POEMS AND COLLAGE DARREN THOMAS

A Hypothetical Point– Hand Cut Collage

The knock on the door Of becoming.

Darren Thomas 31.1.21

The knock on the Door of Becoming

Sustained by cloud and hunger

In the web-stained village

I caught the wisps of sky

And mandrake root

Their tears

Filling my eyes

With the echo of a street

Glimpsed in real dreams

There where his lordship

Pours the grim quicksilver of doubt

On the assembled company

I encountered the infamous Madame Visage

Who gave me the gift of mirrors

And to her

I foreswore the oath of the kissing trees

Despite her beloved sister slain by cruel storms

And the repercussions

That inevitably followed

In chalk and ice

In cauterised sleep

In subtle sin and shine

Lighting the way for

An eternity of crossings

The Ceremony – Hand Cut Collage

Beyond my shadow

Darren Thomas 17.8.21

Beyond My Shadow

The creeping shadow

Dripping with the honey of days

Burrows through the warm jelly

Of eyes

Eyes stolen in daydreams

Eyes I put on to sleep

Eyes that do not see

And this mask of feathers and slow-blood vinegar

Sticks to skin

Already brutalised by faces fresh o# the docks

Whipped by independent clocks in love

And other assorted complexes

Until the semblance of what passes for life

Breaks into pieces Sullied by the caul of morning rays

And the daily sandstorm we seek to quell

Yet, I am aware of my thoughts

Quiet tendril thoughts

Clinging to the dry ice whispers

Of words threaded with words

That stitch me to my shadow

Songs of the Siren – Hand Cut Collage

Darren Thomas’ entry into surrealism was initially through his experiments with automatic poetry and painting, partly inspired by Freud’s ideas relating to free association and developed further through his discovery of surrealism, whilst at college. He studied surrealism in literature, film and drama, whilst at university, and worked collectively and individually on several surrealist films, as (co)writer and director: ‘Bees in a Glass Hive’, ‘Bees in a Polythene Bag’, ‘Bees on a Soft Trail’ and ‘The Seven Chocolate Kisses’. Darren also wrote and sang in several bands, utilising an automatic approach. In The Men From Del Monte, he played various forms of percussion as well as the Hoover. According to Darren, regrettably “The Hoover was never accepted as a musical instrument.”

Since university, Darren has continued to engage with surrealism – both as an artist and academic. His film Jesus and the Astronauts, combining documentary and fiction explored the dreams of those he encountered on an Inter-Rail journey across Europe, which was screened at The New York Film Festival (1991). He ran a gallery in Cadaqués, working and exhibiting with local artists, where he wrote and directed his film-poem: ‘Cadaqués: Portrait of a Surrealist Town’ (2000), exploring Cadaqués’ links with surrealism.

His PhD: ‘Border Crossings: (Re)presenting Gender Identity in Surrealist Film’. (Queen Mary University of London), utilised an interdisciplinary approach, combining film, collage, assemblage and a written thesis. He has published widely. Articles include: ‘Man (Ray) without a movie camera or the object as cinema’, (‘Patricide 7: Surrinema’, 2014). ‘Gender transformation in ‘Un Chien andalou’’, (Melusine, 2016) and he is currently researching a book ‘Convulsive cinema: surrealism and the (still-)moving image’, which develops his notion of ‘convulsive cinema’ in the work of, Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell, Dorothea Tanning, Jan Švankmajer, Kati Horna and Francesca Woodman, considering a range of media: collage, objects, paintings and photography. He has taught various aspects of surrealism and the visual arts, particularly surrealism and cinema.

Darren was a founding member of The London Surrealist Group, in 2002, and has participated with various national and international surrealist groups, on group activities and exhibitions, publishing poems, tracts and other works over the years. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, including London, New York, Copenhagen, Barcelona and online. In 2019, Darren screened and discussed ‘The Dream Key’ film trilogy at ‘Surrealisms/2nd annual conference of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism’ (University of Exeter). He is currently collaborating with several Welsh surrealists (Jean Bonnin, Neil Coombes, John Richardson and John Welson on various projects (including the surrzine ‘Once Upon a Tomorrow’), and delighted to be included, alongside his Welsh comrades in the two volume: ‘Surrealism in Wales’ (Jean Bonnin, 2020), which discusses his films, collages, assemblages and music and features many images of his work.

Darren is Co-founder of La Sirena Surrealist Group and views La Sirena as a collective journey through the looking glass of identity, that both reflects and transforms the self/Other convulsively, in a state of eternal becoming.

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