Let us linger on the state of water, as fluid.
Laat ons stilstaan bij de staat van water, als vloeistof.
(1) Barges on the River Maas
Barges flatten the water / till waves / roll aside / from the prow, /
take distance / and break upon the river-bank. //
Reeds move / and dampen the billows. //
On the river / the distance is crossed by foam /
that separates left from right, /
there, where the goal / has been passed. //
With eyes looking ahead / steers the skipper / the vessel /
towards another bend / in the counter current. //
Crawling crosspoint / in going / passed the mill-point.
(poem 2000, photo 2012)
(1) Aken op de Maas
Aken varen water, plat / tot golven, / uit de boeg / opzij rollen, /
afstand nemen / en breken op de wal. //
Het riet beweegt / en dooft de deining. //
Op de rivier / streept schuim de afstand door / scheidt links van rechts, /
daar, waar het doel / is voorbij gevaren. //
Ogen vooruit gericht, / stuurt de schipper / zijn vaartuig /
naar weer een bocht / in de tegenstroom. //
Kruipend kruispunt / in het gaan / voorbij het maalpunt.
(gedicht 2000, foto 2012)
(2) The Face of the stream
“The face of the stream / changed with the seasons . . . now it wore a gentle face”
(from: Morris West – The devil’s advocate)
(Het gezicht van de rivier / veranderde met de seizoenen . . . nu was het aanzicht vriendelijk”)
(uit: Morris West – The devil’s advocate)
(painting / schilderij, 21×29 cm, 2017)
Still, I don’t know / whether to swim / against the current / or to drift along. //
For the time being / I watch what / happens to others.
Nog steeds weet ik niet / of ik tegen de stroom in / moet zwemmen /
of me mee / moet laten drijven. //
Voorlopig kijk ik toe / naar wat anderen overkomt.
(Assemblage-collage, 2016, 30x21x3 cm)
(all texts and artworks by Drager Meurtant, unless stated otherwise)
‘Don’t follow me’
the guide said, and
disappeared around the corner.
An instruction needs
full of doubt
before being left
<Image and text (c) Drager Meurtant, 2017>
Now tell me
“Hello Doctor, / come in and / please be seated.”
(a moment of silence)
“I prefer we get / to business / right away.
Now tell me:
what use / were you / for society?”
Hallo Doctor, / kom binnen / en neem een stoel.
(een moment van stilte)
“Ik kom graag / meteen ter zake.
welk nut had U / voor de maatschappij?”
Wandering in the forest / the frst impression was / to be confronted by obstacles. //
However, at close inspection / the elements had been constructed /
to bridge a gap.
Dwalend door het bos / was de eerste indruk / te stuiten op obstakels. //
Maar, bij nadere inspectie / bleken de elementen te zijn ontworpen /
om een kloof te dichten.
Do not enter
The medium is clear / that of mixed-media. //
The intention, no … /
the aim is to provide / an easy path through the delta /
of my inner meandering.
Ga niet binnen
Het medium is helder / dat van gemengde techniek. //
De bedoeling, nee … /
het doel is het verschaffen / van een makkelijk pad door de delta /
van mijn innerlijke kronkels.
(text and photographs (c) Drager Meurtant, 2017)
An essay as Drager Meurtant, titled “Assemblages: the entrails explained”, has been published end of 2015 in Axon Journal Issue 9 (on assemblage, free on line access).
In the form of a poem, the essence of creation of assemblage can be formulated as follows:
Elementary pain / fits the precisionist. // When hammer hits thumb, / the outcry / of the artist / becomes the glue / of the assemblage. // And paint / drenches the pieces / into steady oneness.
Assemblage, wood, metal, glass, paint; http://www.meurtant.exto.org (2014, in private collection)
Installations are different.
This artist must take more time to get to the essence of installations. Here are just two examples (first image, then text):
Drone just landed in a meadow
This drone does not spy nor harm / except blades of grass / and only if pushed.
(One unique printed photo on aluminium available at 36 x 28 cm, 2013)
In particular / at the end of day / is the bao strictcontor / subspecies Grohe / at its deadliest. / The bite can come / from the crane-shaped head / and also the circular mails / of the many tails / contain a stealthy poison / that at long stand-still / causes death of veterans. (80 x 40 x 25 cm, 2013)
Zacht zuigen tenen / aan de klefheid / van net gestort beton.
In trage tred / gaan gedachten / in het rond.
Afdrukken / malen stroom, / die voeten / grijs doet stollen.
De gang / van troebel / denken / trekt / strakke cirkels.
Alles wijst / op een doorbraak.
(c) Drager Meurtant, ongeveer 2003; foto van 2015)
In Kunsthaus, Zürich, Switzerland a remarkable exhibition is held from February 1st to May 1st, 2016.One-hundred years after one of the founders of DaDa, Trstan Tzara, aimed to create a book “DadaGlobe” with contributions from many dada artists, a reconstruction has been accomplished.
With the 19th century increase in industrialisation and in migration to cities plus the enhanced nationalism in Europe and elsewhere there was more tension in society, which was also articulated by artists such as the ‘futurist’ Filippo Tomasso Marinetti. The call to get rid of existing structure in language and art by art movements like futurism, and in different direction, by kubism, anticipated Dadaism.
At the start of WW-One, several artists who had fled from being drafted into the military or were resident in Zürich assembled in a movement of protest in this city in Switzerland. They detested the role of the establishment / authorities who were responsible for – as Richard Huelsenbeck later, in 1920, wrote – “the massing <of> men in the trenches of Northern France and giving them shells to eat”.
Hans (or Jean) Arp came from the Elsace, a repeated playground for German and French nationalistic frenzy. With Hugo Ball and Richard Huelsenbeck, both german, and the rumenian Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco they founded Dada at Cabaret Voltaire, a small theatre started in February 1915 by Hugo Ball and his friend Emmy Hennings.
A prominent feature of dadaist aesthetic was its ridicule of materialistic and nationalistic stance, and it was expressed in poetry, prose, painting, sculpture and performance. The mediums of collage and of assemblage, that had surfaced a while earlier, were embraced with ardor.
While often seen as the first vocalization of babies, the word Dada – as the dadaists tried to explain -, means nothing or everything. As Hugo Ball mentioned “All the words are other people’s inventions. I want my own stuff, my own rhythm, and vowels and consonants too, matching the rhythm and all my own” (first Dada soiree, Zürich 14th July 1916). Later attributions are that the word Dada comes from French, from a children’s word for hobbyhorse, the name being arbitrarily chosen, or from romenian da-da meaning yes-yes (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dada)
A major force in Dada was Tristan Tzara. Exemplary is his statement about poetry:
TO MAKE A DADAIST POEM
Take a newspaper. / Take some scissors. / Choose from this paper an article of the length you want to make your poem. / Cut out the article. / Next carefully cut out each of the words that makes up this article and put them all in a bag. / Shake Gently. / Next take out each cutting one after the other.
Copy conscientiously in the order in which they left the bag. /
The poem will resemble you. / And there you are—an infinitely original author of charming sensibility, even though unappreciated by the vulgar herd.
(The following paragraph is taken from the press briefing by Kunsthaus Zürich)
100 ARTWORKS, 100 DOCUMENTS
With contributions by artists and writer s from seven countries, many of whom created new works for his publication, co-founder of Dada and originator of the ‘Dadaglobe’ project Tristan Tzara (1896-1963) set out to present the apotheosis of Dada as a literary and artistic movement of international scope and to document it for posterity. ‘Dadaglobe’ was envisaged as a paean to the work of art in reproduction; but financial and organizational difficulties meant that the book never saw the light of day. The result is a void where a magnum opus should be – at the heart of Dada’s reception and the artistic production of the avant-garde in general. Now, a hundred years after the foundation of Dada, an exhibition and a comprehensive publication aim to fill that void. ‘Dadaglobe Reconstructed’ turns the analytical spot light on this notoriously restless and virtually unclassifiable art movement. It writes a fundamental, hitherto missing chapter in the history of modernism, in which Tzara’s Dada legacy shapes the vocabulary of artistic discourse.
To honor the Kunsthaus curators and contributing artists / musea / collections with the establishment of the DadaGlobe Reconstruction, I will contribute – on the worldpress webpage only – my assemblage “Kaleidokopus”
Paleidokopus: the movement / is slantwise / cautious / and under guidance. // Threat can come / from all sides. // Fear feeds mania, / and reason / does not allay / thirst.
Assemblage, wood, metal, paint, 38 x 23 x 53cm, © drager meurtant, 2014 (more at http://www.meurtant.exto.org)
Richard Huelsenbaeck: En Avant Dada: A History of Dadaism, 1920, in Robert Motherwell, editor, The Dada poets and painters, Anthology, 2nd ed. Belknap, Harvard University Press, Massachusetts, London, 1951.
Dada and Surrealism: Texts and Extracts. http://pers-www.wlv.ac.uk/~fa1871/surrext.html
Samantha Kavky: Max Ernst’s Post-World War I Studies in Hysteria; The Space Between Volume VIII:1 2012 pp 37-63, http://www.monmouth.edu/the_space_between/articles/SamanthaKavky2012.pdf
Acknowledgement: the author thanks Kunsthaus Zürich for enabling use of text and images in this blog.