Original Artwork by Raymond Dijkstra / Louise Landes Levi
Numbered edition of 25 ex.
Henri Michaux (Namur 1899 – Paris 1984)
The French writer, painter and graphic artist Henri Michaux was born in the Belgian town of Namur in 1899 and spent his childhood in Brussels. He wanted to become a priest, but followed his father’s wish and began to study medicine in 1919, but soon abandoned this plan and signed on as a seaman.
After reading works by Lautréamont he began writing in 1922. His acquaintance with Paul Klee, Max Ernst and Giorgio de Chirico, whom he met in Paris in 1925, inspired him to first painting and drawing attempts. Between 1927 and 1937 he travelled through South America and Asia. Afterwards Michaux sketched and painted his Phantomisms.
He had his first exhibitions in Parisian galleries, followed by important shows abroad. In the mid 1950s Michaux began experimenting with hallucinatory drugs, particularly with mescaline, letting his experiences inspire his writing, painting and drawing. These works were first exhibited in 1956 at the Galerie La Hune in Paris. Then there was a large exhibition at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels in December 1957 and a retrospective exhibition organised by Daniel Cordier in Frankfurt/Main in March 1959.
His ink drawings evoke scriptural elements and calligraphic symbols which are a seismographic reflection of the artist’s inner emotions. The two systems of word-language and sign-language pervade each other. Henri Michaux’s impressive oeuvre attracted much international recognition. He exhibited works at the “documenta” in Kassel in 1959 and 1964; he was awarded the Einaudi-Prize at the Biennale in Venice in 1960.
Henri Michaux’s paintings always remained figurative, in-spite of all tendency towards abstraction. The artist’s intention was not to flee from the world, but to expand the world by changing the awareness. The real world was to be enhanced by additional levels of perception.
Henri Michaux died in Paris in 1984 at the age of 85.
Louise Landes Levi is a poet/performer-translator/traveler and a founding member of Daniel Moore’s Floating Lotus Magic Opera Company, America’s first fusion orchestra. After receiving a BA, with Honors, from UC-Berkeley, and studying at Mills College with the sarangi-master Pandit Ram Narayan, she traveled alone overland to Afghanistan in the late 1960s and to India, via Istanbul, Tabriz, Mashed, Herat, Khandahar, Kabul, Peshawar, Rawalpundi and Lahore, to research North Indian sangeet (classical music) and its poetic tradition. Several translations followed: Rene Daumal’s classic study of Indian Aesthetics, RASA (New Directions, 1982); from the Middle Hindi of Mira Bai, an archetypal singer-saint of the 16th century, Sweet On My Lips: The Love Poems of Mira Bai (Cool Grove Press, 1997, 2003 & 2016); and Henri Michaux’s Toward Totality: Selected Poems (Shivastan, 2006). She has published more than a dozen books of poetry and autobiographical prose, including most recently: Love Cantos, 1-5 (Jack In Your Box, 2011); The Book L (Cool Grove Press, 2010); Tower 2/Tara or dc-x (Il Bagatto, 2009); Banana Baby, with facing Italian translations by Alessandro Tuoni (Super Nova, 2006); and Avenue A & Ninth Street (Shivastan, 2004). Her electronic chapbooks may be found at the website Big Bridge. Her recordings include most recently: From the Ming Oracle (Sloowax, 2014), an instrumental and spoken word compilation of her works from the late sixties to the near present; City of Delirium (Sloow Tapes, 2011); Colloidal Love Poem (AudioMER.); Poetry Reading (Astres d’Or, 2018); Bombay Lunatic Asylum (Astres d’Or 2018). John Giorno writes: “Her poems sing in the mind and dance through the heart and throat, and arms & legs, w. great clarity and bliss. Louise is Saranswati, goddess of poetry.” Levi has studied with such masters as Annapurna Devi, Ali Akbar Khan & La Monte Young. When not performing, she lives in a stone tower in Bagnore, Italy, with winter quarters in New York, her birthplace, and elsewhere.
Raymond Dijkstra is an artist active since 1987 in music, sculpture, painting, photography, collage and drawing.
Founding member of Asra, La Poupée Vivante (with Timo van Luijk), Wendingen 1918 (with Bart de Paepe). He has collaborated with Frédérique Bruyas, Jon Mueller, The New Blockaders among others. RD is an autodidact who believes strongly art should be derived from worldly experiences and can’t be learned at school. The basis of the art lies in non knowledge, from which roads are chosen and lessons learned. Teachings came from life, alienation, dreams… Dijkstra has a discography of approximately 150 titles. His work shows a high degree of DIY in the sense that he has taught himself music ‘along the way’ while opening doors within himself. He has outed his music mostly through self-raised music and art publishing platforms like Le Souffleur (2003-current) and Astres d’Or (2017-current). The vinyl-records of this publication are hand-cut by RD himself.
As a visual artist, Dijkstra works in the field of painting, drawing, photography, collage, sculpture and objects. He currently works under the name Rayastre for his visual work as well for some of his audiowork.
“A love for experiences which connect me to the stranger realms are at the basis of my work”
Spoken Word and Music by Raymond Dijkstra (Mellotron, Organ, Gong, Oscillator, Percussion, Mixage, Effects) and Louise Landes Levi (Voice, Sarangi), Somewhere in 2019, Somewhere. Text: Henri Michaux.
|Raymond Dijkstra & Louise Landes Levi ~ In The Face Of Faceless Eye|
Artwork Description: Photo-collages by Raymond Dijkstra
Text by Henri Michaux, recited by Louise Landes Levi on Side A:
AN INTRODUCTION “La Terre n’est pas ronde, pas encore. Non, il faut la faire ronde” “The world is not yet round, No, not yet ,we must make it round.”
“Dans quelques cents ans, J’ai confiance, le monde sera large Enfin on communiquera avec lec animaux, on leur parlera.” In a hundred years, or so, I am sure, the world will be large. Finally, one will communicate with animals,
one will speak to them:
“Je lis surtoute ces textes archaiques,de peuple étrangères ou la poesie n’est pas mise a part, elle vient a l’improvise,
on ne sait comment.”
I read , above all, those archaic texts of foreign peoples
for whom poetry is not something isolated,
it comes spontaneously,
one doesn’t know how.
Text by Henri Michaux, recited by Louise Landes Levi on Side B:
THE LETTER I am writing to you from a country that was formerly light. I write to you from a country of cloak and shadow. For years we live, we live in the tower of a flag broken by wind. Oh! Summer! Poisoned summer! And ever since it is always the same day, the day of encrusted memory.
The ensnared fish thinks as much as he can of water. As much as he can, isn’t it natural? At the top of a mountain slope one receives a pike-blow. It is then that a whole life changes. One instant breaks down the door to the temple.
We consult each other. We no longer know. Neither one nor the other knows anymore. That one is confused. All are distraught. Calm is no more. Wisdom does not outlast inspiration. Tell me, who having received three arrows in the cheek will present himself in a flippant way?
Death takes some. Prison, exile, famine, misery take the others. Great swords of cold crossed us, then the abject and the sly crossed us.
Who, on our soil, still receives the kiss of joy in the depth of his heart?
The union of myself and wine is a poem. The union of myself and a woman is a poem. The union of the sky and the earth is a poem. But the poem which we have heard has paralyzed our minds…
Our song in the great suffering could not be sung. Art has the mark of arrested jade. The clouds pass, clouds with the contours of rocks, clouds with the contours of sins, and we, like the clouds, we pass, padded with the vain powers of grief.
One no longer likes the day. It shrieks. One no longer likes the night, haunted with worry. A thousand voices in order to deceive. No voice on which to lean. Our skin is tired of our pale face.
The event is great. Night is also great, but what can it do? A thousand stars do not light a single bed. Those who knew no longer know. They leap with the train, the roll with the wheel.
“To live in one’s own skin”. Don’t even think of it. The solitary house does not exist on the island of Parrots. In the fall, the villainess revealed herself. Pure is not pure. It shows its abstinence, its spite. Some manifest in squeaks. Others manifest in escape. Dignity does not manifest.
Ardor in secret, farewell to truth. The silence of the pavement, the cry of the stabbed, the harmony of frozen repose and feelings which burn was our harmony. The path of the perplexed dog, our path.
We have not recognized ourselves in the silence, we have not recognized ourselves in the screams, nor in our caves nor in the gestures of strangers. All around us the country is indifferent and the sky without purpose.
We have seen ourselves in the mirror of death. We have seen ourselves in the mirror of the outraged seal, of flowing blood, of decapitated rapture, in the charred mirror of insult.
We have returned to the gloucous streams.
Louise Landes Levi and Henri Michaux were personal friends during the life of Michaux. LLL has translated his work into English with the personal appreciation of Michaux. The texts used on this LP are from these translations. These translated text by LLL can be read in the book “TOWARD TOTALITY (Vers La Complétude) &OTHER POEMS by Henri MICHAUX translated by Louise Landes Levi” (Coronamundi Press, 2002 ; Longhouse, 2006)