Temples for Future Religions by François Garas

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Temple à la Pensée, dédié à Beethoven, vue en cours de construction (1897).

Another artist discovered whilst searching for something quite unrelated. The Musée d’Orsay are custodians of this drawing by François Garas (1866–1925), and they also have the most substantial appraisal of his career.

François Garas remains a mysterious architect, whose artistic pantheon included Baudelaire and Edgar Allan Poe, as well as John Ruskin, Richard Wagner, Jean Carriès and Edouard Manet. He obtained his diploma in 1894, and until 1914 regularly exhibited utopian architectural projects at the Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux Arts. His career started with the exhibition Architects’ Impressions in 1896 at the Le Barc de Bouteville gallery, alongside his fellow architects Henri Sauvage, Henry Provensal and Gabriel Guillemonat. This exhibition, accompanied by a rebellious booklet by the architect Frantz Jourdain, wanted to get rid of “the mental slavery produced by the exclusive study of Greek and Roman architecture, and by a knowledge of nothing but the Italian Renaissance”. This drawing featured in the exhibition; then it was seen again, the same year, in an exhibition by the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts, as part of a collection entitled Artists’ Interiors.

From 1897, Garas exhibited increasingly oneiric projects at the Salon – “temples for future religions”, dedicated to Beethoven, Wagner, Life, Death and Thought. While his companions from the early days were designing social housing, Garas continued along the same fanciful path, then disappeared from the architectural scene without any of his projects ever having been built.

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Temple à la Pensée, dédié à Beethoven, vue perspective depuis l’arrière du temple (1897).

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Temple à la Pensée, dédié à Beethoven, visions du temple, clair de lune (1900).

The museum has several pages of various plans and sketches for these Temples for Future Religions, and also some quasi-Gothic designs for “Artist’s interiors” which would benefit from being seen at a larger size. Among his other works are a series of very diffuse pastel studies which look more like Claude Monet drawing the ruins of Angkor than architectural designs.

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Un temple pour les religions futures (1901).

Previously on { feuilleton }
Exposition Universelle publications
Exposition cornucopia
Return to the Exposition Universelle
The Palais Lumineux
Louis Bonnier’s exposition dreams
Exposition Universelle, 1900
The Palais du Trocadéro
The Evanescent City

Henri Rivière’s Eiffel Tower

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Des Jardins du Trocadéro l’Automne.

Paris again and a suitably autumnal scene from Thirty-Six Views of the Eiffel Tower (1902) by Henri Rivière (1864–1951). Inspired by the celebrated Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji, these do for the City of Light what Hokusai and Hiroshige did for Japan.

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De la rue Beethoven.

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Du Pont d’Austerlitz.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Peter Eudenbach’s Eiffel Ferris wheel
City of Light

Juice from A Clockwork Orange

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Philip Castle’s poster design. Castle also created the artwork for Full Metal Jacket.

Searching through old magazines whilst researching the epic Barney Bubbles post turned up this, a short reaction by Anthony Burgess to the success of Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange. Burgess became increasingly ambivalent about the attention brought about by Kubrick’s adaptation, not least because of the way it dominated the rest of his career; some of that ambivalence is already in evidence here.

Juice from A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess

Rolling Stone, June 8th, 1972

WHEN IT WAS first proposed about eight years ago, that a film be made of A Clockwork Orange, it was the Rolling Stones who were intended to appear in it, with Mick Jagger playing the role that Malcolm McDowell eventually filled. Indeed, it was somebody with the physical appearance and mercurial temperament of Jagger that I had in mind when writing the book, although pop groups as we know them had not yet come on the scene. The book was written in 1961, when England was full of skiffle. If I’d thought of giving Alex, the hero, a surname at all (Kubrick gives him two, one of them mine), Jagger would have been as good a name as any: it means “hunter,” a person who goes on jags, a person who doesn’t keep in line, a person who inflicts jagged rips on the face of society. I did use the name eventually, but it was in a very different novel—Tremor of Intent—and meant solely a hunter, and a rather holy one.

I’ve no doubt that a lot of people will want to read the story because they’ve seen the movie—far more than the other way around—and I can say at once that the story and the movie are very like each other. Indeed, I can think of only one other film which keeps as painfully close to the book it’s based on—Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby. The plot of the film is that of the book, and so is the language, although naturally there’s both more language and more plot in the book than in the film. The language used by Alex, my delinquent hero, is called Nadsat—the Russian suffix used in making words like fourteen, fifteen, sixteen—and a lot of the terms he employs are derived from Russian. As these words are filtered through an English-speaking mind, they take on meanings and associations unknown to Russians. Thus, Alex uses the word horrorshow to designate anything good—the Russian root for good is horosh—and “fine, splendid, all right then” is the neuter form we ought really to spell as chorosho (the ch is guttural, as in Bach). But good to Alex is tied up with performing horrors, and when he is made what the State calls good it is through the witnessing of violent films—genuine horror shows. The Russian golova—meaning head—is domesticated into gulliver, which reminds the reader he is taking in a piece of social satire, like Gulliver’s Travels. The fact that Russian doesn’t distinguish between foot and leg (noga for both) and arm and hand (ruka) serves—by suggesting a mechanical doll—to emphasise the clockwork-view of life that Alex has: first he is self-geared to be bad, next he is state-geared to be good.

Continue reading “Juice from A Clockwork Orange”

Here Comes Everybody

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The Guardian‘s archive feature today has their original review of Finnegans Wake by James Joyce.

Who, it may be asked, was Finnegan?

Friday May 12, 1939

Mr Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, (Faber, 25s), parts of which have been published as “Work in Progress” does not admit of review. In twenty years’ time, with sufficient study and with the aid of the commentary that will doubtless arise, one might be ready for an attempt to appraise it.

The work is not written in English, or in any other language, as language is commonly known. I can detect words made up out of some eight or nine languages, but this must be only a part of the equipment employed. This polyglot element is only a minor difficulty, for Mr Joyce is using language in a new way: “Margaritomancy! Hyacinthous pervinciveness! Flowers. A cloud. But Bruto and Cassio are ware only of trifid tongues the whispered wilfulness (’tis demonal!) and shadows shadows multiplicating.”

The easiest way to deal with the book would be to become “clever” and satirical or to write off Mr Joyce’s latest volume as the work of a charlatan. But the author of Dubliners, A Portrait of an Artist and Ulysses is obviously not a charlatan, but an artist of very considerable proportions. I prefer to suspend judgement. What he is attempting, I imagine, is to employ language as a new medium, breaking down all grammatical usages, all time space values, all ordinary conceptions of context. Compared with this, Ulysses is a first-form primer.

What, it may be asked, is the book about? That, I imagine, is a question which Mr Joyce would not admit. This book is nothing apart from its form, and one might as easily describe in words the theme of a Beethoven symphony.

The clearest object in time in the book is the Liffey, Anna Livia, Dublin’s legendary stream, and the most continuous character is HC Earwicker, “Here Comes Everybody”: the Liffey as the moment in time and space, and everything, everybody, all time as the terms of reference, back to Adam or Humpty Dumpty, but never away from Dublin.

This seems the suggestion of the musical half-sentence with which the work begins: “Riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”

Who, it may be asked, was Finnegan? But I gather that there is an Irish story of a contractor who fell and was stretched out for dead. When his friends toasted him he rose at the word “whiskey” and drank with them. In a book where all is considered, this legend, too, has its relevance.

B Ifor Evans