Miserable miracle. La mescalina



“This book is an exploration. Through words, signs and drawings. What is being explored is Mescaline. What I learn, I learn in the moment like a novice. The reader will do so. Just as it was a surprise for me, it must be for anyone who reads me.”

Henri Michaux (1899–1984), Belgian artist, cultivated painting, poetry and prose in French. He made travel – both real and imaginary – the central theme of his art. With mescaline, an alkaloid extracted from the peyote cactus, he will experience “the deep sensation of maintaining a mysterious relationship with everything, the deep sensation of living an extracorporeal life out of time, of participating in the Eternity”. Exploration of himself, but above all exploration of poetry.

Michaux marked a whole generation of new writers and creators, also in Catalonia. He was a close friend of the sculptor Apel·les Fenosa, who dedicated a bust to him, and influenced Mercè Rodoreda in works such as The death and the spring and Travels and flowers.

Translation by Guillem Usandizaga
Foreword by Joaquim Sala-Sanahuja

The author
Henri Michaux (Namur, 1899 – Paris, 1984) was a versatile artist born in Belgium, active in the fields of poetry, prose and painting who wrote in French. Very attracted to Eastern cultures, he developed a painting made of calligraphic strokes and signs as if it were a particular alphabet, often made under the effects of psychotropic substances, such as mescaline.

Unable to distinguish writing and painting, both creative records served to weave a universe of a very personal poetics that fascinatingly shows the fissure that separates reality and representation. Michaux understood aesthetic production as a ritual experience, an action that, through the repetition of certain gestures and movements, creates a different time, disconnected from the logic that governs the day to day. This is how throughout his work he developed a tense and rapid style, made of electric shocks, short and agile phrases, and energetic and rhythmic strokes.

Video-summary of the presentation
Marc Domènech Gallery