Richard Hawkins Norogachi’s “Ceramics after Artaud” at the Greene Naftali Gallery

In 1936, the playwright Antonin Artaud made an arduous journey by horseback into the extreme terrain of the Sierra Madre of Mexico in search of a people “uncontaminated” by modern European culture. Artaud’s destination, the Tarahumara village of Norogachi, ultimately proved disappointing, but his experiences there deeply influenced the author’s thinking and writing throughout the remainder of his life.


Using the medium of ceramics, the artist Richard Hawkins extrapolates and postulates a convergence of previously undeciphered Tarahumaran iconography in the drawings of Artaud. The drawings – completed during Artaud’s institutionalization in Rodez asylum – cover the same period (1945-46) during which the author finished the imaginative chronicle of his Mexican journey, Les Tarahumaras. Few scholars, however, have investigated the possible connections between Artaud’s Tahahumara-influenced writings, these contemporaneously-produced drawings and documentation on Tarahumara customs and iconography.


The works in Hawkins’s “Norogachi: Ceramics After Artaud” merge, compare and unite many of the cryptic “hieroglyphics” from Artaud’s drawings with the Tarahumaran images they were conceivably influenced by. Most significantly, the “Tarahumara cross” – as seen and documented in the missions of Creel and Norogachi to this day – shows a direct visual and even conceptual relationship to Artaud’s many anal rape themes. Additionally, anthropological information regarding transvestism, “sexual play”, rituals for the dying/dead and peyote customs among the Tarahumara may throw new light onto Artaud’s most imminent subjects – nocturnal sperm vampires, spectral fetuses, raging hermaphroditic shamans, “the sexual inadequacy of god” and the author’s own daughter/wife/sexslave fantasies.

Start Date

September 9, 2016

End Date

October 22, 2016


10:00 AM - 06:00 PM


Greene Naftali Gallery, 508 West 26th St, Ground Floor, New York, NY 10011

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Greene Naftali Gallery



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