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Michaux was both a poet and a painter, but he spoke of drawing as a release from words: 'a new language, spurning the verbal'. His drawings are, nevertheless, calligraphic in character, often suggesting indecipherable writing. Between 1954 and 1962 he experimented with working under the influence of the drug mescaline. The early results were obsessively detailed, while the ink drawings show an intense repetition of slashing marks. Michaux described fighting with these blots, likening them to 'insatiable desires or knots of force, which are destined never to take form'.

August 2004