Although the work of countless writers, artists and thinkers converged around “rhythm” in the 20th century—Kandinsky, Klee, Bergson, Benjamin, Bachelard, Lefebvre, Meschonnic, Barthes …—the ubiquity of this compact term belies a teeming mass of contradictory meanings and dubious transpositions.
In its own evocations of “rhythm,” Denis Roche’s work steadily navigates the confluences of these rhythmic preoccupations, in the interstices of poetry and painting or those of prose, music and photography—but never promises to resolve their contradictions. Eschewing a single manifestation or total concept of rhythm, his hybrid creations tend instead to hone specific rhythms, thanks precisely to their calculated confrontations of distinct artistic media and always in light of a more fundamental, anthropological encounter with the real.
Steven Crumb is a specialist of modern French poetry and poetics, and is presently a postdoctoral fellow in the NYU Department of French, where he earned his PhD in 2013. In addition to his dissertation on the poetics of polytextual composition in the works of Michel Butor, Jacques Roubaud and Denis Roche, he is also author of several conferences on 1960s and 70s French poetry and “Les
Essais de littérature arrêtée de Denis Roche et « le Journal idéal » de Roland Barthes : « à la fois un rythme … et un leurre » (Loxias 41, June 2013). He is currently preparing a monograph on the notions of rhythm in the writing and photography of Denis Roche.