from Guy Debord

To Constant
Tuesday 22 September [19]59
Dear Constant:

Since my last letter,[1] concerning which I still have not yet received a responde (nor Oudejans's photos), I saw [Pinot] Gallizio, who was travelling alone for several days in Paris.

According to what he told me -- I estimate it extremely urgent that the 2d issue of Potlatch carries the attack that we have launched against neo-COBRA and Dutch modern art.[2] Indeed, Pinot informed me that in Venice (at the exhibition of "living art" organized by the industrialist Marinotti[3] and Sandberg[4]), everything was devoted to Appel,[5] who presented some constructions -- with fabric -- entitled "ambiences," even "situation[s]."

In itself, the fact that we are thus detourned by ridiculous external enemies isn't dangerous -- in any case, much less dangerous than if such detournement was brought off by situationists. But it appears that [Asger] Jorn is troubled by Sandberg's manoeuvres, which -- by any means -- position his Dutch artists as the leaders of modern art. Jorn is even worried about our Amstredam exhibition [at the Stedelijk]. I immediately reassured Pinot by telling him that you and I had arrived at analogous conclusions concerning Sandberg's game, and that our very severe attack will very shortly appear in Potlatch #2. Which means that we will only construct the Amsterdam exposition in complete freedom and according to our plans, with the help of Sandberg but against his ideas. I have also said that this way, with a light heart, we risk ending the entire Amsterdam affair if Sandberg grieves too much over this attack against him (in my opinion this would only clarify things and reinforce our position).

Thus, I attach the greatest importance to how this question is settled -- if possible in the next 8 days -- by the publication of Potlatch #2 (without photographic illustrations, if need be).

And this all the more because one has heard that it's possible for Pinot to publish a text in the journal Notizie, published by the sinister [Luciano] Pistoi. I told him that this publication wouldn't take place without involving breaks in the SI. He promised to withdraw the text. But it is necessary to be ready for a salutary crisis -- and consequently to have clearly settled the other question in litigation -- especially since it is effectively the solution that we ourselves adopted [at the 2d Conference of the situationists] in Paris.

I write this very quickly, in a Pigalle cafe. I return to editing my film,[6] which will be finished next week. Finally! Then I will apply myself to publishing the [situationists'] journal -- for which I still expect your "urbanist" text and the group photyos by [Har] Oudejans.


[1] Translator: see letter dated 16 September 1959.

[2] Translator: "The friends of COBRA and what they represent," Internationale Situationniste #2, December 1958.

[3] Paolo Marinotti, an Italian textile magnate.

[4] Translator: Willem Sandberg of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

[5] Karel Appel. [Translator: a painter who co-founded COBRA in 1948.]

[6] Translator: On the Passage of a Few People through a Rather Brief Period of Time.

(Published in Guy Debord, Correspondance, Volume 1, 1957-1960. Footnotes by Alice Debord, except where noted. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! October 2005.)

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