In 1925, the French playwright Roger Vitrac (1899-1952) and artist/director Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) were expelled from the surrealists by André Breton (1896-1966). Together, they conceived and established the Théatre Alfred-Jarry, named in honor of Alfred Jarry (1873-1907) author of Ubu trilogy and inventor of pataphysics. The theater presented radically innovative productions over four seasons, from 1926 to 1929.
Le Theatre Alfred Jarry et l’Hostilite Publique (Paris: Antonin Artaud and Roger Vitrac, 1930). Photomontages by Eli Lotar. Illustrated wrappers by G.L. Roux. Graphic Arts GAX 2010-in process
This small volume offers an overview of the coming season (which was never realized). To illustrate the pamphlet, they hired Romanian photographer Eli Lotar (born Eliazar Lotar Teodoresco, 1905-1969) who prepared nine photomontages, superimposing multiple posed images of the actress Josette Lusson, Vitrac, and Artaud. These are not scenes from a particular play but images directed by Artaud from his imagination.
Susan Sontag wrote a biography of Artaud, noting that his
"work denies that there is any difference between art and thought, between poetry and truth. Despite the breaks in exposition and the varying of "forms" within each work, everything he wrote advances a line of argument. Artaud is always didactic… Artaud is someone who has made a spiritual trip for us—a shaman. It would be presumptuous to reduce the geography of Artaud’s trip to what can be colonized. Its authority lies in the parts that yield nothing for the reader except intense discomfort of the imagination."