, London
 
Please click on images to enlarge
21.jpg 24.jpg

Pierre Klossowski
La Récupération de la plus-value
1981
Coloured pencil on paper
244 x 150 cm
Courtesy Cabinet, London
 


Pierre Klossowski
Malvoisie initiant le jeune Ogier
1987
Coloured pencil on paper
137.5 x 150 cm / 54.1 x 59 ins
Courtesy Cabinet, London
 
Please click on image to enlarge
klossowskiinviteimage.jpg

Pierre Klossowski
La Tête de Roberte
1979
Coloured pencil on paper
36 x 32 cm
Courtesy Cabinet, London
 
Please click on image to enlarge
11.jpg


Pierre Klossowski, un écrivain en images
1996
Director: Alain Fleischer