西苏论画 201



Translated by Catherine A.F.MacGillivray

‘Sans Arrêt, non, Etat de Dessination, non, plutôt: Le Décollage du Bourreau’ was first
published in Repentirs (Réunion des musées nationaux, 1991):55–64; this translation first
appeared in New Literary History 24, 1, 1993 (Winter): 90–103.

‘I want the beforehand of a book.’ I just wrote this sentence, but before this sentence, I
wrote a hundred others, which I’ve suppressed, because the moment for cutting short had
arrived. It’s not me, it’s necessity which has cut the text we were on the way to writing.
Because the text and I, we would continue on our way.


‘I’ve learned to tear up nothing of what I write,’ Clarice Lispector tells me. But then
comes the time for separation. The time for publication.
I would like so much this unknown untorn page. Everything we read: remains.


I want the forest before the book, the abundance of leaves before the pages, I love the
creation as much as the created no, more. I love the Kafka of the Journals, the
executioner-victim, I love the process a thousand times more than the Trial process (no, a
hundred times more). I want the tornados in the atelier.


And what I love best are Dostoevsky’s notebooks, the crazy and tumultuous forge,
where Love and Hate embrace, rolling around on the ground in convulsions which thwart
all calculation and all hope: no one knows who will be born of this possessed belly, who
will win, who will survive.


I want the world of pulses, before destiny, I want the prenatal and anonymous night. I
want (the arrival) to see arriving.


Acts of birth, potency, and impotency mingled are what I’m passionate about. The tobe-
in-the-process of writing or drawing. (Mais pourquoi avons-nous perdu le gérondif en
français? Le vrai temps de ce texte est le gérondif.)


There is no end to writing or drawing. Being born doesn’t end. Drawing is a being
born. Drawing is born.
– When do we draw?
– When we were little. Before the violent divorce between Good and Evil. All was
mingled then, and no mistakes. Only desire, trial, and error. Trial, that is to say, error.
Error: progression.


As soon as we draw (as soon as, following the pen, we advance into the unknown,
hearts beating, mad with desire) we are little, we do not know, we start out avidly, we’re
going to lose ourselves.


Drawing, writing, what expeditions, what wanderings, and at the end, no end, we
won’t finish, rather time will put an end to it. (N.B. I’m saying writing-or-drawing, because these are often twin adventures, which
depart to seek in the dark, which do not find, do not find, and as a result of not finding
and not understanding, (draw) help the secret beneath their steps to shoot forth.)
I write this accompanied by seeking drawings.


It is the dead of night. I sense I am going to write. You, whom I accompany, you sense
you are going to draw. Your night is waiting.


The figure which announces itself, which is going to make its appearance, the poet-of drawings
doesn’t see it. The model only appears to be outside. In truth it is invisible, but
present, it lives inside the poet-of-drawings. You who pray with the pen, you feel it, hear
it, dictate. Even if there is a landscape, a person, there outside—no, it’s from inside the
body that the drawing-of-the-poet rises to the light of day. First it exists at the torment
state in the chest, under the waist. See it now as it precipitates itself in spasms, in waves,
the length of the arm, passing the hand, passing the pen. Eyes open wide in the night,
staring wide-eyed with hope, the one who draws follows the movement. S/he obeys.
Ecstasy: technique. Because not seeing doesn’t impede the pen from noting. To the


I write before myself by apprehension, with noncomprehension, the night vibrates, I
see with my ears, I advance into the bosom of the world, hands in front, capturing the
music with my palms, until something breathes under the pen’s beak.
(I’ve just written these lines eyelids closed as usual, because the day and its huge light
keeps us from seeing what is germinating.)


Now we turn on the lights, and lean over to see the work born. Then, surprise before
what, passing through us, was drawn; and if it is I who drew this unknown child then who
are I?


The drawing is without a stop. I mean to say the true drawing, the living one—because
there are dead ones, drawn-deads. Look and you shall see.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: