Antonin Artaud quotes

  • No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Writing #Hell

  • There are souls that are incurable and lost to the rest of society. Deprive them of one means of folly, they will invent ten thousand others. They will create subtler, wilder methods, methods that are absolutely DESPERATE. Nature herself is fundamentally antisocial, it is only by a usurpation of powers that the organized body of society opposes the natural inclination of humanity.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Mean #Soul #Humanity

  • If I commit suicide, it will not be to destroy myself but to put myself back together again.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Suicide #Together #Commit

  • The actor is an athlete of the heart.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Heart #Athlete #Actors

  • I prefer the people who eat off the bare earth the delirium from which they were born.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #People #Earth #Delirium

  • I cannot conceive any work of art as having a separate existence from life itself
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Art #Existence #Works Of Art

  • I have need of angels. Enough hell has swallowed me for too many years. But finally understand this--I have burned up one hundred thousand human lives already, from the strength of my pain.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Pain #Angel #Years

  • There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Depression #Ideas #People

  • I abandon myself to the fever of dreams, in search for new laws.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Dream #Law #Fever

  • So long as we have failed to eliminate any of the causes of human despair, we do not have the right to try to eliminate those means by which man tries to cleanse himself of despair.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Mean #Men #Long

  • But how is one to make a scientist understand that there is something unalterably deranged about differential calculus, quantum theory, or the obscene and so inanely liturgical ordeals of the precession of the equinoxes.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Understanding #Scientist #Theory

  • There is nothing like an insane asylum for gently incubating death.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Insane #Asylums #Insane Asylum

  • Tragedy on the stage is no longer enough for me, I shall bring it into my own life.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Tragedy #Enough #Stage

  • 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

    #Order #Theatre #Passionate

  • And what is an authentic madman? It is a man who preferred to become mad, in the socially accepted sense of the word, rather than forfeit a certain superior idea of human honor. So society has strangled in its asylums all those it wanted to get rid of or protect itself from, because they refused to become its accomplices in certain great nastinesses. For a madman is also a man whom society did not want to hear and whom it wanted to prevent from uttering certain intolerable truths.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Men #Ideas #Mad

  • 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

    #Beautiful #Reading #Might

  • 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

    #Light #Order #Darkness

  • Poetry is a dissociating and anarchic force which through analogy, associations and imagery, thrives on the destruction of known relationships.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Analogies #Association #Destruction

  • I would like to write a Book which would drive men mad, which would be like an open door leading them where they would never have consented to go, in short, a door that opens onto reality.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Book #Writing #Reality

  • Don't tire yourself more than need be, even at the price of founding a culture on the fatigue of your bones.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Needs #Culture #Bones

  • If our life lacks a constant magic it is because we choose to observe our acts and lose ourselves in consideration of their imagined form and meaning, instead of being impelled by their force.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Magic #Consideration #Form

  • We have the right to lie, but not about the heart of the matter.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Lying #Heart #Matter

  • I call for actors burning at the stakes, laughing at the flames.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Flames #Laughing #Burning

  • Leave the caves of being. Come. The mind breathes outside the mind. The time has come to abandon your lodgings. Surrender to the Universal Thought. The Marvelous is at the root of the mind.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Roots #Mind #Caves

  • For the lost are lost by nature, all your ideas of moral regeneration will make no difference, there is AN INNATE DETERMINISM, there is an undeniable incurability in suicide, crime, idiocy, madness, there is an invincible cuckoldry in man, there is a congenital weakness of the character, a castration of the mind.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Suicide #Character #Men

  • We must believe in a sense of life renewed by the theater, a sense of life in which man fearlessly makes himself master of what does not yet exist, and brings it into being. And everything that has not been born can still be brought to life if we are not satisfied to remain mere recording organisms.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Believe #Men #Doe

  • Those who live, live off the dead.
    -- Antonin Artaud

  • Life consists of burning up questions.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Life #Burning

  • I am adding another language to the spoken language, and I am trying to restore to the language of speech its old magic, its essential spellbinding power, for its mysterious possibilities have been forgotten.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Magic #Trying #Essentials

  • The truth of life lies in the impulsiveness of matter. The mind of man has been poisoned by concepts. Do not ask him to be content, ask him only to be calm, to believe that he has found his place. But only the madman is really calm.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Lying #Believe #Men

  • I am stigmatized by a living death in which real death holds no terrors for me.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Death #Real #Terror

  • Written poetry is worth reading once, and then should be destroyed. Let the dead poets make way for others.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Reading #Way #Poet

  • It is almost impossible to be a doctor and an honest man, but it is obscenely impossible to be a psychiatrist without at the same time bearing the stamp of the most incontestable madness: that of being unable to resist that old atavistic reflex of the mass of humanity, which makes any man of science who is absorbed by this mass a kind of natural and inborn enemy of all genius.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Men #Doctors #Humanity

  • The idea of a detached art, of poetry as a charm which exists only to distract our leisure, is a decadent idea and an unmistakable symptom of our power to castrate.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Art #Ideas #Leisure

  • We must wash literature off ourselves. We want to be men above all, to be human.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Men #Literature #Want

  • [defines a madman as] a man who preferred to become mad,in the socially accepted sense of the word, rather than forfeit a certain superior idea of human honor.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Men #Ideas #Mad

  • Without sarcasm I sink into chaos.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Sarcasm #Chaos

  • All writing is garbage. People who come out of nowhere to try and put into words any part of what goes on in their minds are pigs.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Writing #Pigs #People

  • And war is wonderful, isn't it? For it's war, isn't it, that the Americans have been preparing for and are preparing for this way step by step. In order to defend this senseless manufacture from all competition that could not fail to arise on all sides.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #War #Order #Competition

  • I destroy because for me everything that proceeds from reason is untrustworthy. I believe only in the evidence of what stirs my marrow, not in the evidence of what addresses itself to my reason. I have found levels in the realm of the nerve. I now feel capable of evaluating the evidence. There is for me an evidence in the realm of pure flesh which has nothing to do with the evidence of reason. The eternal conflict between reason and the heart is decided in my very flesh, but in my flesh irrigated by nerves...
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Believe #Heart #Nerves

  • So society has strangled in its asylums all those it wanted to get rid of or protect itself from, because they refused to become its accomplices in certain great nastiness.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Nastiness #Asylums #Certain

  • In our present state of degeneration it is through the skin that metaphysics must be made to re-enter our minds.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Mind #Skins #States

  • ... not once more will/I be found with beings/who swallowed the rail of life//And one day I found myself with beings/who swallowed the nail of life/-as soon as I lost my matrix mamma,//and the being twisted under him,/and god poured me back to her/(the motherfucker)...
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #One Day #Nails #Twisted

  • Theater of Cruelty means a theater difficult and cruel for myself first of all. And, on the level of performance, it is not the cruelty we can exercise upon each other by hacking at each other’s bodies, carving up our personal anatomies, or, like Assyrian emperors, sending parcels of human ears, noses, or neatly detached nostrils through the mail, but the much more terrible and necessary cruelty which things can exercise against us. We are not free. And the sky can still fall on our heads. And the theater has been created to teach us that first of all.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Fall #Mean #Exercise

  • I myself spent nine years in an insane asylum and I never had the obsession of suicide, but I know that each conversation with a psychiatrist, every morning at the time of his visit, made me want to hang myself, realizing that I would not be able to cut his throat.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Suicide #Morning #Time

  • I myself am an absolute abyss.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Abyss

  • By suicide I introduce my design in nature, I shall for the first time give things the shape of my will ... now I choose the direction of my thought and the direction of my faculties, my tendencies, my reality.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Suicide #Suicidal #Reality

  • 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.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Order #Absence #Feels

  • 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

    #Suicide #Self Harm #Suicidal

  • Cruelty signifies rigor, implacable intention and decision, irreversible and absolute determination,
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Determination #Decision #Intention

  • You are quite unnecessary, young man!
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Men #Unnecessary #Young

  • It is thus that the few rare lucid well-disposed people who have had to struggle on the earth find themselves at certain hours of the day or night in the depth of certain authentic and waking nightmare states, surrounded by the formidable suction, the formidable oppression of a kind of civic magic which will soon be seen appearing openly in social behavior.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Struggle #Night #People

  • All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar's teeth.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Communication #Teeth #Language

  • When we speak the word 'life,' it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Life #Understanding #Facts

  • Hell is of this world and there are men who are unhappy escapees from hell, escapees destined ETERNALLY to reenact their escape.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Men #Unhappy #World

  • How hard is it, when everything encourages us to sleep, though we may look about us with conscious, clinging eyes, to wake and yet look about us as in a dream, with eyes that no longer know their function and whose gaze is turned inward.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Dream #Sleep #Eye

  • The fixation of the theater in one language--written words, music, lights, noises--betokens its imminent ruin.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Light #Noise #Ruins

  • I do not like detached creation. Neither can I conceive of the mind as detached from itself. Each of my works, each diagram of myself, each glacial flowering of my inmost soul dribbles over me.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Soul #Mind #Creation

  • It is not a certain conformity of manners that the painting of Van Gogh attacks, but rather the conformity of institutions themselves. And even external nature, with her climates, her tides, and her equinoctial storms, cannot, after Van Gogh's stay upon earth, maintain the same gravitation.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Storm #Climate #Earth

  • I do not work within the confines of any realm. I work in the unique moment of duration.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Unique #Duration #Moments

  • I am a man by virtue of my hands and my feet, my belly, my heart of meat, my stomach whose knots reunite me to the putrefaction of life.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Heart #Men #Hands

  • These terrifying forms which advance on me, I feel that the despair they bring is alive. It slips into this nucleus of life beyond which the paths of eternity extend. It is truly an eternal separation. They slip their knives into this center where I feel myself a man, they sever those vital ties which bind me to the dream of my lucid reality.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Dream #Reality #Men

  • Squander your riches far from this unfeeling body to which no season, either spiritual or sensual, makes any difference.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Spiritual #Differences #Sensual

  • Enough, I shall be understood in ten years by people who will be doing what you do today. Then my geysers will be known, my ice floes will be seen, the secret of adulterating my poisons will have been learned, the games of my soul will be revealed.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Years #Ice #Games

  • [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

    #Art #Writing #Brutality

  • When I think about myself, my thought seeks itself in the ether of a new space. I am on the moon as others are on their balconies. I participate in planetary gravitation in the fissures of my mind.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Moon #Thinking #Space

  • A tainted society has invented psychiatry to defend itself against the investigations of certain superior intellects whose faculties of divination would be troublesome.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Would Be #Investigation #Faculty

  • 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

    #Distance #Theatre #Danger

  • And if there is still one hellish, truly accursed thing in our time, it is our artistic dallying with forms, instead of being like victims burnt at the stake, signaling through the flames.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Flames #Artistic #Victim

  • We do not die because we have to die; we die because one day, and not so long ago, our consciousness was forced to deem it necessary.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Death #Long #One Day

  • Before our eyes is fought a battle of symbols... for there can be theatre only from the moment when the impossible really begins and when the poetry that occurs on the stage sustains and superheats the realized symbols.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Eye #Theatre #Battle

  • With society and its public, there is no longer any other language than that of bombs, barricades, and all that follows.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Bombs #Language #Tyranny

  • Excuse my absolute freedom. I refuse to make a distinction between any of the moments of myself.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Moments #Excuse #Distinction

  • This is why true beauty never strikes us directly. The setting sun is beautiful because of all it makes us lose.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Beautiful #True Beauty #Sun

  • A real theatrical experience shakes the calm of the senses, liberates the compressed unconscious and drives towards a kind of potential revolt . . .
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Real #Calm #Kind

  • In consciousness dwells the wondrous, with it man attains the realm beyond the material, and the Peyote tells us, where to find it.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Men #Peyote #Psychedelic

  • The true theater, because it moves and makes use of living instruments, continues to stir up shadows where life has never ceased to grope its way.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Moving #Shadow #Use

  • Cruelty in the theatre is unrelenting decisiveness, diligence, strictness.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Theatre #Diligence #Cruelty

  • I know each conversation with a psychiatrist in the morning made me want to hang myself because I knew I could not strangle him.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Suicide #Morning #Science

  • I see in the act of throwing the dice and of risking the affirmation of some intuitively felt truth, however uncertain, my whole reason for living.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Truth #Dice #Affirmation

  • 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 practice to respect individuals under the pretext of respecting order itself.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Order #Practice #Ideas

  • Admittedly or not, conscious or unconscious, the poetic state, a transcendent experience of life, is what the public is fundamentally seeking through love, crime, drugs, war, or insurrection.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #War #Poetry #Drug

  • It has not been definitively proved that the language of words is the best possible language. And it seems that on the stage, which is above all a space to fill and a place where something happens, the language of words may have to give way before a language of signs whose objective aspect is the one that has the most immediate impact upon us.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Impact #Space #Giving

  • Like all magic cultures expressed by appropriate hieroglyphs, the true theater has its shadows too, and, of all languages and all arts, the theater is the only one left whose shadows have shattered their limitations.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Art #Magic #Shadow

  • There are those who go to the theatre as they would go to a brothel.
    -- Antonin Artaud

    #Theatre #Brothels