/, Literature, Blesok no. 114-115/VLADA UROŠEVIĆ AND SURREALISM



Vlada Urošević made a step forward into Surrealism at a time when he began to trace his artistic (poetic) trajectory at the beginning of the 1950s in the 20th century. At that time, Surrealism as a movement officially existed, but the information about this movement is scarce and often mockingly critical in these parts of Europe. Therefore, a negative connotation embraces some of Urošević’s first writings on literary criticism: Dimitar Mitrev, the great arbiter of Macedonian literary criticism at that time, in a series of texts published in the literary magazine “Sovremenost” (“Contemporariness”, 1954-55) “accused” Urošević of being a “Dadaist”, whereas for Georgi Stardelov, Urošević was a “Surrealist”, a qualification which, in his opinion, was extremely “dangerous” for the younger generation of Macedonian poets (“A Warnings Against Ad Hoc Aesthetics”, Mlada literatura, 1955).

“There are many literary critics who would easily characterize Vlada Urošević as a Surrealist” – writes Roman Kisjov and justifiably assumes that “even though Surrealism has greatly influenced his poetry, that characterization, in fact, limits this poetry; it destroys it and even makes it a cliché, because this poetry is much richer, much more complex and multilayered, and it defies and resists any cliché whatsoever. The poetry of Vlada Urošević does not succumb to any definition, just as dream does not succumb to the traps of logic” – concludes Kisjov in the Introduction to the Bulgarian edition of the poetry selection entitled Mythology of Dream (Sintezi, 2013). Certainly, Urošević, as any other authentic and original author, in his work leads a dialogue with many authors, including the Surrealist poets.

In terms of his poetic work, it could be said that Urošević’s affinities towards the poetics of Surrealism, “the greatest artistic adventure of the 20th century”, at first were purely intuitive, not always conscious – inspired by some almost not sensed traces and almost by accident found trails. According to the author’s personal reminiscences, the first truly Surrealist texts he had read were samples of several Belgrade Surrealist magazines that he had come across in the Public and University Library in Skopje, outside of the officially recommended literature: “Albeit my sympathies with the Surrealistic group in Belgrade, I must confess that I was more inclined towards the Surrealistic group in Paris (…) and their affinities with the dream, with the riddle of consciousness, the mysteries of chance” – we read in “Sentimental Panorama of Surrealism.”

And indeed, Vlada Urošević is a curious and a passionate votary of dream as “the only life in us” (according to André Breton’s belief) or simply an irredeemable dreamer. In the aforementioned conversations with Jankovski, discussing the dream as an essential determinant of his eros creative, Urošević says: “Dream fascinates me because it is one of the ways in which our psychic being is trying to create another reality out of the existing reality. And that fascination is certainly encouraged, on the one hand, by the fantastique, and on the other hand, by Surrealism”. The possibilities of the dream for “expanding the limits of reality” and for “conquering the freedom of the spirit”, the understanding of the dream as an “end” of the known reality and as the “beginning” of an unknown reality, whether fantastic or Surreal, a reality that is succumbed to different laws and logic, and at the same time, a reality equally true and essential for our existence, unequivocally relates this author’s affinities to the fantastic and the Surreal as paradigms of the imaginary and oneiric experiences which are immanent in his entire creative opus.

Ever since his first volume of poetry, bearing the paradigmatic title – Another City (Еден друг град) (1959), Urošević chronotopically in a harmonic chord intertwines both the real and the imaginary, dream and reality, the familiar and the unfamiliar, experience and memory, Order and Adventure, life and creation… He spontaneously gives in to the “art of the promenades” (according to Guillaume Apollinaire’s syntagm), Urošević quite lucidly and from a stance of strangeness creates his observation in an unfamiliar or a strange way in order to enhance the perception of the familiar, of the city-labyrinth. The real topos – the city of Skopje – with certain deviations, of course, is designed in accordance with the Surrealist perception of the city: the author discovers “another city” within the already familiar city, a city “of which I am not quite certain/ that it is marked on the geographical maps” – says the lyrical subject in the poem published under the same aforementioned title.

A new chapter in the personal history of Urošević about his relations with Surrealism was opened by his first yearlong stay in Paris (October 1967 – June 1968): “I was in Paris when in May 1968 graffiti like ‘All Power to the Imagination!’ were painted on the walls of Sorbonne University, as if they were written by the Surrealists themselves”. The very next year, in 1969, Urošević published series of translations of Surrealist texts in the Macedonian literary magazine Razgledi – a magazine that held together writers who were fighting against the ideological chains that forbade freedom of speech. His translational laboratory will produce numerous anthologies of French poetry focusing on the Surrealist poets1F . This noble mission culminates with his book entitled The Great Adventure: French Surrealism (1993) – a book that nowadays is considered to be a cult classic in Macedonia.

“Vlada Urošević, exactly him2F ” does not conceal his spiritual communication neither with Surrealist painting, oftentimes even as a source of the poetic inspiration: “Surrealist painting has undoubtedly influenced my poetry (in some cases its influence was perhaps greater than that of the Surrealist poetry)”, he says. “The mysterious squares of De Chirico, the somnambulant perspectives of Dali, the enigmatic situations in the collages of Max Ernst, the unclouded dreams of Juan Miró, the menacing worlds of Yves Tanguy, and the hermetic actions on the canvases of Rene Magritte and Paul Delvaux (…) have time and again fed my imagination with new associations and new ideas.” The phrase “selection by propinquity” will result in another noteworthy intermedia study, Invented Worlds: On Surrealism in Painting (2003).

AuthorLidija Kapuševska-Drakulevska
2022-04-03T19:30:48+00:00 August 10th, 2017|Categories: Reviews, Literature, Blesok no. 114-115|0 Comments