Valery Oisteanu - king/queen/jack of all dada/east village “Absurdistan” – gallops on the hobbyhorse of our blasted times; and the poems here echo the blasts. Poems point to and mock the “Unending killing cycles,” while surreal images abound and become visual realities
However, let’s return to Bey and his even more savage complaint against this artistic movement. “Surrealism was made for advertising, for commodification. Surrealism is in fact a betrayal of desire.” Why? Because “all projects for the ‘liberation of desire’ (Surrealism) which remain enmeshed in the matrix of work can only lead to the commodification of desire.” To rephrase that, Surrealism, for all its radicalism, did not defend alienated labor. This, Bey argues, can be seen not only in the focus of the movement’s creative attacks but in its affinity for ‘the Communist Party and its Work-ist ideology.”
Certainly, Bey’s assertions are open to challenge, but let’s set aside the question of the validity of his attacks on the earlier figures and take this as a second challenge to the new generation. The demand is that the newer Surrealists once and for all break their ties to contemporary work culture. Has Oisteanu been able to do this? Speaking frankly, I would have to say that in some ways Oisteanu falls short here. As was the case with Breton, Aragon and others, his unrelenting, fiery attacks on the state’s war-mongering, imperialism and environmental degradation are not matched by equally passionate attacks on the slavery of work.
Yet, if one reads with a less literal-minded search for denunciations of the world of labor, one can see in Oisteanu an important transmutation of Surrealist forms that has a bearing on this issue. One characteristic of early French Surrealist poetry (though not of all their novels) was a tendency to abstraction. It was a curious abstraction, of course, that of common nouns doing odd, discontinuous things like the characters in Magnetic Fields, who appear only to be joined to other abstractions: “A man standing in front of a perfume shop was listening to the rolling of a distant drum. The night that was gliding over his head came to rest on his shoulders.”
This type of writing is one reason for Bey’s criticism, his feeling that Surrealism is delinked from the life of ordinary people.
A fascination with hands and the female body, a kind of natural history of sultry affairs with high heels and Rococo sugars, an insolent funny erotic weightless "expose" of just what it is that we're missing: Akhenaton riding a carousel horse, facing skeleton face, gardens with bushes of blue tuna, a bird man sings, the pleasure of wearing red gloves is contagious, a poignant tribute to "The Lunatic," a popular Yiddish play from another era that premiered up the street. ..."Forbidden Windmills," "Asymmetrical Shoe Master," "Mystical SEances in the Circus..". Valery Oisteanu's world of collage is porous, generative, iterative, erotic... He said it best: Lighter than Air... - Allan Graubard
At the hand of the poet Valery Oisteanu we find a world of event and happenstance worthy of our attention.
A catalog of all that happens. Art (the hardest calling) is not for the faint of heart. Or for the heartless. But for the person alive lusting to be heard. Collage is the hymn of the modern era from Braque and company to Schwitters and Hannah Hoch to Dizzy Gillespie to Stockhausen to Fluxus to DJ Kool Herc. Valery Oisteanu in his book Moons of Venus says:
Shines like a haunted star
These works are that star
Haunted with the wreck of history
Not a mirror on the world but the poet's hammer with which to shape it
- Fletcher Coop
Valery Oisteanu's collages are alchemical mirrors in which oneiric elements are steeped in the most delirious eroticism imaginable. Breathless as lightning, these collages are raw, uncompromising, and subversive. They summon you into a trance state in which the unexpected always triumphs over the mundane. - Bill Wolak