Pierre Maluc: Mediumistic Drawings – A presentation given by Pierre Maluc at the Conference of the General Assembly of The Friends Society of l’Institut Métapsychique International 1957
Published in the Revue Metapsychique Volume 1 #5 July 1957
Maluc – I will first try to give an overview of the background of my youth – my feelings, my predispositions and which memories will help you understand or perceive the reason for the work I’ve submitted for your appreciation. To do this, I want to go back very far in time. My family, on the maternal side, is from Coutances and very good Normande stock who paid a heavy price for the Revolution of 1789. Then, in 1848, a fusion took place after the barricades through the union of my grandmother with an officer at the Commune. My mother seemed to be made up of these two extreme elements, a very intelligent woman, adoring the people, but failing to see wrong in watching them struggle whilst seated in the comfort of her living room.
My father came from a wealthy urban environment and with a predisposition to work studied Architecture at the Beaux-Arts in Paris. He returned to Rouen with his diploma and took up an important post with a company, but was always preoccupied with painting, music, and organising concerts. He established the Société des Artistes Rouennais and the Seine-Inferieure. Afterwards, he became a lecturer and died at age 56.
D’Martiny, President of The Friend’s Society – Today, we are going to have an exceedingly interesting conference. I have already on occasion listened with great interest to Monsieur Pierre Maluc and in this discussion we will be able to examine, with what we ourselves are born, the astonishing possibility of being at the edge of the unconscious and conscious.
The family atmosphere, with three brothers and one sister, was very musical. I was alone in not playing an instrument, but learned to sing. If I refer to the most distant memories of my youth, each meal brought discussions and debates on various subjects, a spiritual theme being quite common. There were some discussions on the biblical topics, and there was a general desire to get a feel for the large problems of life.
Education was religious, but not to the letter, more in the spirit. At the age of 18 my sister converted and became a protestant. Personally I wandered in an endless desire for spiritual improvement, but it was a long way from the cup to the lips. A path that was long and painful with lots of wrong steps.
The first manifestation of a premonition was in 1919, when I was mobilized. During my leave, my sister had expressed the desire that I draw her a picture and insert an affectionate thought in her notebook. I drew her a young girl wearing a large white veil, forming a train, followed by Death with his scythe. As the time I was singing, and unconsciously, inscribed it with the text: To leave is to die a little. Had I been guided to put this sentence? It is probable because, a few years later, my sister died at the age of 22.
The second event took place in 1923. I was studying architecture and worked during the day for a jeweller called Chaumet, where I joined as a designer on the recommendation of Cardinal Dubois, Archbishop of Paris. One July afternoon, I was at my drawing board, chatting without too much work to do with a colleague, pencil in my left hand, the sheet blank. My colleague observing me during this conversation, signals to me, to my surprise, that I had made a composition without realizing it. Indeed, I looked at my drawing tool and I notice that my hand
moved, instead of running away with usual scribbles of this kind of nervous event, had made a perfectly balanced drawing.
This abnormal event struck me, so I decided to talk to a friend’s doctor who immediately announced that I was an excellent medium. Convinced of my capabilities after witnessing several demonstrations he suggested that I should turn to L’Institut Métapsychique, the head of which was, at that time, Dr Osty. I refused, insisting on keeping my feet on the ground and not wanting to serve as a guinea pig, nor my experiences becoming the subject of a tréatise, to the detriment of my own personality.
At this time, apart from some very powerful and beautiful drawings, they were mainly morbid revelations. My deceased sister with whom I communicated by automatic writing advised me not to force my evolution so as not to be bothered by dangerous bad influences. I remember a warning she gave me: Wait for fate, for the chosen time where your personality fuses with your gift of mediumship and will give joy whilst doing useful things. I followed this wise counsel and, for a long time only had premonitory manifestations.
The first date, if I remember correctly, was 1927 or 1928 when I was with a group of clients and friends. They requested a demonstration of my gift and that led me to make a drawing of an apocalyptic monster crushing a young woman, whilst below, a toothed being with a hole in his forehead, could be seen in a murky atmosphere lit by a faint aura. My entourage was altered by this disappointing drawing and begged me to seek, through automatic writing, the explanation of this sad composition.
Eight days later, when invited to one of their houses for the weekend, I applied for the answer and was told that it represented a fraction of the fate of the mother of my friends, who had attended the communication. He revealed to me than the monstrous beast, crushing the head of the young woman, symbolised a major test in her life and the poor wandering soul, wounded in the forehead, was that of her son, wandering in search of reincarnation. I had confirmation that he had committed suicide in the Congo four years before. Other demonstrations followed, one of which was reported to a journal interested in mediumistic facts.
In 1936, after having produced two pavilions for the Colonial section of the Exposition Internationale, I got to know Marshal Pétain, then Ambassador in Madrid, who had learned of my gifts of premonition which had resulted in some interesting pastels of the events which would take place in 1939. He asked me to kindly make him a premonitory drawing. I am not very disposed to give satisfaction to his desire; then, during the execution of the pastel, I experience a sort of discomfort, an anguish at the thought of the Marshal. It represented him stretched out and tied up on the map of France which was badly damaged. To the south, French troops enveloped in the French flag departed from Algerian soil. On the left, coming from America and England, planes of gold and silver. On the right, Germany was nothing more than a mass of black smoke from which flames escaped as if the country was volcanized. The Marshall accepted this drawing with a bad temper, saying to me: “Maluc, you are completely crazy!”
Our relationship became less frequent and it was not until the end of the war that I was called to see his successor, at a time when the Marshal was a prisoner on the Isle of Yeu. The curious thing about the story is that my pastel, relegated as an unwanted element for several years, was not re-examined by the Marshal’s wife until events took their tragic turn for the Vichy government and forced her and Pétain to leave for Germany. The drawing was confiscated from them with their baggage at the Swiss border by the police. At our last meeting, in her apartment Des Invalides, she asked me if I could give him other items of consolation. I couldn’t get anything. A year after this visit, Pétain died.
After this period, worried about my material situation, I spent my leisure hours doing oil painting, in spite of all the influence of my inner turmoil, it was a period which was the object of an exhibition on rue Saint-Honoré and what I will call “My period of release.” The following year would lead me to start a series of drawings in black.
‘The Crowned Virgin. Sovereign and Maternal’ shown above is the beginning of the first series which continues for no more than three or four years. It showed a progressive lightness of line, until one day, when positioned in front of my table drawing, I inadvertently threw away from me an eraser and unconsciously took a razor blade which was within reach of my hand. It attacked the drawing in a circular movement and made an engraving in the thickness of the paper. I didn’t get to this point right away, but arrived at it little by little. In general, I imbue myself with favourable thought-forces, either in a Protestant temple, a Catholic church or in nature. I pray and, after having imbibed myself in this atmosphere, with forces that can help me, I take a razor blade and let my hand go.
Immediately it begins to meander and the razor blade scratches the paper creating areas of light with thicknesses of up to a fifteenth of a millimetre without going all the way through. I never do a drawing in advance, especially as an Architect, I do not want to oppose this kind of force that guides me because, as soon as it is opposed, there is a roadblock: either the drawing is demolished or I cannot continue. It’s quite curious and pretty extraordinary plus the possibilities are enormous. I manage to make drawings of a metre without fatigue, but when it is over my head is in a state. It’s not possible to work for more than 3 or 4 hours.
While I make these drawings I try to free myself and escape from reality. It is a pleasant feeling of joy. There is a rather curious thing that I forgot to tell you which happened about six months before I started to make my illuminated drawings and was still working in black. A medium present at a gathering I attended said to me, “You are going towards the light” and to “leave the dark side, for your evolution, to make only in the light.” I said “This is impossible because we will not see anything.” Six months later, I had the manifestation – ‘Planetary Incarnation’
I always try the same rhythm of curves and these curves end by crossing each other like in The Sidereal Enigma shown here and I believe this interpenetration of curves is born from rhythms and the subjects appearing gradually, like a snapshot as in Towards Altitude.
Toquet – Is your drawing continuous? Do you take one corner or another!
Maluc. – No, not at all.
Le President – Are you looking at your painting?
Maluc – At first, no, because in the beginning I simply let inspiration act, when it starts to appear, I put the drawing up at the window and at this moment, I have a frame of light. Initially, when I started to do these drawings, the paper surface did not withstand the razor blade; it happened that I couldn’t go any further: so, I took my drawings and glued them to a support of a weft of the paper and I was able to go a lot further because the material that remained on the paper was fixed.
М. X – You told us at the beginning that you had communications with discarnate beings. Do you never establish a relationship between your automatic drawings and the personal disembodied persons?
Maluc – No, I never got an answer. Or at least, I was told that I did not have to know it, that I do my drawings and that it is clear that I do not need to take care of the rest.
Le President – How long does it take to execute a drawing?
Maluc – up to 25 hours. When I start a drawing, I am entranced and will break after 4 hours. I do not know if you’ve ever tried to scrape paper. It’s hard. I hold the blade so tight for two hours, I no longer feel the end of my fingers, but do not cut myself.
M. X … – Do you ever give up on the drawings?
Maluc – Never. Never. Since that time, I have never had bad influences. I usually do this on Sunday. During the week I’m more down to earth.
М. Х … Do you never use a compass? I am a designer and I find the perfection of these circles astonishing.
Maluc. – No never; it is never drawn in advance: it starts with a single throw, always with the blade. Although being a decorator, I would be incapable, in the normal state, of making a drawing like that without composing it.
I started this one, Adoration, on Christmas Day. It can be read from left to right and top to bottom and below is another very different one, it was done about 6 months ago called “Reunion’. What is rather curious is that these elements or kinds of shapes are connected, but there is no interpretation.
M. X – It is rather cosmic; there are kinds of wings of butterflies which represent a primitive form of nature.
Dr Larcher, – There is always a figural element in these compositions. It is symbolic but there is always a figurative element. In some, the figurative element moves from the scale of human figuration to microscopic scale, for example, like cell designs? In some of the drawings we see chromosomes that we find in historical drawings.
le President – they are like diatoms …
Maluc – it remains dynamic and not static, it is always in motion. In all these drawings, we can continue the mural as if it were a slice of space … a window on the world. It is never a closed world. The form is always the same at the start but it leads to very different things, it’s the rhythm that starts and it always remains harmonic. The difficulty that I have is to stay neutral!
Here is a drawing which represents just this kind of force-thought that the faithful can have in a church. What I am saying may not be reality but it is like an electric force, these forces of thought which rise in the presence of Christ as a kind of thought form like an electric lamp, To achieve these finishes, at some point I say to myself: “Where am I going? Will the drawing disappear?
Warcollier – That never happens?
Maluc – Never…. There is the purity of the depth which is the same depth throughout the curve. The problem arises not only on the surface of the paper but in the area of depth. I believe that at this point, my technical mind can intervene; and most certainly helps me a lot.
Warcollier. – In my opinion. There are, in these magnificent works, two very different factors. There is, on the one hand, the factor of mediumistic automatism that one meets very often in many cases and that has no artistic worth. I’m going to pass a sample. Here is a notebook made by a medium who does not know how to draw. This is what automatic drawing offers to such a subject. There’s not any evolution at all, it’s still just as ugly. But they have the same elements as in M. Maluc’s drawings, these spirals, these drawings of feathers.
On the other hand, in my opinion, there is the fact that Mr. Maluc knows perfectly well how to draw, that he is an artist and architect and it is, in some way that it is the combination of these two factors which produces this extraordinary technique of micro bas-relief, the use of light by transparency.
I personally believe that Mr. Maluc’s drawings are no less similar to mediumistic drawings than to the drawings of the musicalist painters. Indeed, in 1939, we were lucky to have in Paris Madame Henriette Reiss who is a Swiss musicalist painter in the genre of Blanc-Catti. She also had mediumistic gifts and premonitions. Listening to music, Reiss draws pictures and this does not surprise me at all because even I, who is not gifted musically or in drawing, experienced the same thing. Whilst listening to very loud music such as Berlioz, in a hall, at the Colonne Concerts, I could see before my eyes wandering swirls and corresponding forms giving rise to the tones I heard. Reiss, listening to Léonore’s Overture or the symphony of Tchaikovsky or especially the Passion according to Saint Mathieu, presented drawings with a striking analogy to those. Having said that, I believe that the fact that Mr. Maluc (although he did not say so in his lecture) often listens to music while doing his drawings which must play a role. He is a musician himself, from a family of musicians, he has a formidable inheritance both in drawing and in music that I believe can play a role. I will ask you if, while listening to Bach, you have drawn any of these works and if by chance they would come close to the drawings of Madame Henriette Reis?
Maluc – Music helps me work, but it doesn’t influence anything. The subject remains what it should be. Music is exciting, it brings a supersensitivity, it frees me more, but I can work without music. I put on some music that keeps me from thinking about things that might get in the way. It is used to clear my mind, to make emptiness.
M. X – If you worked while listening to a Nuit sur le Mont-Chauve is there not an influence?
Maluc – I once had an experience with the French composer, Henri Sauguet where he positioned himself at the piano to work on a series of music and I let my hand go. It gave me some quite extraordinary results, but very different and much more confined to being painted from an inspirational point of view. It was curious, there was a vibration, but the elements were not soaring like in my last drawings. Ultimately, music is more of a help than an end for me as a stimulant. I can very easily do without it, but if I draw with music, I am less tired.
M. B – I visited an exhibition of mediumistic drawings in Brantóme made by Desmoulin. These drawings seemed to me quite curious because they seemed made by a kind of circular movement; that all the designs appear to be in a whirlwind fashion. Desmoulin has spoken quite often of the effect of this natural movement; very often it is the hair that draws a curve, very long hair which envelops the whole figure. These designs seem to come out of a curve, at full speed and Desmoulin involuntarily accentuates his drawing at some points. Little by little, in a force making whirlpools, a figure emerges. I wondered, seeing some of your drawings, if you did not have the same impulse. In many of your drawings there is this circular element.
Maluc – It always starts with curves.
M. B – I do not know if this circular movement is a characteristic of automatic drawing but, with Desmoulin, it is very clear.
le President – I have found this in all automatic drawings.
Maluc. – this perhaps responds to the waves that surround us.
М. Х … What is your opinion of the origin of the drawings? Do they come from you or from a
Maluc. – Certainly from an outside influence.
le President – Extraterrestrial?
Maluc – At one point these influences were multiple, good some day and very bad the next day until the day, but my production allowed me to have an extraordinary influence in full safety.
Tocquet – Do you have a feeling of this security – does it correspond to the Guardian Angels?
Maluc – Yes, when I make light drawings I experience great joy.
M. M …. Have you had the opportunity to notice any differences according to your physical condition, before and after?
Maluc – Not before, but I lack calcium and vitamins afterwards.
Dr Larcher. – We can pose the psycho-chemical problem of influences. You say you stuff yourself with vitamins and calcium. It would be quite interesting to write down what you have taken before. It would be interesting to see if some psycho chemicals could help release it, by taking a tablet before.
le President – This problem with automatic drawings reminds me of a meeting, in Paris, at the Institute, with an Italian, a man of letters, M. Morochini, who was far from having your inspiration, and technically falls in the domain of symbolism, has brought us things that are overtly interesting. His technique was a technique made of extra-sensory perceptions. In an envelope, we put an idea, we put verses, for example, or a drawing of the planet Mars; and he himself, in a series of experiments, had arrived, in looking at it, to make drawings that symbolized things by a picture. He succeeded in grouping a kind of semantic of the families of spiritual forces. The sign of the planet Mars was the sign of iron or the sign of strength. It was very interesting and, in my opinion, it posed the problem of what could have been in the beginning of great civilizations, cosmogenesis,
We are Cartesians, essentially rationalist and we live with an analytical tool that results in the physical laws, but we can ask ourselves, when we see what we call a revelation, all these cosmogenesis, as people were working in tracing signs on tables, if we haven’t made contact
with a symbolism that was not only based on analogies but on extra-sensory perceptions. It may be that astrology, in its calculations, or an exact science, if it exists, and we can ask if at first it did not have direct communications.
There is an important way of thinking because it was the crucible of current spiritualism which is the basis of all the religions where there was a kind of relationship and direct contact, as you have seen. I also think this raises another very interesting problem that I have the opportunity to develop here, namely that in the unconscious there are not only lower forms, lower animal forms, that obviously we can consider that the real is not the opposite, but a part of the imaginary and that, in this imaginary there are forces of infra-consciousness, of para-consciousness and of supra-consciousness
Freudian psychologists lingered on these forms adding archetypes to it, they had felt a certain purity. You are in contact with the supra-consciousness, and there is something there,
something which is due to a certain obligation, a certain forgetting of oneself. You could be pitted against a man whose fate is quite tragic such as Picasso. Those who saw the film saw that Picasso, at the beginning, was drawing with astonishing finesse. We could see very well those curves that you were talking about and arriving at these designs. But no,he must destroy, in spite of himself, he is obliged to destroy, that’s all – a curious fact.
Maluc – this is what I had initially – the reverse process.
le President – I feel like you are raising all the problems of the conscious.
Maluc – For Picasso, there is a question of interest. In a thing like that, you have to avoid getting involved. It must be done for a pure ideal, without expecting anything from it. Now, Picasso has, in his personality, a kind of preoccupation perhaps with publicity. If his name is universally known, he only catches the wrong forms. materiality intervenes and that they incite him to destroy the work at the outset.
le President – I do not know if you have seen this painting of the “Blue period”: the Virgin and the Child … There was also an Archangel. All this is so important that we can already, without a prior idea, try to see what this can represent, perhaps already the divine plan, a world of the supra-consciousness.
Pierre Maluc: Mediumistic Drawings was originally published in French. This translation to English was completed by mediumistic.com in February 2022