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The pleasure of the cursive line

Geta Brătescu

(Romênia, 1926-2018)

The pleasure of the cursive line, of writing – I don’t know whether people who haven’t experienced the pleasure of writing are familiar with this state. I think that the act that produces the writing (be it textual, be it purely graphic) is necessarily commanded by the mental gesticulation, a spatial movement, an image of an abstract or figurative journey. Whatever it might be, whatever its origin might be, this mental movement produces a discharge of energy, an extraordinary pleasure. By its cerebral nature, it is a cursive movement – when it becomes syncopated, the discomfort can go as far as pain. But there is also the cursiveness of syncopes, which come one after the other like the waves of a calm sea. The calmness of the alive contains the movement; the tranquility of the alive is a certain kind of movement.

A straight line on a page is the image of a movement; it is the traversal of a space. Immobility is only a certain kind of movement, since the limits of the immobile object are a movement in space, the movement that defines its spatial existence. I know that this is a chair because I have foreknowledge of the description of a chair; and every description is a movement. […]

I’m reading some short stories by Julio Cortazar – they give me an insane appetite to write.

A few years ago, I used to write feverishly. Lack of any publishing success demobilized me. The challenge of ideas does not also mean substance. But now, with the imminent prospect of a few lines, I feel wonderful. The magic of words: the words call to each other, the way forms call to each other, whether or not they wish to repeat themselves. A black, substantial thread has bunched up in my hand, becoming Form – the other forms, the drawn ones, legitimize it. A true miracle. The creation of the world came about in the same way, little by little. The movement of the drawing, captured on the paper like a snapshot, is propagated and in this way the series of snapshots creates the conjunction of space and time; this is exactly what happens in music too. A wall of the studio, covered with drawings, sings. This imaginary fact explains to me why, when I work, even though I have all the necessary equipment, I can’t listen to music; it is a surplus. […]

Everything that the painter or sculptor realizes in concrete matter, the plastic image, I am called upon to realize through the adventures of the line; the line alone should create expression and space, not the line of the scholastic drawing, but the line that writes, guided by some mental, imaginative energy or other.

Thus, these drawings, without historical or biographical (autobiographical) connotations, situate themselves naturally within the mythological universe of all times. It may be that I am praising my own creations – no, I am analyzing them the same as I analyze myself and the same as I analyze the world I live in, the people close to me. I reject value judgments in the spirit of cultivated criticism. My commentary is yet another drawing on a sheet of paper laid on top of the existing drawings. […]

For me, drawing is not only a professional task; it is the discharge of rational energy; it might be thought that the idea that gives rise to images is prior; but the idea-image relationship is so intimate, so hard is it to discern when and how these two mental products overlap and which of them is prior, that it is better to abandon the problem.

 

Regardless of the artist’s attitude, be it realist, be it impressionist, be it conceptualist, she experiences the idea-image relationship in her own way; the same as the writer experiences the idea-word relationship. When I draw I know that I write using letters I myself have invented. When drawing, I de-scribe my imaginary world. When my mind is burdened by the world of my everyday life, I am no longer able to draw; such is the case now.

*Excerpts of texts by Geta Brătescu written between 2002-2009. English translation published in Geta Brătescu. Apparitions, Koenig Books, London, 2017. Copyright: The Estate of Geta Brătescu.

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