from Guy Debord

To Paul Destribats[1]
12 June 1988
Dear Sir:

It was only the next day that I located, after twenty-five years of being overlooked, the simple key to all the amusing mysteries that seem to surround the "painting,"[2] a photo of which you showed me yesterday.

I painted, if this word is not a little excessive, as a kind of homage in the Jornian manner of "modified paintings,"[3] my Directive No. 4 on a meter of Gallizio's "industrial painting,"[4] a material that happened to be at J.V. Martin's place. This is why the inscribed letters are white; and, moreover, one distinguishes an obscure "artistic" foundation, different from the simple color of the walls to which I limited myself for other inscriptions, [which were] black. This fact also justifies the different format, an anomaly that made me quite unjustly suspect a fake.

I find confirmation of this explication by re-reading the catalogue, published in 1963 for the "RSG-6" exhibition,[5] [a copy of] which you have. I wrote therein: "The 'directives' exhibited upon empty canvases or on a detourned abstract painting are to be considered like the slogans that one can see written on walls." This detourned painting by Gallizio and the directive written in my handwriting are in sum an authentic synthesis; an excellent example of what Jorn would call a "situationist compromise" and, finally, of what the SI was artistically and otherwise.

Best to you,
Guy Debord

[1] Translator's note: introduced to Debord by Floriana Lebovici.

[2] "Abolition of alienated labor," reproduced in Guy Debord, Oeuvres, Quarto collection, Gallimard, pp. 654-655.

[3] Translator's note: see Asger Jorn's modifications of paintings by other artists.

[4] Translator's note: see Guiseppe Pinot-Gallizio's industrial paintings, produced in 1959.

[5] Translator's note: see Debord's letter to J.V. Martin dated 8 May 1963.

(Published in Guy Debord Correspondance, Vol 7: Janvier 1988-Novembre 1994 by Librairie Artheme Fayard, 2008. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! October 2008. Footnotes by the publisher, except where noted.)

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