from Guy Debord

To Piero Simondo
Tuesday, 12 February [1957]
Dear Piero:

Oscar [aka Asger Jorn] has surfaced. I begin my work as copyist. Here are two texts.

1) Card sent from London, 8 February, to my address:

“The avant-garde has reached the London stage. We still await the explication of a break in collaboration that we have esteemed to be good. Asger Jorn, Ralph Rumney.”

You see that the maneuver continues, stupidly directed by Oscar (the card is in his handwriting), and that, at the same time, there’s been a considerable retreat from their first positions: they threatened us with a break since we weren’t at the conference. We were on strike. Now they greatly fear the consequences, and ask us why we want a break. But there’s also in their card a ridiculous hope to make the basis of the problem disappear because Oscar is largely the loser – its an attempt, as one says in French, to “confuse the issue” [“noyer le poisson”].

2) The response that we sent from Paris:

Dear Ralph,

It appears to us extremely improbable that you haven’t received our letter of 4 February, which contained all the explanations necessary for you and for Asger.

If this letter hasn’t reached you, tell us precisely and we will send you a copy.

If you have read this letter, you must understand that your card from London maladroitly tries to cheat on the [basic] elements of the problems.

You must know that:

1) we do not want a break in collaboration with Asger, and still less with you. We only refuse the style, displeasing and ineffective, that Asger has brought to our collaboration these last few weeks.

2) as for explanations, it is you – but principally Asger – who must give them, [and] on the basis of our letter of 4 February: it is useless to simulate surprise or irresponsibility.

By refusing to speak to us on the telephone, Asger caused a relative break. You were warned, and you made a choice.

Now, if you – individually or together – do not provide the explanations that we demand, you will end up with a total and definitive break with us all. This time, again, you have to choose freely. Consider all the consequences well.

Perhaps it would be good if you could type up the text in Alba and sign it: [Giuseppe] Gallizio, Elena [Verrone], [Walter] Olmo and yourself. Because Oscar must not imagine that he can be amiable and excuse himself from us in Paris and can, at the same time, use another tone to maneuver the group in Italy. If you send it back to me here [in Cannes], signed, I could perhaps use it in the coming days, which will see Oscar return to Paris! A beautiful spectacle in view.

Very amicably to you all,

[1] Translator: address in Cannes deleted.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol "0": Septembre 1951 - Juillet 1957: Complete des "lettres retrouvees" et d l'index general des noms cites by Librairie Artheme Fayard, October 2010. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! March 2011.)

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