1922-1928. The Beginnings. Magazines and Manifestos. The Intellectual International. The Theorizing Machines. 75 HP – the New Start of the Romanian Avant-garde. Integralism and Synthesis. Synchronism and Internationalism The first avant-garde magazines and manifestos are coming out. Contimporanul (The Contemporary) is launching its Manifest activist catre tinerime (Activist Manifesto to the Youth) in the May 1924 (46th) issue.Because of the chronological lag, the Romanian promoters of the avant-garde do not reconstitute any of the literary trends: Marinetti's futurism (1909), Tzara's Dadaism (1916), Naum Gabo's constructivism (1920) intermingle. The resolve to change literature, to destroy old conventions, to shock the reader remains unabated. Negation is much softened in comparison with the eye of the avant-garde storm, the more so as tradition, the target of the avant-garde, was not – in that case – so coercive as elsewhere. There are some dadaist echoes in the 1924 Manifesto, especially in the violence of negation. "Down with Art/For it has prostituted!" Art, poetry, drama, literature, painting, sculpture, architecture, politics are run through the mill. The definition of music alone makes room for a touch of lyricism: Music, a means of locomotion to the sky.But Ion Vinea, the author of the manifesto, does not content himself with claiming the obsolete character of earlier art: he preaches the traits of the new, oncoming art. His program has no longer the terrible aspect of a pure and simple negation. It is amazing to notice almost classical exigencies, where elements of equilibrium and the simplification of artistic means are predominant. The arts in general, literature in particular, must come in tune with the rhythm of the industrial age. In Romania, the artisans of the avant-garde are precursors twice: in literature, which is quite normal, and in society's life. The poets experience the angst of huge urban agglomerations, the "inorganic environment" and mechanistic reveries long before the emergence of big cities and factories.As for the new literature, his views evince a constructivist outlook. Literature will abandon the anecdote and sentimentalism, "the disused clichés of bourgeois life", "the obsession of a sense of orientation" in favor of non-faked life. The novel will have to yield to reportage, because "a good daily report nowadays substitutes for any lengthy adventure or psychological novel." And to conclude, "the exact and quick plastic expression of Morse machines" is the earmark of the new style. 75 HP, SINGLE ISSUE, OCT. 1924 Director: Ilarie VoroncaEditor: Stéphane Roll75 HP calls itself "the only avant-garde group of Romania". The members of the group introduce themselves in terms that remind of the style of dadaist manifestos:"The 75 HP Group is organizing a great anti-theater theater with performances striking asphalts hepatism diathermy carbonic acid THE AUDIENCE MUST DON SPECIAL ATTIRE INCLUDING boxing gloves shoes potatoes klaxons trumpets signals revolvers preferably brownings asbestos toupees." (in French in the original)Also, the list of qualities required from all those who intend to publish in the new magazine:TO COLLABORATE WITH 75 HP one must:be a good dancerurinate on everythingrespect one's parents have suffered anairplane crash not makeliteraturehave a certificate of good behaviordrink sul-furic acid know boxing be- head oneself twice a week THE CANDIDATE WILL HAVE TO PROVE That he's got a straw hat instead of a heart that he's been using gutta-perchafor intestines that he has got religious ma-nias These texts, like the manifesto AVIOGRAMA, signed Ilarie Voronca, arise from a will to break with literary tradition. "Not to make literature", the condition mentioned for contributing to 75 HP, follows the line opened by Tristan Tzara in his Dada manifestos, and precedes one of the elements of the definition given by Breton to surrealism in the First Manifesto: "-outside any esthetic or moral preoccupation."The great novelty proposed by 75 HP remains, no doubt, PICTOPOETRY, co-signed Victor Brauner & Ilarie Voronca. The definition given by the authors is an ironic construction made of two negations and a pleonasm: Pictopoetry is not PaintingPictopoetry is not PoetryPictopoetry is Pictopoetry. In fact, Pictopoetry is both a literary work and a work of art, created in the technique of collage, consisting of "words in disorder" and "-outside any esthetic or moral preoccupation." The idea of "artistic neutrality" is also marked by the fact that, for title, pictopoems have only numbers.The new invention of Victor Brauner, the painter, and Ilarie Voronca, the poet is presented in the promotional style specific to the avant-garde: "Pictopoetry revives all the trends that reveal the new art."In this presentation of pictopoetry, a characteristic symptom of the spirit of the Romanian avant-garde can be noticed. Albeit at the beginning of its "public" existence, its representatives dream of a synthesis of "futurisms, dadaisms, constructivisms." Until the creation, in 1940, of the Romanian Surrealist Group, this idea will constantly haunt their spirits (a magazine, Integral. A magazine of modern synthesis, will be dedicated to it) and represent, more than a peculiarity, the will of the Romanian artists who see no contradiction in the two sides of their enterprise: to become both integrated in the European movement, and singular.The unique issue of 75 HP is important not only for its statements, but also because it lets the door ajar to the activities of the protagonists. The texts that accompany the second pictopoem (No. 384) contain two key words: synthesis, which was cited above, and subconscious, a Freudian echo. The word psychoanalysis would be used for the first time a year later, by Ion Vinea, as the title of a poem published in the January 13, 1925 issue (no. 11) of PUNCT (POINT):"The eyes of the blind man across the street/Hurt me".75 HP is probably the first to introduce the earliest echoes of Freud's doctrine in the Romanian literary space. F. Brunea's narrative, Rasbunarea lui Papufili (Papufili's Revenge), tells the story of a personage who lost his memory and got into the habit of making a knot to his handkerchief to remember such and such thing. The last time he did it, so he would not forget one of his very important decisions, "he made a sign to his temple, with a revolver." Freud and psychoanalysis are not mentioned, but the new language threading its way and the free associations of ideas in the texts are akin to the doctrine of the Viennese.Two theoretical articles – 1924, signed Alex. Cernat (Voronca's pseudonym), and Victor Brauner, signed by Ilarie Voronca – extol modern art. The latter especially evinces a few important points.The new art, Voronca proclaims, breaks with sentimentalism and is no longer dependent upon pleasure. He devises a new ontological status for it, because the new art must aim at "the expansion of our abstract knowledge, the creation of a new understanding of the universe, and a wider range of associations of ideas."Art is no longer a question of sensitiveness or sentiments, but one of "cerebral capacity". The abolition of mimesis is also suggested: "the artist is above all an inventor."Voronca's text also leans on a particularity of all avant-garde movements: the idea of the unachieved, or unaccomplished. Avant-garde works are works yet to be achieved, works in motion that are being built before the reader/spectator's eyes; this concept goes from simultaneist poetry and the performances staged by Tzara in Zurich and, later, in Paris, to surrealist creation. Here is Voronca's text: "The era of accomplished works is over. The hour has struck for all essays, even the most absurd."After these general overtures, Ilarie Voronca gets to the subject of his article: Victor Brauner. There too his intuitions prove right – seen from the perspective of time. To him, Victor Brauner belongs in the fecund race of innovative artists. Abstraction, personal construction and the "never-seen-before" (jamais vu) are his assets. The rejection of sentimentalism and logic is the counterweight of a supra-sensory consciousness. The subsequent evolution of the painter is traced in stunningly precise terms. As a matter of fact, in Alain Jouffroy's 1959 monograph consecrated to Victor Brauner, the poet Ilarie Voronca is mentioned among the painter's crucial contacts in his first period of creation. 75 HP is the meeting place of several prevailing realities. First of all, it is the personalities that converge in it, especially Voronca and Brauner. Furthermore, it is the idea of a modern synthesis, resumed and illustrated a year later. And finally, this strange announcement: "Before long, our colleague V. Brauner will issue an avant-garde magazine: - ¥." Such publication never saw the light of day. However, 24 years later, Victor Brauner, increasingly immersed in alchemy, the kabbala, numerology and other forms of magical knowledge, begins to sign his paintings Victor ¥. On October 26th, 1924, Victor Brauner's exhibition was opening in Bucharest at Art House (6, Corabiei St.).75 HP sends an invitation to "all the people", and draws a synthetic conclusion on Brauner's first: SURRATIONAL ABSTRACT REPERTOIRE. In his monograph dedicated to the Romanian painter, Alain Jouffroy[1] mentioned that the word surrationalism, used in 1924 in 75 HP, anticipated by 12 years the introduction of the same notion into the language of philosophy by Gaston Bachelard (Le Nouvel Esprit scientifiqueThe New Scientifc Spirit, 1936). Surrationalism, which seems to better explain Brauner's subsequent studies and experiments based on a sort of clairvoyant hyper-lucidity, was defined by Marina Vanci-Perahim thus: "The term already designates – as later with Bachelard – the 'intellectual discomfort' resulted from a different outlook on the world."[2] In this dawning period of the Romanian avant-garde, the year 1924 is particularly significant. Six months after the Activist Manifesto of Contimporanul, the avant-garde sets sail once more with 75 HP and its manifestos and programs published in the unique delivery of October. After the demise of 75 HP, another magazine takes over: Punct (Point) – "international magazine of constructivist art", Bucharest (16 issues between November 15, 1924 and March 1, 1925). In its turn, Punct will be continued by Integral, "a magazine of modern synthesis – organ of the Romanian and international modernist movement" (15 issues, from March 1925 to April 1928. Director: Ilarie Voronca). Considering its avowed "international" character, Integral had two editorial bureaus: one in Bucharest, the other in Paris.The burgeoning of literary magazines kept pace with the manifestations of the visual arts. 75 HP was announcing Victor Brauner's exhibition for the month of October. In November 1924, at the initiative of the Contimporanul group, the International Art Exhibition opened. Participation recorded all the important names of the day, all those who were making history in the most spectacular artistic movement of the century: Brancusi, M. H. Maxy, Milita Petrascu, Marcel Iancu (Janco), Mattis-Teutsch, Victor Brauner (from Romania), Paul Klee, Hans Arp, Arthur Segal (of Romanian origin), Kurt Schwitters, Hans Richter, W. Eggeling, Ludovic Kassak, Lempereur Haut, etc.Contimporanul (the double issue 50-51, Nov.-Dec. 1924, and no. 52, Jan. 1925) largely covered that event of unprecedented magnitude in Romania. A veritable theorizing frenzy engulfs all avant-garde magazines. Poets and artists, would-be theorists, all prove erudition and a remarkable systematic spirit in their judgments. Ion Vinea, Ilarie Voronca, Mihail Cosma (Claude Sernet), B. Fondane, Ion Calugaru, Marcel Iancu, M. H. Maxy, and many more, regularly deliver in their magazines a multitude of articles about the new poetic language, but also about painting, drama, cinema, sports, and the new, essentially urban, environment – architecture, furniture, objects.Promisiuni (Promises) by Ion Vinea (Contimporanul no. 50-51, 1924) is an imaginary dialogue Hamlet-Polonius. With humor, irony and a keen sense of relativism, Ion Vinea stages theoretical ideas. Hamlet shows Polonius clouds that take different shapes: a guitar, a camel, until they do no longer resemble anything at all. "Between my cloud and your ignorance, the best grounds of understanding are laid," the Prince of Doubt quips. Art is the organization of pre-existent forms, like Nature herself. In fact, Ion Vinea ventures an extrapolation of nature from the rules of artistic creation; but even in doing so, he does not demand autonomy for art. He contents himself with noticing the existence of "anecdote-less art", and delights in its international character.In Principii pentru timpul nou (Principles for the New Times – Contimporanul, no. 61, Oct. 1925), Ion Vinea defines poetry as frame of soul. It has an objective existence, which the poet must reveal. Like fakirs, who know the secret of ecstasy, poets hold the secret of the poetic mood. Poetry is everywhere, and poets know how to seize it in order to put it within everybody's reach.Taking away the mysterious, metaphysical side of poetry, while conferring it the status of "objective existence", was the theoretical approach of all avant-garde movements, from futurism to the surrealists' Marx-oriented esthetics. But the real Marxist esthetics – the "proletkult" and "socialist realism" versions – would be brought to bear in the Soviet Union, and recommended as the unique recipe for creation throughout avant-garde trends. After World War II, socialist realism was exported to all the countries fallen within the Soviet sphere of influence. In all those countries, communist propaganda knew how to take on the appearances of the avant-garde, proclaiming the advent of the "true" revolutionary art, which would erect its edifice on the negation of the past. The art that was supposed to replace the "rotten bourgeois creation" was in fact thoroughly conformist. It was bound to observe the commandments of the single party to the letter.Even if deprived of mystery and metaphysics, in Vinea's opinion poetry remains the acme of the arts, and the fruit of their specific means: "A poem is the resultant of all the arts: music, the visual arts, literature – sound, matter and verb resolve into poetry."The magazines Punct and Integral also publish programmatic articles deploying a theoretical argumentation based on a modern spirit and contemporary art. The Integral group preaches a new intellectual-society rapport. The manifesto of the same group makes a stand against "the archangel individuals flying over society", against the hypertrophy of the ego. Anti-elitism is the constant choice of the avant-garde.The Romanian avant-garde artists seek to banish the chant of surrealist sirens, censuring Breton's doctrine for its lack of originality. Surrealism lacks virility, it is a reediting "of nasalized romantic laments." As for the subconscious, it has always been used by artists (Ilarie Voronca, Suprarealism si IntegralismSurrealism and Integralism, in Integral, no. 1, March 1925). Now is the time for synthesis and integralism.Ilarie Voronca, one of the most prolific exponents of the Romanian avant-garde, conceives an authentic plea in favor of synchronization and synthesis of thought and the arts in a century that was only looming: "Art is no longer scattered in fragments. Thought, fine arts, dance move on together, with vigorous enthusiasm, reclaiming new landscapes."He even suggests a word that, in his opinion, could express the gist of the avant-garde: "The real word nobody uttered yet: cubism, futurism, constructivism converge on the same tough spot: SYNTHESIS." (Ilarie Voronca, GlasuriVoices, in Punct, no. 8, January 1925). In other words, Voronca sees in the avant-garde a style of thought, the spirit of the 20th century revealing itself not only in literature and art, but also in science, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, chemistry. Freud and Einstein are invoked in his argumentation.In his article De la futurism la integralism (From Futurism to Integralism, in Integral, no. 6-7, Oct. 1925), Mihail Cosma (the future Claude Sernet) also analyzes the literary trends in vogue, with a personal penchant for INTEGRALISM, in a way synonymous with Voronca's synthesis. Cosma/Sernet does not define integralism in terms of esthetics, but within a more general approach of creation and life: "INTEGRALISM […] integral effort for a synthetic accomplishment of existence."In Gramatica (Grammar) (Punct, no. 6-7, January 1925), Ilarie Voronca systematizes the futurist and dadaist viewpoints and voices his options concerning poetic language and logic. In the name of authenticity and reconciliation with real life, the artist abandons symbols; he creates living organisms in clay, in wood, or "in verbs". "Words set free" acquire meanings not to be found in dictionaries – just like lines and colors do in painting which, as far as it is concerned, has no equivalents in the universe. The work of art must be contemplated in itself: it has its own life.Voronca even retraces a history of the new fashion of judging art. It begins with Mallarmé, the first to have consciously rejected "the grammatical sentence". A subsequent inventory blends writers and painters together: Apollinaire, André Salmon, Marinetti, Tristan Tzara, Picabia, Arp, Marcel Iancu, Soupault, Kurt Schwitters, Picasso. The new syntax is no longer defined starting from rules and constraints, but in relation to the sensibility of the artist. As for logic, it is the outcome of research undertaken in the past, hence it cannot be valid in the present, or in the time to come. A new experience will give birth to a new logic. The new logic will seem at first illogical but, through usage, it will eventually become accepted as "current logic". The defiance and destruction of grammar and logic will benefit the new sensibility already making headway in the most recent creations.Nearly all theoretical commentaries bear upon literature and the visual arts jointly. As a matter of fact, throughout the history of the avant-garde, the visual arts and literature are indestructibly linked, and go together through the same process of renewal of their languages and corresponding codes. Internationalism and the wish for synchronization with the European artistic movement are further hallmarks of the activity of literary magazines: Contimporanul* a presentation of Breton's Surrealist Manifesto (no. 50-51, November-December 1924);* An Open Letter to Mr. Paul Claudel… (no. 64, July 1925);* interviews by Marcel Iancu with André Breton, Paul Eluard, Philippe Soupault, Benjamin Péret (no. 66, May 1st, 1926);* poems by Breton, Soupault, Eluard, etc. Punct· texts by Kurt Schwitters and Herwarth Walden, in German (no. 6-7, January 1925);· text by Theo van Doesburg, Vers une Construction collective (Towards a Collective Construction, no. 8, January 1925);· poems by Paul Eluard (Ami? NonFriend? No) and Georges Linze (no. 14, February 1925);· texts by Louis Emié, Marcel Raval, Liubomir Mitich and Chansons by Philippe Soupault (no. 15, February 1925). Integral has an office in Bucharest (F. Brunea, Ion Calugaru, M. H. Maxy, I. Voronca) and one in Paris (Benjamin Fondane).· an interview with Robert Delaunay on simultaneism (no. 6-7, September-October 1925);· the 12th (April 1927) issue is dedicated to futurism: on the cover, the portraits of fourteen Italian futurists and Marinetti's manuscript letter addressed to Mihail Cosma: