Slow griefwork

So it goes on. Your death at 56. Suddenly, and terribly, irrelevant: your number on my phone, your birth date on a calendar.

Cut up

David Pelham on JG Ballard and the art of Eduardo Paolozzi

Throughout the pages of Abba Zabba we see the Ballardian highways, the high-rise concrete blocks, the wrecked automobiles, corpse-strewn beaches and scenes of violent unrest, military intervention and shattered landscapes alarmingly juxtaposed with incongruous photographs of smiling pin-ups and domestic scenes. One only has to riffle through its pages to appreciate how closely these two brilliant artists pivoted upon a common fulcrum. Indeed they both moved effortlessly into the art of no boundaries, fusing the powerful quasi-scientific realms of their imagination, leading us into their studied worlds of nihilism and chaos, and it remains a great disappointment to me that all my attempts to instigate a large format special collaboratory Ballard/Paolozzi publication when I was Art Director of Penguin Books were repeatedly rejected.

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Paolozzi

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If only I could make an effort, an effort of attention, to try and discover what’s happening, what’s happening to me, what then, I don’t know, I’ve forgotten my apodosis, but I can’t, I don’t hear any more, I’m sleeping, they call that sleeping, there they are again, we’ll have to start killing them again, I hear this horrible noise, coming back takes time, I don’t know where from, I was nearly there, I was nearly sleeping, I call that sleeping, there is no one but me, there was never anyone but me, here I mean, elsewhere is another matter, I was never elsewhere, here is my only elsewhere, it’s I who do this thing and I who suffer it, it’s not possible otherwise, it’s not possible so, it’s not my fault, all I can say is that it’s not my fault, it’s not anyone’s fault, since there isn’t anyone it can’t be anyone’s fault, since there isn’t anyone but me it can’t be mine, sometimes you’d think I was reasoning, I’ve no objection, they must have taught me reasoning too, they must have begun teaching me, before they deserted me, I don’t remember that period, but it must have marked me, I don’t remember having been deserted, perhaps I received a shock.

— Samuel Beckett: from The Unnamable

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