It is not opium which makes me work but its absence, and in order for me to feel its absence it must from time to time be present.
Appeal to Youth: Intoxication-Disintoxication (1934)
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
However fiercely opposed one may be to the present order, an old respect for the idea of order itself often prevents people from distinguishing between order and those who stand for order, and leads them in practise to respect individuals under the pretext of respecting order itself.Antonin Artaud
The Theatre of Cruelty has been created in order to restore to the theatre a passionate and convulsive conception of life, and it is in this sense of violent rigour and extreme condensation of scenic elements that the cruelty on which it is based must be understood. This cruelty, which will be bloody when necessary but not systematically so, can thus be identified with a kind of severe moral purity which is not afraid to pay life the price it must be paid.Antonin Artaud
With society and its public, there is no longer any other language than that of bombs, barricades, and all that follows.Antonin Artaud
Tragedy on the stage is no longer enough for me, I shall bring it into my own life.Antonin Artaud
Suicidez-vous, désespérés, et vous, torturés du corps et de l'âme, perdez tout espoir. Il n'y a plus pour vous de soulagement en ce monde. Le monde vit de vos charniers.Antonin Artaud
The theater, which is in no thing, but makes use of everything gestures, sounds, words, screams, light, darkness rediscovers itself at precisely the point where the mind requires a language to express its manifestations.... To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theatre.Antonin Artaud
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
[Nietzsche’s] definition of cruelty informs Artaud’s own, declaring that all art embodies and intensifies the underlying brutalities of life to recreate the thrill of experience … Although Artaud did not formally cite Nietzsche, [their writing] contains a familiar persuasive authority, a similar exuberant phraseology, and motifs in extremis …Antonin Artaud
Artaud sought to remove aesthetic distance, bringing the audience into direct contact with the dangers of life. By turning theatre into a place where the spectator is exposed rather than protected, Artaud was committing an act of cruelty upon them.Antonin Artaud
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