Belgium Dada and Surrealism: Clement Pansaers

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 3:45:37 PM

Belgium Dada and Surrealism: Clement Pansaers

1920 Paris Dadaists: Louis Aragon, Théodore Fraenkel, Paul Eluard, Clément Pansaers, Emmanuel Fay; Paul Dermée, Philippe Soupault, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes; Tzara, Céline Arnaud, Picabia, Andre Breton.

Today we'll look the founding father of Dada in Belgium: Clement Pansaers. Curiously the Sub Rosa Label has released a three CD's featuring THE SURREALISTS: DADA, PANSAERS ET CORRESPONDANCE [V.A.] and is titled "Volume 1: Dada, Pansaers Et Correspondance (1917-1926)." In the second volume Rene Magritte is featured on one cut where he explains why it's impossible to answer the questions of journalists. (we know why: one can never explain a mystery).

ELT Mesens, Magritte, Paul Nouge and the Belgium surrealists were were indepted to Clement Pansaers. Here's a description of Volume 1:  The first volume in a three part series (that will ultimately showcase 220 minutes of rare Surrealist documents), this release covers the years 1917-1926. Includes the crazy lecture by James Ensor in 1929, as well as many testimonies concerning the Dadaist Clement Pansaers by his own son, Louis Aragon, Philippe Soupault, Pierre Bourgeois, Pascal Pia, and so on. This release also features Paul Neuhuys addressing the foundation of "ca ira" (Henri Michaux' publishers among others), poetry by Franz Hellens, early memories of Henri Michaux and Camille Goemans by Robert Guiette, and Jean-Pierre Verheggen reading Henri Michaux. Also contains material concerning the 1924-1926 Correspondance Groupe (a parallel movement to French Surrealism) with direct testimonies from Paul Nouge, Camille Goemans, Marcel Lecomte, Andre Souris, Paul Hooreman as well as the opinion of Salvador Dali concerning Camille Goemans and Paul Nouge. This is a hardcore historical spoken word document, in the native language known as French. It's the original voices, recorded many years ago (this volume features material recorded 1917-1926, published in audio form for the first time).

This is interesting but you may wonder- who is Clément Pansaers?

Clément Pansaers circa 1920, posing with one eyeglass (the other is mysteriously absent)

Clément Pansaers was born May 1, 1885 in Neerwinden, Belgium and died at the tender age of 27 of Hodgkins disease on October 31 1922 in Brussels. The Francophone Belgian writer was also associated with the Dada movement in Paris and wrote in Dutch under the pseudonym Julius Krekel.

Pansaers began working as a wood engraver and sculptor, but he grew interested in the works of Sigmund Freud, Daoism, and Germanic culture, especially German Expressionism, which he introduced to Brussels. From 1917 to 1918, while living in occupied Wallonia, Pansaers edited the Modernist, internationalist, antimilitarist magazine Résurrection. There he expressed his conciliatory views on Walloon-Flemish relations and his vision of a consociational Belgian state, views that were unusually farsighted at a time of growing separatism. The German occupiers censored Résurrection for its alliance with the Bolshevik revolution, and Pansaers was later hounded by the Belgian authorities.

As the leading Belgian practitioner of Dada, Pansaers also was responsible for a celebrated issue on Dada in the Antwerp magazine Ça ira. His own poetry transcends subjectivism and sets off a controlled verbal riot. Le Pan Pan au cul du nu nègre (1920) is a long prose poem; L’Apologie de la paresse (1921; “Apology for Laziness”) is a lyrical frenzy with erotic and iconoclastic elements; his libertarian suite, Bar Nicanor (1921), includes an advanced form of automatic writing (see automatism).

Pansaers died, unheralded, of Hodgkin’s disease. His contributions, rediscovered and published some 50 years later by the Phantomas group of writers and artists, include such works as Point d’orgue programmatique pour jeune orang-outang (1972; “Programmatic Pause for a Young Orangutan”). In 1973 all six issues of Résurrection were reprinted.

As David Willinger argues: "There is no question of regarding Dada in Belgium as having been a movement per se. It is more accurate there to speak of the Dada spirit ." (Willinger 2). Dada sprang up spontaneously in Belgium and was championed, with little support, by Clément Pansaers, founder of the review Résurrection (1917-18). First learning of Dada while in Berlin in 1919, Pansaers went on to Paris where he participated in Paris Dada, eventually returning to Brussels disillusioned in 1922, where he died soon after of Hodgkin's disease. According to José Vovelle, of the future Belgian surrealists, only Marcel Lecomte had direct contact with Pansaers, though Dada left no significant trace upon his subsequent work (Vovelle 14). The Dada label could also be extended to the Antwerp artist Paul Joostens, and perhaps to the work of Michel Seuphor, though there was nothing at all comparable to the Paris Dada movement that Mesens encountered in his early trips to that city (See Sauwen). [from ELT Mesens article: Dada Joker in a Surrealist pack]

His books and writings are available online from the international Dada achive (untranslated): L'apologie de la paresse -- 1921.
Bar Nicanor -- 1921.  Le pan pan au cul du nu nègre -- 1920.  Ziek; Eene Moeder; Hertetolken -- 1910.
Works in Dada era publications from the Dada Archive: Texts: Un Bombe déconfiture : aux Iles sous le vent. (Poem) 391, no. 15, July 1921, p. 8.Ici finit la sentimentalité. (Poem) Littérature, no. 14, June 1920, p. 18-22. Zinzin. Littérature, no. 19, May 1921, p. 20-23.

When Pansaers was in Paris many black shows started, in particular in the area that was fast becoming the main place for artists and intellectuals: Montparnasse. The black show were an influence of American soldiers who were in Paris during the war. Jazz and blues became popular and so Pansaers two of Clements works show are titled "negre" as a result of this asssociation with Dada to jazz and blues.

Here is the English translation of one of Clément Pansaers' best works: Le Pan Pan au cul du nu nègre. It is divided into two parts. 

Pan-Pan- Clément Pansaers 1919

A good final round is being danced. Warning to the inexperienced: Here goes the

with absent partners
who are dancing it somewhere else right now

Yesterday is a memory. A memory is tendering. Point, eighteen-month arabesque:

     Relish the feeling of tenderness caused by rococo melodrama - a lock of hair in a charm necklace - initials etched into wedding rings. - Dedicate the maquette to the memory of a statufied germ: - childishness of the elysian virus, disconcerting in parasitic benevolence. -
     Spiral vibrations, tomorrow gossips: -
     Prescience of fluids incurving deep down the subconscious. The somnambulized medium, jumping like a clown, haphazardly, under suggestion, prophesizes the fireworks of providence.
     Static is a ripple escaping, obliquely, by explosion - i - whistling, on the ellipsoidal curve of the dynamic. Universal is the mistake: static is accidental - spurt on the severed artery.
     Transcendental, across the polyphonic violence of chaos, rippling in my degree of obliquity, on my curve, under detonations, zigzagging - spirally interpenetrate the complementariness of yesterday and tomorrow.
     - Your head is shaped like an upside-down cone with its tip cut off. Don't be crazy enough to look for the top at the base. It's stuck straight up, apathetically, in your stomach. The ego is between yesterday and tomorrow like a common thread stretched between the negative and the positive. As for mine, it doesn't need an isolator so much as an interrupter, neutralizing, clean.

Is it out of pride or elementary self-respect that we thank the electric post identity? Two vectors, slicing at the top, - one faces forwards, tomorrow, more banal than the other, yesterday, facing backwards - stab my ego with a mute. I want myself without any velvet patina - nude - flexuously nude, like a room in a whorehouse with concave and convex mirrors, nude -
     - Resonant - spherical o, turning with the sound of an engine, the smell of gas - from garages to stations, factories to ports - where the cranes grate - oblong the belts around rods and spherical gears whirl o -
     - You have a good mother, son. She is a unity of time and place, humanly static in a straight line.

     Your physical asymmetry prefigures an imbalance of animistic forms. To your explosive movements your pores reflect metallic light. You talk like a drunk, alogical. Aio! a little music-hall scandal! You're leaning toward us. Oy! vitriol, eighteen-month ellipse! From all the moving violence of my polyrhythmic, my equivalences spiral toward your arabesque, in counterpoint. Woman - paint the scene - with hospital yellow, factory red, madhouse green - Sprinkle the signs and floor with water - dip the atmosphere in similar scents: iodine, benzene, nitric acid - Let the organs scream i-i - the cats meow, the dogs bark -

Under the fireworks we dance the
Pan-pan - Pan-pan
If you end up jail someday, you'll swear -
at eighteen months my father sang to me -
Pan-pan - Pan-pan
If you end up in the hospital someday, you'll spit -
at eighteen months my father blasphemed me -
Pan-pan - Pan-pan
If they lock you up in the madhouse someday
you'll sing: at eighteen months, I danced -
Pan-pan - Pan-pan
Polyphony - polyfolly
My mother is a saint!
My father is a music café
Pan-pan - Pan-pan

Pan-pan again?
     Charging, roused by wild reds, over hieraticized mummies, buffalos? - Admit how easy it is when a whole army brings you the solution to an equation instead of having to do it yourself.
     You're showing me your nostril as you state the facts: an eye again. - It is, out of the ball of soap, a soul sticking to the head of a pipe. To soldered things, the soul is solder. Because your elastic power now moves free in memories, ambiance, you can bring together the disparities of violence. Your mother teaches you that only pigs can see the wind, and that you saw it extinguish the stars, covertly and flawlessly. But even though you're not a cripple, you're still relatively fat. Memory is grease to a wheel. It's crazy to enter an apprenticeship to be a man. Aren't there already two of them, in front of you, who glorify themselves with their work. One simple detail: At the same time as a crazy bitch is being taken to the male or under the pump, the human erects a fortress to his own insanity. 

     My ego won't be a pyramid on wheels now that you've shown me, hidden in the back of that wonderfully velvety eye known as the nostril, the human soul. It's an entire moving architecture that incurves of influences, to be demolished.

I go out from between yesterday and tomorrow - volatized, like a rainbowed sound made by two empty bottles, which were executed, in his opinion, capitally, by a drunk using a plastic shortcut, base against base.
     A ball strolls down roads, boulevards. - These humans are so squishy! In my zigzag line I fly, leaping from marquise's frou-frou silk to a coal heaver whose breadth was metallic. I leap the pan-pan! Rhythm, negro, adamantine! If you turn rough someday, you'll love your gun. Pan-pan! Pan-pan! - Is it me or an American eccentric - pan-pan - whose ego, elastic, is a ball of rubber!
     Pan-pan - riot! Diggers, the diplomatic contradiction calls for dockers. Every bit of cinematographic life unfolds on the last page of the newspaper: mechanical moral lie, with the hubbub of ads. Polygamy, hubbub. - The hilariously interesting types are mythic cabmen, crimps of the streets, by night, all cotenants.

Tonight, I am an announcement on the 12 o'clock news. Canalized caricatures - pan-pan - Prototypes of brotherhood. A calico ad: paperboys on strike, walk me: through the throngs in restaurant-bars - the swarms in tea-tangos, - and onto dance clubs - from the people the brouhaha: Pan-pan-pan!
     On the side of the undone, unsensed, reel the hubbub. Pan-pan of the riot moves closer. You have a job now, assassins! Attack and destroy the homes, every last one, of charitable parodies. Slash romantic emulations - Tonight, the pan-pan is red - All and nothing but the act is beautiful.

Pan-pan - Pan-pan
Red Ida and her henchmen
Pan-pan - Pan-pan
Red Rosa

 Glory broke all the records: transform public statues into light-up ads. Too ridiculously realistic, sculptor. Just like glory, the monotonous stability of what you do is unhygienic. All and nothing but the act - and only in its duration - is beautiful. Bass drum: repetition! Painting serves as a decoration for dinner and supper. Dressed in a smoking jacket, poetry rhymes at a 5 o'clock tea. Between dessert and bedtime, music beats in time to drinks. After the midnight curfew, artists: tell myths. If you're unemployed or a mason - be an ambulance driver! In this syndicated era, pimps can't make the maximum. Mechanical monotone that the work routine. Partly a savvy servant in the animal world; what a job the savage has! Strike, sophistic rhetorician. Staring for days at a blank white wall: - Tides climb: waters - waters froth; gusts, blasts! Thrash the lachrymal deep. In bilateral movement - forward - backward at high speed, backward - forward simultaneously - vertigo of staying still - Flaming mouths of blast furnaces. Clean blows of rammers, embossing presses. Grinding noises in the mills producing sheet metal rolls - Saltpeter carbonizes the nasal cavity. Expanse streaked with sound, immense, perpendicularly pierces the cone's peak - opens the skull. Kid: to be a father and eaten away by the fever of hunger - hunger for sincerity: Guillotine! Fall in the void - coal-mine shaft, lasting forever. Void, madness! scalp, dismember, dissect: dogs, pigs and other humans. A snow effect? Thug! Shiver, teeth chattering - Brrr! Freeze the vermin, rabble, scum. You're trash, filthy populace! Brutes - beh!

Across the entire line - from start to finish - parasite is the quotient of the progression: Louse: pariah : .of which owner is the last term. And stronger evidence than any typical calculation - reducible into this ultra-divine section: louse is to pariah as pariah is to owner - unilateral in the uninterchangability of its terms: imprescriptable. Kid, good you're for me: like goodies are good for you! Tonight! - Twelve bucks - Pan-pan - Pansard. -
     Brain hash. Does the mind, in effect, live? Pan-pan of condolences! Sentimental madness. An ideal gas filters the air, which becomes tonic.
     Kid: so dance the Pan-pan, over the fusion of indivisibles:

A seven is German - smelted: lead and iron mystery
Pan-pan - Pan-pan
Alloy of steel "three" and the remaining ebony and amber
make a five out of English leather,
A three is Italian, in its green flourishes,
Russian is two - black and white dream
Pan-pan - Pan-pan
One is wine-France

Zero is made of pockmarks
Burn a 0 in the flag:
blow on digit magnetism,
consummation in concentric circles
cubically shaves the round table
Pan pan
o i u a
Da capo
pan pan
Pan-pan - Pan-pan

The Negro Nude

Evidence separates the exterior from the interior 

     The Aphorism is a soothing poultice: Life is an imaginary disease: struggling, pursuing happiness, the one heavier than air - the light one thrown to the wind: - This human, with one foot stuck in inertia and the other in speed - by his legs again, is dependent on the exterior and tributary. A glass bell equals the idea - tries to conserve force - cheese hangs over like a bell. The human is isomorphic: the extrinsic is deliquescent, the intrinsic efflorescent. A hack chemist is just as valuable as a philosopher - who, by distilling his words, discovers principles. The filigreed ozone - amorphous - business card of specialization. A digit replaces the confiscated ego; the name, honorably, dresses it up; the nude ego does not exist, in effect.
     - Who, up there in the allotropic, wants to return to their essential value, burn their brains, conscientiously: in an endothermic decomposition, aiming, with no tragedy, as the second-person pronoun of a reflexive verb in personal mode would say: present.

This morning, just out of the bath, thrown heads and tails into a mirror, doubly split - arms extended, shoot brownings - headlight desire - jingling - climb, turn in the void - dangerous triple axle: - right hand on the ground - hilarious, in detonations cavalcading the cascade of mirrors - grab hold with my left foot and walk with acrobatic elegance. Continues gallop of consonants over the sonority of vowels - to unfurl the fall:
     Nude I am: - no more action in that sunflower of a mirror. - Annulled are attractions like repulsions: - insulator, in its initial state, stroll on a string pulled taut across the intersection where opacity and transparency are confused. Willingly shards of glass - used sinopisms - serve as tattooing implements for the useless. Turn in vain the trash cans, the buried, curved, nude ego. Requisition an entire orchestra and ignorant virtuosos for resurrection. Pan-energetic is the wind.
     Like the human, insipidly spectral is the soul of the world, in its common borders.
     In chiaroscuro, somersaulting, tie the horizon to the zenith: - Exist means and motifs for hanging the world. It remains to discover the crutch. From behind or in front, the nude ego will come out singularly.

 A "yes" is opposed to a "no" - extract nonsense, thus, from sense. The sheet music of the relative: - Kettledrums; muted - triple time - gallop. Reality - Cymbals! - is trespassed. Carillons: the violet reflection of a bloodless spasm. - Bursts of laughter - unity is multiple - violins : pointed - trills - serious. - Screams of seconds on the piano - clenched fist. Loud - Kettledrums - raw sounds. Rebirth of the unreal from the ashes of reality. - Jerk, extremely sharp, serious sounds - conscious, unconscious. - Lay tar, bitumen - Hoo! In reinforced concrete, the tree of liberty uses crutches - Sirens, anvils shrill ideologies. - Pathological is the epiphenomenon of chaos. From the negative ego explodes the positive ego. Sharpen the waxing of the moon. Exodus of humanity - join hands around the crutch: the calf is no longer a calf. Rise chromatically in fifths - chords - : green, green, blue - pick the chanterelles - sweat is a perfume, dampness is a sperm - make mushrooms grow. - Spinning, dive - the brasses - red fourths - nervously neuter seconds at the piano - redder, infra-red. - Bring out the cellars of champagne - Extra-dry nauseas. Intermix, in two lines, men tripping over women. - Utopian energies - Frenetic thunder - Males are no longer male; females are no longer female - Go back, eunuchs, hermaphrodites, to the starting point - dimorphous, - dioic! Here nerves break apart, hypertrophied: Pan - detonate silence - silence - Silence is mica. Blanche is whiteness. The ego, nude, is elastic - acrobatics are volatized - The impossible reduced to possibility - the ego is sense, realizing probabilities.

The soul discovers - begins the existence of things.
     Speech is a chrysalis. Worn out is the game of only producing larvae. Too convinced is crematology in its senile metamorphoses. Everything is convinced. Negative or positive - they all succumb to conviction. Clap: the verb is giving birth to the act! Finally! Clap again! - Uni lateral - the illusion is, like politeness, emollient. Stab and scar - is, like disengaging, a bilateral affair. Excorticated, the ego is a sensitive sheet: - desire is a dynamo - eccentric. A pancake is psychology. Turn, turn the ubiquity, concentric, of sentimentality. Facing a hinged wardrobe - syncopate the nude ego. Purge systems, in the laws of imagination. Oy! diarrhea hoo! of immutability. Naturalist - hypotyposes! Chimneys walk out of the factories on strike - in mid air, climb into a pyramid. Scan the pylori: kaleidoscope diorama a cloaca, tonight.

Load the film - sensation - Fireworks of ads: serpentine radium shaped like a pagoda. Boxing matches at the intersections: the contestants, with each scientific blow, light up - polyphonic light - in cubistically illuminated calico:

 Together cross beyond existence: the abortion, heaven, and earth. Stillborn, miscarried, the aborted child was cut from the cord of non-existence.
     Infinitesimal in its unknowns is the staged theorem. Is it zero or one: - the numerical and applied sciences mime interrogatively through ballet. To the minor arts is entrusted the administration.
     Barbaric battle of angles: - surgical, puerperal, and, on ripplings, multiple criticisms of other specializations in wisdom. A clownish violinmaker will pick "Paganini" chanterelles from extrinsically virgin entrails. Only two sides remain of the three-newborn triangle! The right angle cries for the hypotenuse. Heaven and earth it's us! - everything revolts, born at the same time. Premises are we in favor of the stillborn. Triangle stretching and embossing: - Smashed open to the wind, only the border remains of the polygon. Lewd is the suggestion. - Stage and auditorium will weather the explosion of the bomb that is the X of this Pi! Complain the verbal jousts of anthropomorphic servitude, fingerprints. Frenetic, laughs and sobs shout for and against. A question mark, the pragmatist, is looking for a place in this combination, when already: pistons, trombones and bass drum shatter the march of the stillborn to the morgue autopsy.
     The rest is left for the next generation.
Nude, the ego - free of ambiance - in chaos bathes. Coasts covered in dynamos - electrify the ocean's understanding: infuse the waves with a conscious individuality. And dance - dance: gusts of cakewalk - dive - jump from whirlwind to whirlwind and tornado on the foam - multiple myths of truth. Humanize the winds: build barracks for tradewinds at the poles. Abstractions are incarnated - grotesque lures: music-hall utopias fill scenic railways up with this Luna-Park. Sensory appearance rides on sensorial evidence. Wisdom spreads confusion methodically: Fish dive, birds fly away as the beautiful icon approaches: - this annuls the exact sciences: Multiple are the straight lines - varied according to the refraction of the visual angle - aerial, terrestrial, aquatic - that connect two points. Cross the threshold of idiocy: All angles are right. Speaking in a plastic idiom, fit is the brute: - A muzzle on the rhetorician defending the superbrute. In prison are imaged nuances. Good-for-nothing idiot: - Better than from ichthyophagi, seize an esthetic criterion from fish. The sensitive ones passed away, back when the rent was good and stable, from cardiac affection. Surrender to laughter, inspired sensitivity when faced with - among other events, dropping dead - beds in hostels hilarious muteness. Luxury of the useless. Chance makes finance fail. Rational method with a rotary system, of emotional education, for ladies' hats and other accessories. Philosopher: poetize the way of the world and man's place in it.

Over decomposition - raise a broom with radiotelegraphic antennae. Responsibility is an automatic orchestrion: squish a nauseating glittery bacchanal: all madness lies with the wise and saintly. Sanctity is subject - object is wisdom.
     Wise is the idiot and saintly. Seize sense, through jaws, horses; dogs, through their muzzles, sniff out the world. From music decked out with organs in the dancehalls, the servant and her docker become feverish - like their master from flavored champagne, in the company of his lady.
     Of luck the stormy waltz: - on belts moving floors, in contrary motion - whirl in a fast backward step. Morality is the vibration quotient of the sentimental scale of results: each tone is a result: - Separate bandit morality from the morality of the honest man - a simple interval: - to diplomatic assonance, utilitarian consonance, luxurious dissonance! shout the two pedals: strong with ambition - mute resignation! From the bandit, pariah tonality, - to the bandit, good man's tonality - an octave of distance between them. Marmalade music theory! Theoreticians are: plums, pears, figs and other fruits - following the great culinary tradition - properly boiled into a compote. Delightful malaise of taste, papillae - all the while preserving, when it comes to identity, an empirical certainty as to the homogeneity of its assimilation.

Stillborn - heaven - earth: - zero plus two equals three. Multiplicity of things, throwing off the last two: three is a polynomial. Like zero, death is amorphous: all the while leaving a door wide open to numerous possibilities.
     Non-existence has its identification card. Stillborn - minus one higher than zero - at the base: polymorphous is the polyhedron. Fallen into abstraction, leave a schema without dimensions - reality. Public conveniences, as much as museums, become fixed; without this narcotic conviction however, the ephemerality of the fleeting. A wheel with no hub necessarily has no tracks. Here, in the undecipherable, via a diastatic process, points upward the resurgence of the immaterial, the victorious material. Return the mass back to light! the undemonstratible runs the demonstration. Leads beyond the sensible distinction, speech - and derails. When faced with incoherence, a C in alt makes the disillusioned sprout up from chests! In view of redressing the conviction - muddle the absurd just as much; delay scandal. The future is at hand, which will strangle, from dead centuries, the most number of schematic spirits: death hypnotizes life just as dreams turn reality into an illusion.

Faced with discordance, interchange terms: everything ends up inexplicably balanced. Stability is only one side - well, time! - of instability in space. Still only shadows and half-lights move in the limitless. Paradoxical is logic: a popped spring and the click-clack replaces time. And so, one day, the lamppost saw the lamplighter mope, and mistake a milepost for distance. The husband dreams of being the wife: Upon waking, suppose an error, that the female dreamed of being male - since he is, biologically speaking, male - which is an uncrossable border. And convinced, the dream intoxicates his reality.

     In the realm of probabilities, given the possibility of a wheel without tracks, the time is near when we will have an engine with unlimited horsepower, which will resolve inertia into multiple dimensions. It should hardly matter that we know the number of generations that cut their own throats, from horror at seeing the irresistible realized.

     The result is that the ego - properly undressed - becomes a spectacular theater, solidly constructed, filling up and emptying, like before and after each evening's performance.



Copyright 2006


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