Gherasim Luca

Gherasim Luca

Gherasim Luca (or "Gherashim Luca") (July 23, 1913February 9, 1994) was a Surrealist theorist and Romanian poet, frequently cited in the works of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.


Born in Bucharest, the son of a Jewish tailor, he spoke Yiddish, Romanian, German and French. From 1938, he traveled frequently to Paris, where he was introduced to the Surrealist circles. World War II and the official antisemitism in Romania forced him into local exile. During the short pre-Communist period of Romanian independence, he founded a Surrealist artists group, together with Gellu Naum, Paul Păun, Virgil Teodorescu and Dolfi Trost.

His first publications, including poems in French followed. He was the inventor of cubomania and, with Dolfi Trost, the author of the statement "Dialetic of Dialectic" in 1945. Harassed in Romania and caught while trying to flee the country, the self-called "étran-juif" ("StranJew") finally left Romania in 1952, and moved to Paris through Israel.

There he worked among others with Jean Arp, Paul Celan, François Di Dio and Max Ernst, producing numerous collages, drawings, objects and text-installations. From 1967, his reading sessions took him to places like Stockholm, Oslo, Geneva, New York City and San Francisco. The 1988 TV-portrait by Raoul Sanglas "Comment s'en sortir sans sortir" made him famous for a larger readership.

In 1994, he was expelled from his apartment, officially for hygiene reasons. Luca, who had spent forty years in France without papers, could not cope. On February 9, at the age of 80, he committed suicide by jumping into the Seine.

elected works

Most of his poetic works were written in French. There are no known translation of his poem collections into English.

* "Un loup à travers une loupe", Bucharest, 1942. Poems in prose, initially published in Romanian. Later translated into French by Gherasim Luca. Apart from "Ce Château Pressenti", they remained unpublished in French until 1998, Éditions José Corti
* "Quantitativement aimée", Éditions de l'Oubli, Bucharest, 1944
* "Le Vampire passif", Éditions de l'Oubli, Bucharest 1945
* "Dialectique de la dialectique", together with Dolfi Trost, Éditions surréalistes, Bucharest, 1945
* "Les Orgies des Quanta", Éditions de l'Oubli, Bucharest 1946
* "Amphitrite, Éditions de l’Infra-noir", Bucharest 1945
* "Le Secret du vide et du plein", Éditions de l'Oubli, Bucharest 1947
* "Héros-Limite", Le Soleil Noir, Paris 1953 with an engraving and three drawings
* "Ce Château Pressenti", Méconnaissance, Paris 1958, with frontispiece and engraving by Victor Brauner. This poem is part of "Un loup à travers une loupe"
* "La Clef", Poème-Tract, 1960, Paris
* "L'Extrême-Occidentale", Éditions Mayer, Lausanne 1961 with 7 engravings by Jean Arp, Brauner, Max Ernst, Jacques Hérold, Wifredo Lam, Roberto Matta, Dorothea Tanning
* "La Lettre", no editor mentioned, Paris, 1960
* "Le Sorcier noir", with Jacques Hérold, Paris 1996
* "Sept slogans ontophoniques", Brunidor, Paris 1963 with engravings by Augustin Fernandez, Enrique Zanartu, Gisèle Celan-Lestrange, Jacques Hérold.
* "Poésie élémentaire", Éditions Brunidor, Vaduz, Liechtenstein, 1966
* "Apostroph'Apocalypse", Éditions Upiglio, Milan 1967 with fourteen engravings by Wifredo Lam
* "Sisyphe Géomètre", Éditions Givaudan, Paris, 1967 Book-sculpture designed by Piotr Kowalski
* "Droit de regard sur les idées", Brunidor, Paris, 1967
* "Déférés devant un tribunal d'exception", no editor mentioned, Paris, 1968.
* "Dé-Monologue", Brunidor, Paris, 1969 with two engravings by Micheline Catty
* "La Fin du monde", Éditions Petitthory, Paris 1969 with frontispiece by Micheline Catty and five drawings by Ghérasim Luca
* "Le Tourbillon qui repose", Critique et Histoire, 1973
* "Le Chant de la carpe", Le Soleil Noir, Paris, 1973 with sonogramme and sculpture by Kowalski
* "Présence de l'imperceptible", Franz Jacob, Châtelet; with no date of publication
* "Paralipomènes", Le Soleil Noir, Paris 1976 with a cubomania by Luca
* "Théâtre de Bouche", Criapl'e, Paris, 1984 with an engraving and nine drawings by Micheline Catty.
* "Satyres et Satrape", Éditions de la Crem, Barlfeur, 1987
* "Le Cri", Éditions Au fil de l'encre, Paris, 1995

* "La proie s'ombre"
* "La voici la voie silanxieuse"
* "Levée d'écrou", Éditions José Corti, 2003


* "Comment s'en sortir sans sortir" (1988), directed by Raoul Sangla, in which Gherasim Luca recites eight of his poems in a very sober setting.

External links

* [ Page about Gherasim Luca] (in French)
* [ "Passionnément", poem and audio document of the poet's performance] (in French, authorized by copyright holder)
* [ "Quart d'heure de culture métaphysique", poem and audio document of the poet's performance] (in French, authorized by copyright holder)
* English translation of some of his poems:
** [ Dream in Action, from "Héros-Limite"]
** [ Hermetically Open, from "Héros-Limite"]
** [ 15 minute metaphysical, from Quart d'heure de culture métaphysique, "Le Chant de la Carpe"]
** [ Embody, from Prendre Corps, "Paralipomènes"]
** [ Madeleine, from "La proie s'ombre"]
* Dominique Carlat: "Ghérasim Luca l'intempestif"

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