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FROM THE ARCHIVE | Richard Hawkins

After Artaud

May 21, 2020

Multimedia artist Richard Hawkins is a gifted interlocutor of cultural histories. Alongside celebrity heartthrobs, Les Nabis, serial killers, and Greco-Roman antiquities, the French playwright Antonin Artaud (1896 – 1948) is a prominent source of inspiration for Hawkins. ,  

Multimedia artist Richard Hawkins is a gifted interlocutor of cultural histories. Alongside celebrity heartthrobs, Les Nabis, serial killers, and Greco-Roman antiquities, the French playwright Antonin Artaud (1896 – 1948) is a prominent source of inspiration for Hawkins. 

 

The following slides detail the artist’s particular interest in the playwright’s 1936 horseback journey through Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountain range. Searching for a people “uncontaminated” by modern European culture, Artaud trekked to the Tarahumara village of Norogachi, a revelatory experience that forever altered his thinking and writing. Sharing a sense of anthropological curiosity, Hawkins's work emerges from his own process of studying, internalizing, and regenerating the ideas of other artists and thinkers, Artaud central among them.

 

Available under the Texts section, six PDF documents—collectively titled “After Artaud”—chronicle Hawkins's meticulous process of investigation, speculation, and discovery. His study traces possible connections between Artaud’s Tahahumara-influenced writings and drawings and more recent scholarly documentation of Tarahumara customs and iconography. 

Richard Hawkins, Norogachian Prostitute Priestess of the Sun, 2016

Richard Hawkins

Norogachian Prostitute Priestess of the Sun, 2016

Glazed ceramic in artist's frame

25 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 3 1/2 inches (65.4 x 57.8 x 8.9 cm)

 

Presented at Greene Naftali in 2016, Richard Hawkins’s series “Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud” nods to Latin American architectural and earthenware practices while comparing and uniting many of the previously undeciphered Tarahumara “hieroglyphics” that may have influenced Artaud in his late drawings. Hawkins adopts Artaud’s style of line making to depict the Tarahumara fertility and burial rituals that must have enthralled the playwright. This intergenerational exchange between visual anthropologies is like a game of telephone yet producing new significance and relevance while wildly diverging from its ultimate source.

Richard Hawkins, Norogachian Consecration of Shit and Peyote, 2016

Richard Hawkins

Norogachian Consecration of Shit and Peyote, 2016

Glazed ceramic in artist's frame

25 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 1 5/8 inches (65.4 x 57.8 x 4.1 cm)

 

Presented at Greene Naftali in 2016, Richard Hawkins’s series “Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud” nods to Latin American architectural and earthenware practices while comparing and uniting many of the previously undeciphered Tarahumara “hieroglyphics” that may have influenced Artaud in his late drawings. Hawkins adopts Artaud’s style of line making to depict the Tarahumara fertility and burial rituals that must have enthralled the playwright. This intergenerational exchange between visual anthropologies is like a game of telephone yet producing new significance and relevance while wildly diverging from its ultimate source.

Richard Hawkins, Judas of Norogachi, 2016

Richard Hawkins

Judas of Norogachi, 2016

Glazed ceramic, air-dry clay, rat trap, pig’s blood, rags, candles and utensils in artist’s frame

25 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 10 1/2 inches (65.4 x 57.8 x 26.7 cm)

 

Presented at Greene Naftali in 2016, Richard Hawkins’s series “Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud” nods to Latin American architectural and earthenware practices while comparing and uniting many of the previously undeciphered Tarahumara “hieroglyphics” that may have influenced Artaud in his late drawings. Hawkins adopts Artaud’s style of line making to depict the Tarahumara fertility and burial rituals that must have enthralled the playwright. This intergenerational exchange between visual anthropologies is like a game of telephone yet producing new significance and relevance while wildly diverging from its ultimate source.

Richard Hawkins, Norogachian Consecration of Blood and Sperm, 2016

Richard Hawkins

Norogachian Consecration of Blood and Sperm, 2016

Glazed ceramic in artist's frame

25 3/4 x 22 5/8 x 2 inches (65.4 x 57.5 x 5.1 cm)

 

Presented at Greene Naftali in 2016, Richard Hawkins’s series “Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud” nods to Latin American architectural and earthenware practices while comparing and uniting many of the previously undeciphered Tarahumara “hieroglyphics” that may have influenced Artaud in his late drawings. Hawkins adopts Artaud’s style of line making to depict the Tarahumara fertility and burial rituals that must have enthralled the playwright. This intergenerational exchange between visual anthropologies is like a game of telephone yet producing new significance and relevance while wildly diverging from its ultimate source.

Richard Hawkins, The Anal Birth of Man and Two Dead Daughters, 2016

Richard Hawkins

The Anal Birth of Man and Two Dead Daughters, 2016

Glazed ceramic in artist's frame

25 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 1 5/8 inches (65.4 x 57.8 x 4.1 cm)

 

Presented at Greene Naftali in 2016, Richard Hawkins’s series “Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud” nods to Latin American architectural and earthenware practices while comparing and uniting many of the previously undeciphered Tarahumara “hieroglyphics” that may have influenced Artaud in his late drawings. Hawkins adopts Artaud’s style of line making to depict the Tarahumara fertility and burial rituals that must have enthralled the playwright. This intergenerational exchange between visual anthropologies is like a game of telephone yet producing new significance and relevance while wildly diverging from its ultimate source.

Richard Hawkins, Shamanic Abortion of the Divine Parasite after Being Raped by the Holy Spirit, 2016

Richard Hawkins

Shamanic Abortion of the Divine Parasite after Being Raped by the Holy Spirit, 2016

Glazed ceramic in artist's frame 

25 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 1 5/8 inches (65.4 x 57.8 x 4.1 cm)

 

Presented at Greene Naftali in 2016, Richard Hawkins’s series “Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud” nods to Latin American architectural and earthenware practices while comparing and uniting many of the previously undeciphered Tarahumara “hieroglyphics” that may have influenced Artaud in his late drawings. Hawkins adopts Artaud’s style of line making to depict the Tarahumara fertility and burial rituals that must have enthralled the playwright. This intergenerational exchange between visual anthropologies is like a game of telephone yet producing new significance and relevance while wildly diverging from its ultimate source.

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud, Greene Naftali, New York, 2016

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud, Greene Naftali, New York, 2016

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud, Greene Naftali, New York, 2016

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud, Greene Naftali, New York, 2016

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud, Greene Naftali, New York, 2016

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud, Greene Naftali, New York, 2016

Richard Hawkins, Pestilence Drawing II #4, 2018

Richard Hawkins

Pestilence Drawing II #4, 2018

mixed media on paper

15 x 12 inches (38.1 x 30.5 cm)

 

Richard Hawkins’s series of “Pestilence Drawings” (2018), partially inspired by Antonin Artaud’s 1934 essay “The Theatre and the Plague,” continues to flesh out the playwright’s indebtedness to Tarahumara culture while underscoring the material and referential diversity of Hawkins’s own practice. In this series, Hawkins intentionally works on non-archival paper, linking exposure to the elements (rainwater erosion, sun bleaching, bacteria, mold, the interventions of pests) with Artaud’s distinction between automatic and consciously controllable workings within the body. Hawkins’s drawing style again mimes Artaud’s with such symbology as the hexagonal coffin form but adds an additional speculative element: “symmetrical texture repetition,” a common feature of psychedelic hallucinations.

Richard Hawkins, Pestilence Drawing II #5, 2018

Richard Hawkins

Pestilence Drawing II #5, 2018

mixed media on paper

15 x 12 inches (38.1 x 30.5 cm)

 

Richard Hawkins’s series of “Pestilence Drawings” (2018), partially inspired by Antonin Artaud’s 1934 essay “The Theatre and the Plague,” continues to flesh out the playwright’s indebtedness to Tarahumara culture while underscoring the material and referential diversity of Hawkins’s own practice. In this series, Hawkins intentionally works on non-archival paper, linking exposure to the elements (rainwater erosion, sun bleaching, bacteria, mold, the interventions of pests) with Artaud’s distinction between automatic and consciously controllable workings within the body. Hawkins’s drawing style again mimes Artaud’s with such symbology as the hexagonal coffin form but adds an additional speculative element: “symmetrical texture repetition,” a common feature of psychedelic hallucinations.

Richard Hawkins, Pestilence Drawing II #6, 2018

Richard Hawkins

Pestilence Drawing II #6, 2018

mixed media on paper

15 x 12 inches (38.1 x 30.5 cm)

 

Richard Hawkins’s series of “Pestilence Drawings” (2018), partially inspired by Antonin Artaud’s 1934 essay “The Theatre and the Plague,” continues to flesh out the playwright’s indebtedness to Tarahumara culture while underscoring the material and referential diversity of Hawkins’s own practice. In this series, Hawkins intentionally works on non-archival paper, linking exposure to the elements (rainwater erosion, sun bleaching, bacteria, mold, the interventions of pests) with Artaud’s distinction between automatic and consciously controllable workings within the body. Hawkins’s drawing style again mimes Artaud’s with such symbology as the hexagonal coffin form but adds an additional speculative element: “symmetrical texture repetition,” a common feature of psychedelic hallucinations.

Richard Hawkins, Pestilence Drawing II #9, 2018

Richard Hawkins

Pestilence Drawing II #9, 2018

mixed media on paper

15 x 12 inches (38.1 x 30.5 cm)

 

Richard Hawkins’s series of “Pestilence Drawings” (2018), partially inspired by Antonin Artaud’s 1934 essay “The Theatre and the Plague,” continues to flesh out the playwright’s indebtedness to Tarahumara culture while underscoring the material and referential diversity of Hawkins’s own practice. In this series, Hawkins intentionally works on non-archival paper, linking exposure to the elements (rainwater erosion, sun bleaching, bacteria, mold, the interventions of pests) with Artaud’s distinction between automatic and consciously controllable workings within the body. Hawkins’s drawing style again mimes Artaud’s with such symbology as the hexagonal coffin form but adds an additional speculative element: “symmetrical texture repetition,” a common feature of psychedelic hallucinations.

Richard Hawkins, Pestilence Drawing II #12, 2018

Richard Hawkins

Pestilence Drawing II #12, 2018

mixed media on paper

15 x 12 inches (38.1 x 30.5 cm)

 

Richard Hawkins’s series of “Pestilence Drawings” (2018), partially inspired by Antonin Artaud’s 1934 essay “The Theatre and the Plague,” continues to flesh out the playwright’s indebtedness to Tarahumara culture while underscoring the material and referential diversity of Hawkins’s own practice. In this series, Hawkins intentionally works on non-archival paper, linking exposure to the elements (rainwater erosion, sun bleaching, bacteria, mold, the interventions of pests) with Artaud’s distinction between automatic and consciously controllable workings within the body. Hawkins’s drawing style again mimes Artaud’s with such symbology as the hexagonal coffin form but adds an additional speculative element: “symmetrical texture repetition,” a common feature of psychedelic hallucinations.

Richard Hawkins, Pestilence Drawing II, 2018

Richard Hawkins, Pestilence Drawing II, 2018

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The Sexual Awkwardness of God, Sperm Traps, 2019

Richard Hawkins

After Artaud: The Sexual Awkwardness of God, Sperm Traps, 2019

Concrete, air-dry clay, cardboard tube, boxes, office hardware, cow’s blood and collage on panel

27 x 23 x 6 inches (68.6 x 58.4 x 15.2 cm)

 

Many of Richard Hawkins’s works that spring from periods of research, such as the objects and works on paper in the “After Artaud” project, operate within the Deleuzian principle of schizoanalysis, that is, the objective is to open up a diverse range of interpretations to be found in a given set of symbols and symptoms rather than reducing their complexity to fit within pre-established systems for deciphering meaning. This is perhaps most evident in Hawkins’s two tabletop sculptures modeled after Artaud’s 1946 drawing The Sexual Awkwardness of God. In the drawing, Hawkins finds a phallic cannon, a brutalized table doubling as a prone figure with acoustic f-holes and distended buttocks, a vicious trap capturing mysterious pests and several elements from Tarahumara peyote/solar-deity iconography. By actualizing Artaud’s drawn elements into a vulgar reality and specifying the wide score of their potential references, Hawkins delicately peels the petals off the original and reignites the playwright’s genre-destroying volatility.

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The Sexual Awkwardness of God, Stages of Succubal Development, 2019

Richard Hawkins

After Artaud: The Sexual Awkwardness of God, Stages of Succubal Development, 2019

Acrylic and collage on panel

25 3/4 x 22 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches (65.4 x 57.8 x 3.8 cm)

 

Many of Richard Hawkins’s works that spring from periods of research, such as the objects and works on paper in the “After Artaud” project, operate within the Deleuzian principle of schizoanalysis, that is, the objective is to open up a diverse range of interpretations to be found in a given set of symbols and symptoms rather than reducing their complexity to fit within pre-established systems for deciphering meaning. This is perhaps most evident in Hawkins’s two tabletop sculptures modeled after Artaud’s 1946 drawing The Sexual Awkwardness of God. In the drawing, Hawkins finds a phallic cannon, a brutalized table doubling as a prone figure with acoustic f-holes and distended buttocks, a vicious trap capturing mysterious pests and several elements from Tarahumara peyote/solar-deity iconography. By actualizing Artaud’s drawn elements into a vulgar reality and specifying the wide score of their potential references, Hawkins delicately peels the petals off the original and reignites the playwright’s genre-destroying volatility.

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Bait Paintings, Greene Naftali, New York, 2019

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Bait Paintings, Greene Naftali, New York, 2019

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Bait Paintings, Greene Naftali, New York, 2019

Richard Hawkins, Installation view, Bait Paintings, Greene Naftali, New York, 2019

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The sexual awkwardness of god, Ass Cannon, 2019

Richard Hawkins

After Artaud: The sexual awkwardness of god, Ass Cannon, 2019

Concrete, cardboard tube, boxes, razors, tacks, matches, mousetrap, corkscrew, office hardware, pubic hair, cow’s blood and collage on table

36 x 45 x 32 inches (91.4 x 114.3 x 81.3 cm)

 

Many of Richard Hawkins’s works that spring from periods of research, such as the objects and works on paper in the “After Artaud” project, operate within the Deleuzian principle of schizoanalysis, that is, the objective is to open up a diverse range of interpretations to be found in a given set of symbols and symptoms rather than reducing their complexity to fit within pre-established systems for deciphering meaning. This is perhaps most evident in Hawkins’s two tabletop sculptures modeled after Artaud’s 1946 drawing The Sexual Awkwardness of God. In the drawing, Hawkins finds a phallic cannon, a brutalized table doubling as a prone figure with acoustic f-holes and distended buttocks, a vicious trap capturing mysterious pests and several elements from Tarahumara peyote/solar-deity iconography. By actualizing Artaud’s drawn elements into a vulgar reality and specifying the wide score of their potential references, Hawkins delicately peels the petals off the original and reignites the playwright’s genre-destroying volatility.

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The sexual awkwardness of god, Ass Cannon, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The sexual awkwardness of god, Ass Cannon, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The sexual awkwardness of god, Ass Cannon, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The sexual awkwardness of god, Ass Cannon, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The sexual awkwardness of god, Ass Cannon, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud: The sexual awkwardness of god, Ass Cannon, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud, The sexual awkwardness of god, Rape Table, 2019

Richard Hawkins

After Artaud, The sexual awkwardness of god, Rape Table, 2019

Plastic, air-dry clay, cardboard tube, boxes, razors, matches, mousetrap, office hardware, cow’s blood and collage on table

37 x 46 x 32 inches (94 x 116.8 x 81.3 cm)

 

Many of Richard Hawkins’s works that spring from periods of research, such as the objects and works on paper in the “After Artaud” project, operate within the Deleuzian principle of schizoanalysis, that is, the objective is to open up a diverse range of interpretations to be found in a given set of symbols and symptoms rather than reducing their complexity to fit within pre-established systems for deciphering meaning. This is perhaps most evident in Hawkins’s two tabletop sculptures modeled after Artaud’s 1946 drawing The Sexual Awkwardness of God. In the drawing, Hawkins finds a phallic cannon, a brutalized table doubling as a prone figure with acoustic f-holes and distended buttocks, a vicious trap capturing mysterious pests and several elements from Tarahumara peyote/solar-deity iconography. By actualizing Artaud’s drawn elements into a vulgar reality and specifying the wide score of their potential references, Hawkins delicately peels the petals off the original and reignites the playwright’s genre-destroying volatility.

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud, The sexual awkwardness of god, Rape Table, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud, The sexual awkwardness of god, Rape Table, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud, The sexual awkwardness of god, Rape Table, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud, The sexual awkwardness of god, Rape Table, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud, The sexual awkwardness of god, Rape Table, 2019 (detail)

Richard Hawkins, After Artaud, The sexual awkwardness of god, Rape Table, 2019 (detail)

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