Brion Gysin was born in England in 1916. He studied at the Sorbonne and his first exhibition in 1935, was with Picasso, Arp, Bellmer, Brauner, de Chirico, Dali, Duchamp, Max Ernst, Magritte, Miro, Man Ray, Tanguy at Galerie Quatre Chemins, Paris. Later, his drawings were taken down and expelled from the Surrealist Group by Paul Eluard at the orders of André Breton. His journey to the Algerian Sahara in 1938 influenced his work greatly. He was a multifaceted artist whose fertile mind and wide range of original ideas were a source of inspiration for artists of the Beat Generation in Paris, as well as to innovative artists and performers such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Keith Haring, and Laurie Anderson in the next generation.
Painter, writer, sound poet, tape composer, lyricist, and performance artist, Gysin is remembered particularly for his evocative paintings of the North African desert in the 1950s and his original calligraphic abstractions based on Japanese and Arabic scripts.
The chance discovery by Gysin of the cut-up technique (later developed and refined by William S. Burroughs) and the concept of permutated poems gave rise to new and original forms of sound art wordplay, striking not only in print but also in recordings or live performance. Gysin's inventive ideas also extended to the Dreamachine and to collages of text and photographs.
Brion Gysin’s first US retrospective exhibition was held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York in June 2010.
Calligraffiti of Fire