Clément Pansaers. Drawing by Jean-Jacques Gailliard
These reflexions come as a result of Ça Ira!, which in time followed Pierre Albert-Birot’s review SIC, already announced the death of Dada, and preceded Surrealism by four years. For this reason, Ça Ira! must be situated, especially as it was a great meeting-place. It was an international concert in which Neuhuys and his friends were participating, and with which they associated Clément Pansaers who, in his series of ‘Paradoxes Blennorrhagiques’ begins as follows:
Becomes senile, whoever traces his trajectory in a straight line. Reigns a a parvenu, motoring. Noise, noise – bangs and engines – and speed and speed – dynamism spirals down. Does there not exist a dynamism of slowness? Read ‘In Praise of Idleness’!
These are lines which remain, in opposition to invented economic crises and I take a sly pleasure in marking a whole passage by Mr Pansaers who simply writes in action:
Bass: arise, consumptive, the march of legs. Wash painting with liquid music. The heraldic lions draw themselves up. I, chaotic cacophony. – The bars tango. – finances spin on their head. Double the big drums. Beat! Beat! The march of indecision! Finale! Motorists, aviators, who wants these tape-worms! Kid, blow up your bear! Before the sewers the heraldic lions play at bulls. Ride on the decoy belts of 220 horse power engines. Racing cars of laughter burst out. Greed devours a lusthouse fillet. Slaughterhouse smells. A Chambertin at room temperature, waiter! With snapped strings, play the sound-box, double bass! Da capo, the finale! Croak, swear! Swoon, tarts! Perfumed sweat, rancid tastes! Oysters, Roquefort, lime, tar! How sweet the wine is! Breasts panting! Legs tautening! A neat whisky! Light a cigarette with poetry! Where in all that is painting, music, literature! Bitterness weeps for joy! Christ is thirty-three – redeem the stones! End! Finished! I chaotic cacophony!
The memory of a hundred years of shattered poetry comes back to me through Ça Ira! I realise that, after the Zutists, Nietzsche, René Ghil and Gustave Kahn, the arts have been radically transformed, just as life and society have. Everything goes hand in hand, but exorcism of societies of the future that had already been thought of at that time appear.
For example, ‘In Praise of Idleness’ whose mere title is the remedy for the present inflation in the world, and particulary in the Common Market. I cannot help thinking that this title alone could become a huge poster plastered everywhere, which in no time would become an exorcism of the sad, haggard faces of the robot-workers.
In short, there Ça Ira!, like many reviews at the beginning of the century, goes in every direction, far from time and duration, dancing ‘on the headland of the centuries’ (especially those to come) as Marinetti had noted earlier in 1909.
But the programme of the head of the Italian Futurists always arouses my suspicions, because of his political choice.
Collection OU, 7, Ingatestone, Essex, 1977.