Marie Wilson and Nanos Valaoritis in Conversation: Surrealism, Imagetext, and Occult Aesthetics in Terre de Diamant
Terre de Diamant (1958) is a collection of 16 lithographs and texts created collaboratively by the American artist Marie Wilson and Greek poet Nanos Valaoritis. The close reading provided here touches upon Valaoritis’s dialogue with French and Greek discourses on modernist and surrealist poetics, and discusses Wilson’s exposure to the surrealist aesthetics of mediumistic art and to the preoccupation of post-war surrealism with myth, indigenous art, and occultism. The work’s hybridity, intertextuality, and occult language shed light on the reconfiguration of avant-garde poetics and aesthetics by Valaoritis and Wilson, who worked within the framework of post-war French surrealism.The nuanced relationship between text and image is explored with the help of W.J.T. Mitchell’s theoretical construct of the ‘imagetext’ and of Valaoritis’s own theory of writing and art.