Come rain come shine: C M Lundberg

23 September - 10 October 2010

Certain texts will haunt you and remain unsolved regardless of how many times you read them. When you come across them in antiquarian bookstores, as remodelled new editions or – if you are particularly lucky – in jumble sales you instantly become nostalgic and a bit geeky. Prefaces are carefully studied, and if you have got the time you continue searching for the publication year, possible trans…lation and footnotes. Rereading them is enjoyable, alternately appeasing and sometimes painful, but – it seems – always necessary.


CM Lundberg and I have Maurice Blanchot together. Blanchot and André Breton. Essentially. When I read The Madness Of the Day I understand what CM Lundberg means when he recounts that he once became ill, de-taught himself everything he knew and began all over. Like having lived through death. “Can I describe my trials? Blanchot asks himself. Can I describe my trials? I was not able to walk, or breathe, or eat. My breath was made of stone, my body of water, and yet I was dying of thirst. One day they thrust me to the ground; the doctors covered me with mud. What work went on at the bottom of that earth! Who says it’s cold? It’s a bed of fire, it’s a bramble bush. When I got up I could feel nothing. My sense of touch was floating six feet away from me; if anyone entered my room, I would cry out, but the knife was serenely cutting me up. Yes, I became a skeleton. At night my thinness would rise up before me to terrify me. As it came and went it insulted me, it tired me out; oh, I was certainly very tired.


One who has been under the earth, reread and returned to life carries the experience of catharsis. Like André Breton, after the upsetting re-wakening out of ecstatic love in Nadja when the beloved receives a clinical diagnosis. They came, Breton recounts, to tell me that Nadja was insane. After this the mysticism surrounding Nadja rifts, and he can only see her world through the prismatic dullness of the illness. However the affair leaves behind a longing back to a time and place where love is so intense that it threatens to dissolve everything. L’Amour fou (published in English with the title Mad Love) is an attempt to read and restore the pure experience of the high-octane love, beyond morality. He activates a forest of symbols to do justice to the abundance of love, and summons his active contemporaries for support – all aligned with the growth of the surrealistic movement during the inter-war years.


These texts become the idiosyncratic polished crystal through which the world of CM Lundberg opens up to me. The prism distorts reality and dissolves the boarders between day and dream allowing them to be found in CM’s automatic aquarelle fictions. CM retains the prism and other symbols from the surrealism of his youth, as well as the faith in the image to transfers its content to each and everyone. Since several years back CM practices daily automatism as a method, as well as automatic writing, and many texts are continuously published on his web page. Even the prescribed attitude of Breton is found with CM; despite all its quirkiness it is undeniably affirmative in its outlook on life.


Without sentimentalising over yesterday’s lunacy he retains the irrationality in the flight of thought, through the traces permeating the paper. The traces are automatic abstractions, which invite you to read, but just as the texts mentioned above, they do not provide answers or liberation. In the act of reading image and narrative come seamlessly together, like when two clouds meet in a clear sky.


Diana Kaur, September 2010