COBRA, Canvas, and Camera: Luc de Heusch Filming Alechinsky and Dotremont at Work
Belgian anthropologist and filmmaker Luc de Heusch was involved in or connected to the art movement COBRA in several ways. He published in the eponymous journal, and his first film, Perséphone (1951, under the pseudonym of Luc Zangrie), is considered the sole film of the movement. Later, in the early 1970s, De Heusch made films showing leading COBRA artists such as Christian Dotremont and Pierre Alechinsky at work. Both Alechinsky d’apres nature (1970) and Dotremont: Les Logogrammes (1972) focus on the complex process of artistic creation. The camera concentrates resolutely on materials such as brushes, paint, and ink but first and foremost on the artists’ hands and gestures. Strikingly, in both films the process of creation also implies erasure and destruction of the image.