from Guy Debord

To Ralph Rumney[1]
Wednesday [16 January 1957]
Dear Ralph:

Four painters have published in Milan a very short manifesto that, I believe, is entitled “For a New Zone of Images,” and have sent a copy to Asger [Jorn]. It falls to you to make contact, as soon as possible, with Piero Manzoni in Milan[2] – he’s the one who provided his address. Can you see what value they have, and to what degree their apparent agreement with certain of our positions might justify a collective action with them?

If they appear interesting to you, bring them up to date concerning the most serious aspects of our enterprises; for example, the program that we must define in London.[3] Make use of our letter to the Triennale[4] as criteria for the moral comportment of these people by specifying, naturally, that the insults were spread arbitrarily among people whose names we do not even know. Indeed, despite its totally harmless character, this letter made visible the split between the acceptable Italians and the imbeciles who would like to amuse themselves [but] without danger. The Milanese architect Ettore Sottsass, who participated in the Alba Conference, but who didn’t appear to us capable of doing something good with us, wrote to Jorn when he learned of our treatment of the Triennale, and said that he had nothing in common with us “perche un movimento formato da genii come te e I tuoi amici francesi e fuori delle mia misura.”[5]

I also share your opinion concerning the participation of Yves Klein (plastic arts and sound) at Brussels.[6] Is he the creator of the paintings that we saw at Iris Clert’s gallery? And, on the other hand, isn’t he the son of Marie Raymond, whose paintings you must know? If so, I met him often, several years ago. Send him my best wishes.

I await the first translation.[7] I will no doubt send to you in a few days the other text to be translated, which is an explication of psychogeography from within the perspective of dialectical materialism. Since the subject is quite conspicuously delirious, it will be good to justify it with solid, nay, even heavy-handed arguments.

On the other hand, an hypothesis relative to the existence of a strong West-East psychogeographical current, constituted at the level of the Palais-Royal, will be brilliantly verified in the next two days. We could undertake a derive of this region one evening when you return to Paris.


[1] Translator: an English painter (1934-2002) and a future member of the Situationist International.

[2] Translator: street address in Milan deleted.

[3] Translator: a conference on psychogeography scheduled for August 1957. Debord had already written the announcement for it: Annonce d’un Congres provisoire pour la fragmentation psychogeographique de l’agglomération londoninne, published in Guy Debord, Oeuvres, Gallimard, 2006, pp. 274-275.

[4] Translator: Lettre ouverte aux responsables de la Triennale d’art industrial a Milan, dated 1 January 1957, published in Guy Debord, Oeuvres, Gallimard, 2006, pp. 276-277.

[5] Translator: “Because a movement formed of geniuses such as you and your French friends is outside my limits.”

[6] Translator: Taptoe Gallery, 2-26 February 1957.

[7] Lettre ouverte aux responsables de la Triennale d’art industrial a Milan, dated 1 January 1957, published in Guy Debord, Oeuvres, Gallimard, 2006, pp. 276-277.

(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. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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