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Lettrist movement papers, 1949-1988

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Biographical/Historical Note

Lettrism was founded in 1945 by Romanian poet Isidore Isou who, with the help of Gabriel Pomerand, distributed leaflets in Paris announcing that letters had superseded words as the avant-garde's preferred medium. In 1946 the first Lettrist manifesto was published. In the same year the first exhibition was held, featuring drawings, paintings and sculptures made of Roman letters. In 1949 Isou published a tract advocating sexual promiscuity, La Mécanique des femmes, for which he was briefly incarcerated, and over the subsequent twenty years, Lettrism's scope included everything from art and literature to film, social mores and electoral politics. Various offshoots of the movement developed, including Lettrism International, formed when Guy Debord broke with Isou; Debord subsequently founded the Situationist International.

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