ANTONIN ARTAUD QUOTES

French playwright, actor & theatre director (1896-1948)

Antonin Artaud quote

The actor is an athlete of the heart.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, The Theatre and Its Double

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Tags: actors


It has not been definitively proved that the language of words is the best possible language. And it seems that on the stage, which is above all a space to fill and a place where something happens, the language of words may have to give way before a language of signs whose objective aspect is the one that has the most immediate impact upon us.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, The Theatre and Its Double

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Tags: words


I have need of angels. Enough hell has swallowed me for too many years. But finally understand this--I have burned up one hundred thousand human lives already, from the strength of my pain.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Lettres a Genica Athanasiou

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Tags: angels


All true language
is incomprehensible,
Like the chatter
of a beggar's teeth.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Ci-Git

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How hard is it, when everything encourages us to sleep, though we may look about us with conscious, clinging eyes, to wake and yet look about us as in a dream, with eyes that no longer know their function and whose gaze is turned inward.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, The Theater and Its Double

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There is nothing like an insane asylum for gently incubating death.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Watchfiends & Rack Screams

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Tags: insanity, death


Life consists of burning up questions.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Selected Writings

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Tags: life


We must believe in a sense of life renewed by the theater, a sense of life in which man fearlessly makes himself master of what does not yet exist, and brings it into being. And everything that has not been born can still be brought to life if we are not satisfied to remain mere recording organisms.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, preface, The Theater and Its Double

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If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again. Suicide will be for me only one means of violently reconquering myself, of brutally invading my being, of anticipating the unpredictable approaches of God. By suicide, I reintroduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, "On Suicide"

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Tags: suicide


I am adding another language to the spoken language, and I am trying to restore to the language of speech its old magic, its essential spellbinding power, for its mysterious possibilities have been forgotten.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, letter to J.P., Sep. 28, 1932

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Tags: language


The fixation of the theater in one language--written words, music, lights, noises--betokens its imminent ruin.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, preface, The Theater and Its Double

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Tags: theatre


You are quite unnecessary, young man!

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Selected Writings

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For the lost are lost by nature, all your ideas of moral regeneration will make no difference, there is AN INNATE DETERMINISM, there is an undeniable incurability in suicide, crime, idiocy, madness, there is an invincible cuckoldry in man, there is a congenital weakness of the character, a castration of the mind.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Selected Writings

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Admittedly or not, conscious or unconscious, the poetic state, a transcendent experience of life, is what the public is fundamentally seeking through love, crime, drugs, war, or insurrection.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, "The Theatre of Cruelty" (Second Manifesto), The Theater and Its Double

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Tags: poetry


I see in the act of throwing the dice and of risking the affirmation of some intuitively felt truth, however uncertain, my whole reason for living.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Selected Writings

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Tags: truth


Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others. Then we might even come to see that it is our veneration for what has already been created, however beautiful and valid it may be, that petrifies us.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, The Theater and Its Double

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Leave the caves of being. Come. The mind breathes outside the mind. The time has come to abandon your lodgings. Surrender to the Universal Thought. The Marvelous is at the root of the mind.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, "Dinner Is Served", Selected Writings

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There are those who go to the theatre as they would go to a brothel.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Collected Works

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There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society

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Tags: madness


I do not like detached creation. Neither can I conceive of the mind as detached from itself. Each of my works, each diagram of myself, each glacial flowering of my inmost soul dribbles over me.

ANTONIN ARTAUD, Selected Writings

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