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Why is this a sub-category of Philosophy and not Art - How can this article be reclassified as an art movement, or (arguably, but not really) literature[edit]

I'm not a hardcore Wikipedia editor -- but isn't the whole point of Wikipedia for people like me to participate?

So I humbly ask -- how did this article get classified as an article that belongs in the philosophy portal? I mean, it is, in the sense that Dadaism or Hip-Hop might be considered to have philosophical underpinnings, but Lettrism was an art and poetry movement. It is a significant one, if obscure to the mainstream.

I'd love it if modern 21st century philosophy had a broad enough scope embrace to encompass such movements enthusiastically, but I think the more knowledgeable and sympathetic editors would be likely to find it if were classified under art (preferably, and more accurately) or poetry, not philosophy. It is not really a philosophical movement, except insofar as it had ideological positions (avant garde ones with no true relationship to formal philosophy, but a strong relationship to various manifestos of art movements)

As a largely occasional hit-and-run editor (often copy edits) I honestly don't know how to start the process of reclassifying it. Can someone help me?

I do respect the community that makes Wikipedia, but I believe the mission has always been to include casual editors such as me. I'd appreciate help from those who are more experienced here.

BTW, as you might guess from the name, they did a lot stuff centered around the generation and manipulation of textual material, but also did notable protest performances (not going to look it up right now, but gained serious media and legal notoriety for an offensive performance in a French cathedral). However, they can't truly be considered a significant literary movement - they belong to the world of art.

Thanks. StrangeAttractor (talk) 04:53, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

There is perhaps a misunderstanding of the purpose of Wikiprojects here. Wikiproject are groups of editors who want to collaborate on articles in a particular field. The Wikiproject Philosophy banner at the top of the talk page simply reflects that an editor thought this article might be of interest to the Aesthetics task force in Wikiproject Philosophy. But it doesn't imply any particular classification. If an art Wikiproject wanted to add their banner they could certainly do so.
Classification at WP is done mostly with categories. One can see that this article is placed in the "Lettrism" and "Situationist International" categories. The Lettrism category, at Category:Lettrism, is itself in the Modern Art category. Hope this helps, --Mark viking (talk) 05:58, 17 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Mark viking for the response. For many years, I've been an occasional editor of Wikipedia, but I've never been an truly active member of the community of editors. So, a long-time participant in editing, but not in the community, and so there are a lot things about Wikipedia on an organizational level that I don't know. Perhaps someday, but many of us are just users of Wikipedia who occasionally take issue with something on the talk page or (often in my case) choose to do a little copy-editing to clean something up. I appreciate that you took the time to explain this to me, and others who might have wondered. StrangeAttractor (talk) 05:50, 15 February 2017 (UTC)

um, there's this thing called Google[edit]

Google search: Lettrism

The above link leads to a lot of references to Lettrism... granted these may not have been available in 2004, when many perplexed editors were commenting below.

It's a significant (historically, if not productively) French artistic movement of the mid-20th century... main influence was in inspiring the Situationist International (which in turn influenced Fluxus, and Punk Rock, among other movements.

Comments below seem to be looking for an ideology... I would venture that there probably isn't one to find. It was a late 1950s anti-establishment, nihilistic movement in the spirit of the Dadaists. Really a group of precocious teenagers (or young adults, anyway), seeking to piss off the middle-class, bourgeois society they emerged from, without a lot of thought about "what we stand for" but instead a lot of thought about "what we stand against." Again, think Dadaism.

But they basically revived Dadaism in the post-WWII era... a good English-language reference would be Greil Marcus's Lipstick Traces.

But trust me, they are worthy of a Wikipedia entry, even among such notable, historically significant entries as Leeroy Jenkins and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

(Just remember, kids... just because it isn't documented on the internet doesn't mean it didn't happen...)

StrangeAttractor (talk) 05:58, 12 June 2010 (UTC)

article doesn't explain[edit]

The article doesn't really explain what Lettrism is. RickK 04:32, 19 Feb 2004 (UTC)

It's because it isn't really anything. After reading a some stuff on the web I still couldn't figure out what it was. I think it's just an artistic style, like Art Deco, Impressionism, Realism, etc... Except this one seems to encompass sound and visual arts. dave 06:50, Feb 19, 2004 (UTC)
Then write that it "isn't really anything" so people aren't still in the dark after they read the article. (talk) 06:52, 18 November 2011 (UTC)


Letterism seems to be another name for this movement, see Wikipedia:Votes for deletion/Letterism, Letterism.

Which should redirect to which? On the VfD subpage referred to above, it's suggested that based on Google Letterism may be the more common title among laypeople, and Lettrism among experts.

Assuming both have significant usage, IMO it doesn't matter which is the article title, and which the redirect. Andrewa 19:56, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)

It's a bit complicated. "Letterism" is the term that the French lettristes themselves prefer. But then, the first time (as far as I know) that the term was translated into English, by Eugène Jolas in 1947/8, he rendered it as "lettrism". So, being the originator of the English term, one could make a case for him as the proprietor of that term. In the (admittedly, pretty scant) material that has been written on the movement, neither spelling seems to dominate. My own feeling, despite having personally first come to them through Jolas and, to this day, still thinking of them as lettrists, is that we should probably give them an official title of "letterists" (with all appropriate redirects). I should, in any case, take this opportunity to give fair warning that I intend to make a major overhaul to this page, and perhaps a few of the other associated pages. I've already been doing big things to the Lettrist International page (which might, itself, need to be renamed -- at least for the sake of consistency). But it's going to be a big project, to edit this page in such a way as might do justice to the movement in question, so it's likely to take a while for me to build up to it. And hence plenty of time for any interested parties to offer their views first. (Though, frankly, I don't suppose many people are watching this at all!) Hce1132 00:41, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

What Is Lettrism?[edit]

Read the Article and Still DONT KNOW! Get TO THE POINT!

Minor edit[edit]

I deleted three of the external links that were listed at the bottom of the page because they resulted in "Page Not Found" errors.

major overhaul[edit]

I've just added a colossal amount of information. I might come back to it another time, and stick in a couple more details; and I do feel that the spelling ought to be changed in the title (from 'lettrism' to 'letterism'): but I reckon I've done more than enough for one day. I took out a lot of what was there before, simply because it was made redundant by the fuller account of the same issues that I was adding. For the most part, I do not anticipate that these deletions will prove contentious (I certainly hope that they won't). But there are a couple of specific things I removed which I should probably highlight here:

The film Irma Vep contains a sequence that evokes the Lettrist aesthetic.

Is this true? I cannot find any confirmation for this claim at all. I haven't seen the sequence in question: is it genuinely letterist-inspired, or is it, for instance, situationist-inspired? In any case, given that (a) the letterists themselves haven't, as far as I know, responded to this film, and (b) the film-makers haven't said enough about a link with letterism for this to have made it onto the internet (the only suggestions I can find on the web of the film's connection with letterism originate from this very wikipedia article), it doesn't really strike me as the sort of thing that's even worth mentioning.

The New Lettrist International was in spired by the Lettrist International, but also drew on the hurufi movement (Arabic حروفية hurufiyya, adjective form hurufi literally means letters of the alphabet).

The so-called New Lettrist International is just one of Stewart Home's whimsies, and not even one of his more interesting ones. It might just conceivably be worth a mention in the Letterist International article, at least for the sake of pointing out that there's no real link between those two groups: but I really cannot see that it's worth mentioning here. Even according to this statement itself, it drew inspiration from the Letterist International -- but this article isn't about them. Hce1132 11:53, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

I do not understand why you say that the New Lettrist International was just one of Stewart Home's whimsies. You contributions have signi Please elaborate. The relation to the hurufi clearly has some substance, though whether Isoru in Roumania was influenced by this tendency, whether or not through cabalism or the Sabbatai Zevi is clearly another matter? However as it stand the article does not clearly capture the messianism which Isou intrioduced to Lettrism. Zevi clearly had a major impact messianism in the balkans, and the crossover with thehurufi has not adequately been looked at. To dismiss this as whimsy is the height of folly.Harrypotter 18:55, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Okay, the word 'whimsy' was kind of cheap, and I'm happy to withdraw it. But Stewart Home does seem to be the driving force behind this organisation: and yet, as far as I can tell, it isn't terribly high among even his concerns. The hurufi relation you mention seems to be limited to the New Lettrist International: to the best of my recollection, I've never seen it so much as mentioned in the context of either Letterism or the Letterist International. So, while it may well merit a proper exploration in the New Lettrist International article, I can't see that it's relevant in an article on Letterism. (Also, there could be a danger of getting into the realms of 'original research'). As for the New Lettrist International itself, I would be really rather surprised if anyone involved in Letterism has even heard of it. True, there is a certain (one way) relation of influence there, but (a) that influence isn't even direct, but instead goes via the Letterist International, and (b) we'd be here all day if we were to discuss everyone who has drawn something from the Letterists over the years. The point of wikipedia is surely not to throw in absolutely everything that might have some vague, tangential connection with a topic, but to select the important stuff. Personally, I do rather like Stewart Home, and I don't have a problem with the New Lettrist International: I just think it's irrelevant to this particular article, and should be discussed elsewhere instead. On the messianism point, though, I agree that it might be worth a sentence or two here, and perhaps a somewhat fuller discussion in the article on Isou himself. The natural source for such a discussion would be his L'agrégation d'un nom et d'un messie. For your information, Sabbataï Zwi (sic) does get a couple of mentions there (pp. 355-56), but doesn't seem to have had a major impact. Hce1132 20:02, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the reference to Zevi in L'agrégation d'un nom et d'un messie - I'll look it up when I get the chance. I appreciate the problem you point of the damger of getting into original research and other dangerous innovations.Harrypotter 16:47, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Meanwhile Shahzad bashir states in Fazlallah Astrarabadi and the Hurufis that "[Fazlallah] was also especially concerned with the human capacity for language, spoken as well as written. This emphasis is reflected in the fact that his followers came to be known as "Hurufis", a term that translates as "letterists" and implies people obsesssed wuth the alphabet." Incidently Fazlallah was well known in the Balkans (but I've found no reference to Roumania) and many of the Hurufi got involved with the Bektashi order which also attracted many Zevi-ites. What do you think?Harrypotter 13:16, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Aside from a mere terminological coincidence, I can't see what this has to do with the topic of the present article. To the best of my knowledge, Isou and the other members of his group have never once mentioned Hurufism. Even if it was, as you suggest, well known in the Balkans, one would presume that this would be limited to Muslim circles. If anything, one would expect the Jewish Isou to have been more likely influenced by Cabbala: but even that doesn't seem to have been the case. Anyway, the status accorded to letters, and the use that was made of them, was wholly different in the two cases. In Cabbala/Hurufi (as I understand it -- I must admit I don't know very much about the latter), they are being treated as laden with mystical signification; whereas, in Letterism, they are treated as purely formal materials, devoid of all meaning. Hce1132 18:28, 26 January 2007 (UTC)

Similar thoughts had also entertained themsleves in my mind - however they were joined by other thoughts. Ley me separate two issues:

a)The Bektashi Sufi order became a refuge for various persecuted politico-religious groups including both the Hurufi and the Zevi-ites, the Zevi-ites encompassing both Jews and Muslims. Both these groups were Messianic - a feature that Isou embude Lettrism with. Obviously the question of the Cabbala arises, and I would agree that does not seem to be the case. But also as the Cabbala was well kwon in Paris, Lettrism would have quickly been implicated with it there.
As the term "Letterist" has been used in English as much as a translation from Lettrist as Hurufi. Also Asger Jorn states in "Originality and Magnitude (on Isou's System)":
Woodcut from from Articuli centum et sexaginta adversus huius tempestatis mathematicos atque philosophos, Prague 1588
"In the same way as the rich ‘lettrist’ researches (in the common sense of the word) of manuscripts from the end of the middle ages have been eliminated by printing (quantitative distribution of writing through the elimination of variations), so the lucky find, by the renaissance, of the central perspective has radically finished Christian art, of which the variables were eliminated by this organisation-type of Christian space."
which gives us a referenced common sense us of the word as distinct from the lettrist movement instigated by Isou. Perhaps this should mean that there shold be a separate page for this with links to the Hurufis and the Lettrist movement as distinct phenomena. Would this be a more suitable solution? (the wood block I have used to illustrate this was done by Giordano Bruno himself and according to Fraces Yates had as little application to teh argument of text in the original edition as they do to this argument.Harrypotter 12:41, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

This prompted me to have a look at what the OED has to say about the word. There is indeed an entry for it, in the 'lettrism' spelling, but the definition and examples of use refer, without exception, to Isou's group. (The first example of use is actually from a Time article of 2 Dec. 1946, preceding the Jolas article by more than a year -- that was news to me). It doesn't list any secondary usage for the term at all. I don't possess a complete enough French dictionary to know whether Jorn's 'common sense of the word' was indeed common in that language (the word in question, of course, having been 'lettriste' in the original French). But I can't see any good reason why there shouldn't be a note at the start of the present article along the lines of 'This article is about the French avant-garde movement: for letterism in Islam, see Hurufi', or something like that. But anything implying a connection between the two things would be getting us even further into 'original research' than this discussion already has. Incidentally, regarding those woodcuts, one thing that Yates does say about them is that the curly worm 'may be intended to represent "links" with demons' (p. 324) -- the mind boggles! Hce1132 14:16, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

I found THE INTERPRETATION OF SCRIPTURE which says: "Rabbi Akiba, in the first century A.D., eventually extended this to maintain that every repetition, figure of speech, parallelism, synonym, word, letter, and even the shapes of the letters had hidden meanings. This letterism (undue focus on the letters from which the words of Scripture were composed) was often carried to such an extent that the author's intended meaning was overlooked and fantastic speculation introduced in its place" quoting from Henry Virkler's Hermeneutics. To add to the confusion, Thomas Constable uses the term to mean wooden literalism in [ Notes on Ezekiel], an undertsanding shared on belief Net"Letterism, that is interpretation of scripture applying literal interpretation to the very letter regardless of context given and language, also leads the false teaching of transubstantiation found in Catholicism." Slightly different is Hermenutics - "Another approach to interpretation is letterism. While often ignoring context, historical and cultural setting, and even grammatical structure, letterism takes each word as an isolated truth. A problem with this method is that it fails to take into account the different literary genre, or types, in the Bible. The Hebrew poetry of the Psalms is not to be interpreted in the same way as is the logical discourse of Romans. Letterism tends to lead to legalism because of its inability to distinguish between literary types. All passages tend to become equally binding on current believers." At Eight Interpretive Approaches to Scripture we read this distinction: "Literalism does not negate the idea of there being comparatives used in scripture to enhance the literal teaching. However, it must be understood that comparatives enhance the literal truth of the passage; they do not expel it. ‘Literalism’ is not to be confused with ‘letterism.’ ‘Letterism’ is the idea that there are no spiritual teachings in the Scriptures. Literalism does not understand that God has wings like a bird (Psalm 36:7), that Christ is an actual lamb (John 1:29). That’s ‘letterism.’" Bernard Ramm also touches on this in his Protestant Biblical Interpretation: A Textbook of Hermeneutics, 3rd revised edition, Baker Book House, 1970, as quoted on Systematic Theology is the Hermeneutic leading me to the view that this use of the term also warrants mention as it has quite widesread use amongst Xtians.Harrypotter 20:47, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

That is quite interesting. Though I think that "widespread" use would surely be an overstatement. The fact that it hasn't made its way into the OED surely says a lot; and the pages you list ultimately seem to rest on only a couple of reputable published sources, the Virkler and the Ramm. I had a go at googling for letterist hermeneutics, letterist exegesis, and that sort of thing, and I only got a handful of hits, half of which were about Isou's lot anyway. So I can't really see that it's sufficiently notable for an article of its own. It is, after all, just one of several approaches within the wider discipline of hermeneutics. But, as such, it might be worth discussing it in the Hermeneutics article (which seems to need quite a bit of work anyway). And then (but only then) maybe adding a disambiguation note to this article, linking to that one. Hce1132 21:39, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

New Lettrist International[edit]

Rather than simply removing this, I figured I might as well highlight it here first. Someone has anonymously added a claim that the New Lettrist International has "some personal connections with the Lettrist International." What, pray, is the basis for this claim? Can we please have a cited source for it; or at the very least some hint as to which person in particular is supposed to be providing such a connection. Most of the members of the Letterist International, and all of the central ones, were dead long before this new group was ever established (to the extent that it has actually been established). On a wider point, I have to say that I'm finding it increasingly bewildering that people consistently seem to be using this discussion page, and the article itself, to discuss everything but the topic of the present article. There are already existing articles on the topics that seem to interest people more, so, unless some connection can actually be demonstrated, there's really no need to bring them here. Hce1132 22:49, 30 January 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the claim highlighted here seems highly likely and should be removed unless a sourced reference can be made. Likewise a simple reference to the NLI should suffice and the xtra material should be removed. Thinking about the Jorn reference, it seems he may well have been referring to the producers of illuminated manuscripts and his introduction of this into his text may have been a whimsy. I have tried googling enluminure with various combinations of lett*** with no results. Also the word Letterist is often used a an alternative to Letterer in the comic world. Perhaps a short sentence at the beginning with links to the Hurufi, theological and comic uses of theassociated terms might be useful in enabling people to find the page they are interested in if they have stumbled on this page by mistake.Harrypotter 16:40, 1 February 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I'm going to remove the following, for the reasons set out below:

"[The New Lettrist International] is aparently mostly based on some personal connections with the later Situationist International, notably between Ralph Rumney and Stewart Home (eg Festival of Plagiarism ). The greatest area of common interest is superficially that of psychogeography, again an area that associates both Rumney and Home as well as many of the NLI, whose participants include London Psychogeographical Association, Neoist Alliance and the Association of Autonomous Astronauts."

Given that (a) there are already wikipedia articles on the New Lettrist International, the Situationists, Ralph Rumney, Stewart Home (incorporating material on the Neoist Alliance), psychogeography, the London Psychogeographical Association, and the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, and (b) a single link to the New Lettrist International page will enable the reader to find the relevant places, it seems unnecessary to duplicate that material here. Unless it is directly relevant to the present article, its inclusion here will not merely add unnecessarily to its length, but, more seriously, will serve to give the non-expert reader a seriously distorted impression of the concerns and connections of the original Letterist group. But the fact is that it simply is not relevant. Ralph Rumney was never part of the Letterist group. He was not part of the Letterist International either. And, as far as I know, he was not even part of the New Lettrist International. His interactions with one of its members, Stewart Home, are not sufficient to demonstrate that he was involved with this particular aspect of Home's work (and "apparently mostly based" is not a useful phrase: it is, I believe, an example of what wikipedia calls "weasel words"). He was, it is true, once involved with Guy Debord, who had briefly been a member of Isou's group: but he was only involved with him for a period of about nine months in 1957–58, long after Debord had broken off all ties with that group (ties which he'd only held for about a year or so anyway). He was also involved more intimately and enduringly with Michèle Bernstein: but she, notwithstanding her participation with the Letterist International, had never been part of Isou's group at all -- the latter being the topic of the present article. All in all, the situation seems to be that one of the members of the New Lettrist International had some vague association with one of the members of the Situationist International, who was thereby associated in turn with some people who had formerly been members of the Letterist International, a group which had ultimately originated as a splinter-group from the Letterists. Four degrees of separation is not my idea of relevance. Besides which, why are we talking about psychogeography here? Yes, of course it was an interest that linked Rumney and Home: but it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the original Letterist group. In my opinion, it's entirely right and proper that we should be mentioning things like the Letterist International, and other groups that sprang directly from the Letterists -- though a full discussion of their respective projects belongs in their own proper articles -- and that even the Situationist International deserves some mention in connection with the fact that they and the Letterists had a member in common but were bitterly opposed to one another. But this New Lettrist International stuff is just at too many removes to warrant any more than the briefest of mentions, and even there the sort of mention it should be getting is one that is deliberately designed to downplay their connection: because, again, the non-expert reader (and experts, after all, have no need to come here) will otherwise get a seriously distorted impression of what was actually going on. Hce1132 11:06, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I think the above is very aposite. I have also changed the letterist page so it disambiguates between lettrism, hurufism and letterers.Harrypotter 18:41, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

all that maybe true if this article was about the Lettrist Movement or about the Lettrist Dictatorship or about Isouism. It is not. It is about Lettrism. Was the attack on the Charlie Chaplin press-conference orchestrated by Lettrists practicing Lettrism? yes. Was the attack on the Notre Dame Cathedral orchestrated by Lettrists practicing Lettrism? yes. Was the Lettrist International a Lettrist organisation? yes. Is Psychogeography an innovation of those very Lettrists? yes. all this is a matter of record, whatever your "idea of relevance" is or isn't. Were these techniques the application of those techniques perfected by the Lettrists in their cinema and then applied into other fields of activity, in precicely those forms that would later become reffered to as Situations as opposed to art-house 'Happenings'? that maybe a question for "experts" - wot u may call "original research" . however, the writing of encyclopeadea entries is also a matter for experts, albeit the co-ellaborated expertise of the wiki web world.

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:18, 15 February 2007 (UTC).

Strictly speaking, the participants at the Chaplin press conference were (already) the Letterist International; while the Notre Dame scandal was created in the name of the Front de la Jeunesse. Though both were clearly related to Letterism, which is why they're both mentioned in the article. But I take your point. It's certainly very true that the Letterist International would sometimes identify themselves as 'Letterists' tout court (though, given the reciprocal animosity between the two groups, it does seem like a good idea to give them separate articles, with all appropriate references back and forth; and, although all terminological distinctions are bound to be mildly artificial, the present one does seem the most natural and the best supported by the literature at large). Have the New Lettrist International ever called themselves simply 'Letterists' (or 'Lettrists'), I wonder, or identified their activities as 'Letterist' tout court? In any case, I think I've said all that I have to say on this: I'd be interested to hear the views of other people. Hce1132 09:43, 15 February 2007 (UTC)

The first debate I attended was on anarchism. Shinsetsu O-Tearai from Japan, opened this with scorching attack on Johnnie Moore's Anarchy and Ecstasy. She quoted chapter and verse from Ei-sai's The Protection of the State by the Propagation of Zen and mocked anarchism as an intellectually unstimulating doctrine secreted by the European enlightenment. She then propounded Do-gen's theory of The Sutra Equal in Size to the Whole World concerning a 'text' which was written with characters drawn from heaven, from man and the beasts, and from the vegetable world. This she compared to John Toland's theory of seeds within matter, and William Blake's injunction "to see the world in a grain of sand". She concluded that only Lettrism can reconcile the finest fruits of East and West. Report of the First Congress of the New Lettrist International. See also the comments about the War of the Insane.Harrypotter 15:21, 17 February 2007 (UTC)

A compromise[edit]

One cannot, I suppose, please everyone: but one can at least try to make a start. To that end, I've created a self-contained 'Offshoots and Influences' section, where material can go which deals with the various offshoots of the Letterist group or with the individuals and groups that have drawn inspiration from it. Having found one (single, solitary) page which does provide at least some vague support for that Irma Vep link I was querying, I've even restored that. Hce1132 21:59, 20 February 2007 (UTC)


If this is an article about an art movement, there should be pictures accompanying it. This isn't really my area of specialty, but this sounds kind of like Surrealist automatism. Or at least it has the same degree of ridiculous technical terms. Lithoderm (talk) 21:15, 6 October 2008 (UTC)

Mike Rose[edit]

Someone has added the claim that Mike Rose "became a member" of the group in 1972. There is nothing to substantiate this claim in any published Letterist works that I have seen (and I have seen quite a few), nor is he listed on the official Letterist website. Googling for 'Mike Rose' and 'Lettrisme' or 'Lettriste' only turns up about a dozen hits, and most of those are to other Wikipedia articles anyway. It is true that Anne-Catherine Caron mentions him as having been "close to the Letterists at a certain time": but that's about it as far as solid, citable evidence goes, and it doesn't equate to his being in any sense a "member" of the group. I would propose keeping the reference, but relegating it to the section on people who have been influenced by the Letterists. Hce1132 (talk) 20:34, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

I had never heard of him, either, frankly. Your suggestion makes sense to me, certainly in the absence of any compelling evidence. ---RepublicanJacobiteThe'FortyFive' 00:03, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

I do not want to discuss the meaning of being a member. But fact is Mike Rose became in the period of 70-80 part of them. " In 1972 Mike Rose, a German painter, set designer, and writer made acquaintance with the Lettrists and became part of them. He participated in their exhibitions until the 1980s." If you do not know Mike Rose, this does not mean that during this period he was not - what he was. With respect, as I know, not everything can be found via google. Fact is, he made acqaintance with the members of the group. He participated as a member in common exhibitions until the 80s. He was already working with letters and signs before being connected to the group. And he followed after the 80s his own way. So if you would like to know more about him and his work, i would be glad to answer your questions. I can tell you this: the first meeting was in a café parisien, like the cliché. Unfortunately Mike Rose is dead. So he could not tell himself about this period of time. But fortunately we have his books and still the remembrance of his french wife. Heriz (talk) 11:24, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

I subsequently managed to track down a page I'd been looking for earlier, and I see that he is mentioned:
But does everyone named in that list merit discussion within the article? There are over a hundred of them! Surely, we should select the most notable ones. From the figures listed alongside Rose in the entry for 1972, for instance, that would clearly include Caron, but would probably not include a figure like Fauconnier, and would surely not include Van Den Driesche or Villiers. And this suggestion should in no way be thought to denigrate the value or significance of their work in itself, but solely their significance within the history of Letterism. And the proper authorities on the latter ought to be (a) the Letterists themselves, in conjunction with (b) secondary authors who have written about Letterism as such (as opposed to writing about these figures individually, and merely mentioning Letterism along the way). But, if you feel that Rose does have greater significance within Letterism than any of that literature would suggest, and if you can find some appropriate citations to back this up, then why not just add his name to this existing list in the article: "1963 to 1972. Several new members join group, including Roberto Altmann, Roland Sabatier, Alain Satié, Michéline Hachette, Francois Poyet, Gérard-Philippe Broutin, Jean-Paul Curtay, Woody Roehmer." You surely can't be suggesting that Rose is more notable in this context, and deserving of a fuller discussion in this article, than someone like Satié? Hce1132 (talk) 11:59, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

RepublicanJakobite just erased the sentence:" In 1972 Mike Rose, a German painter, set designer, and writer made acquaintance with the Lettrists and became part of them. He participated in their exhibitions until the 1980s." Fact ist that Eugen Gomringer said “He is today fully entitled to be described as ‘the German contribution to Lettrism’”. And in this same publication: "Mike Rose. Bamberg 1959-1979." Katalog zur Ausstellung in der Neuen Residenz, Bamberg. Edition 7&70, Hanau, 1979, ISBN 3-921726-05-0 (120 Abb.), there is a statement of Isidore Isou (p.10-12): "Mike Rose apparait, aujourd`hui, comme le plus grand peintre de l´allemagne de cette dernière après-guerre et comme l´un des plus grands peintres du monde....Le mérite de Mike Rose est d´avoir méprisé toute super cherie justifiée par des différences de langage, d´avoir assumé son état et ses aspirations d´homme ouvert aux possibilités de combat pour un univers meilleur et d´avoir adhéré au mouvement plastique le plus avancé surgi après cette dernière-guerre, au groupe lettriste, hypergraphique, dans le terrain duquel il s´est acharné à effectuer ses propres recherches, ses réalisations spécifiques, son oeuvre personelle. Aujourd´hui il dépasse les peintres de sa nation, autant qu´il appartient au groupe restreint de peintres d´avant-garde, internationaux, qui essaie d´offrir, à partir de la notion de création, une autre vision de leurs possibilités, une autre activité, à nos semblables de cette terre. Devant l´état actuel de nos contemporains, devant la crise économique en général, et artistique en particulier, dont ils sont, en ce moment, plus ou moin coupables, la tache de Mike Rose et de ses camerades lettristes est mise à rude épreuve. Je me demande aujourd´hui, avec angoisse, jusqu´à quel point, chacun de nous trouvera en lui les forces, et autour de lui les chances, pour résister et atteindre notre but, l´implantation d´une forme nouvelle d´art nécessaire, irréversible, ainsi que la constitution d´une socièté plus juste et plus heureuse." A short translation: It is to Mike Rose´s great credit that he has managed to avoid all forms of deception which would have been justified by language differences. It is also to his credit that through doing so he has suceeded in consolidating his own personal stand in the struggle for a better world and that he has associated himself, since the second World War, with the most progressiv of art movements, namely the "Lettristes". In this way he has consistently and determinedly realised his own investigations and his own work. This group of avant-garde painters working from a thought-base of creation, attemps to give fellow human beings a new conception of their own possibilities. If it is so easy to delete 2 sentences, I think it could also be easy to reconsider this step. After rereading the lines of Isdore Isou, i am certain that there is no trespassing by mentioning Mike Rose in the article about Lettrisme. I even think there is a need to mention him, so maybe we, myself - Hce1132 and RepublicanJakobite, can find together a solution. Heriz (talk) 17:19, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm happy to see him mentioned, the only questions are: whereabouts in the article should this reference go, and how extensive should it be? And, on those points, I've already indicated my preference. (By the way, does Gomringer specify the original source of that Isou remark? Not that I doubt its veracity for a moment -- it certainly does sound like Isou! -- I'm just curious). Hce1132 (talk) 17:50, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

The book is indexed in the German National Library. The words from Isidore Isou are in its preamble. By going through the archives we can surely unearth new evidence to go further in the discusion. But before making further enquiries, I would like to mention that it is still a fact that: "In 1972 Mike Rose, a German painter, set designer, and writer made acquaintance with the Lettrists and became part of them. He participated in their exhibitions until the 1980s." As it seems, this can be assent by Hce1132. Isidore Isou is dead. Regrettably we can not ask his advice. He seems to like the way of Mike Rose. And he was rejoiced by the fact - just put it in the context of time - that there was an internationalization. Make the world a better place is only possible with united force. To demonstrate respect for Isidore Isou and Mike Rose, we have to consider the history. I like the way of a precise modus operandi. But I did not comprehend the meaning of " I would propose keeping the reference, but relegating it to the section on people who have been influenced by the Letterists." (Hce1132). Where is this section? And don´t you think that this internationalization (German painter) is worth to be mentioned in the history of the lettrism. Concerning reference, evidence or proof... a german art historian, Dr. Eva Harker, mentioned in 1999: "Als mike rose 1972 den lettristen begegnet, hat er bereits seine eigene form der zeichenbildung gefunden. Der lettrismus, eine nach 1945 in paris entstandene avantgardistische bewegung, zielt sowohl auf künstlerischer als auch auf philosophischer ebene neue bedeutungsdimensionen von buchstaben und zeichen an...." .Heriz (talk) 09:13, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

In answer to your question "Where is this section?", I would simply invite you to look at the article. It's the section where Mike Rose is discussed. Hce1132 (talk) 13:51, 28 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the guideline Hce1132! I would just attach something: that he introduced the Lettrism in Germany. To optimise the statement and the sentence construction, i propose the following: "In 1972 Mike Rose, a German painter, set designer, and writer made acquaintance with the Lettrists and became at thta time part of them. He participated in their exhibitions until the 1980s and introduced the Lettriste movement in Germany." This phrasing seems to me quiet adequate. If we are in agreement on this, i can proceed the editing. Heriz (talk) 09:04, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

I'm not mad keen on "and became at that time part of them". How about "and collaborated with them on some projects"? Otherwise, this sounds fine -- but I'd still suggest leaving it in that same section of the article. Hce1132 (talk) 13:28, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

Hello, im sorry not to talk english so well but it is really interresting to read all this, from France, knowing quite well about Lettrism (having met and worked with Isou, Lemaitre, etc...) Concerning Mike Rose, it is actually quite bizarre to note him as the major accomplishment of Lettrism in all the 70's, while for instance Isou finished writing his major work La Créatique... In fact, he is the german lettrist painter, there might be 2 or 3 autonomous publication on him (which i have for people interested in seing them). he is also important for having organised lettrists exhibition, collective and individuals, like Broutin's one in his Studio Bamberg. He might be seen a bit like the italian Lettrist (Gio Minola)etc.... but he is more of a detail in the developpement of the group, unless you see it from the german point of view. Concerning the key members i think you should add Jacques Spacagna who was member from 1959 to 1972, Roberto Altmann (1962 to 1969) and of course Jean-Louis Brau, from 1949 to 1953 then meeting Wolman again (on which i will curate the first international exhibition in june 2010 at MACBA, Barcelone) in 1959 and 1960 and joigning lettrism again from 1961 to 1964 (year of the split and creation of ephemeral Second Lettrist International), etc... If anyone wants further explanations, you can write me at

I am a relative of his[edit]

very close in fact, My grandmother is his sister.. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:51, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Of Guy Debord or Isidore Isou or any of the other Lettrists? If that's true, please, have your grandmother give her story to a historian of this era... there are many in France, but in the US the one I am most familiar with is Greil Marcus. But any art historian of the 20th century would be interested, and easily found through university websites. These guys were actually really important, and your grandmother's memories should be part of history, if she's willing to share it... StrangeAttractor (talk) 04:59, 10 April 2015 (UTC)

Copyright problem removed[edit]

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Propose rename to "Pretentious assholes".[edit]

Discuss. (talk) 19:38, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Yes, welcome to 20th century art, my young friend. Your comment reminds me of an old politically incorrect joke, as follows. A guy from the hinterlands finds himself in Manhattan for a business convention and makes his way to a nearby bar in Chelsea, and proceeds to get drunk and talkative. "Hey," he says to a random stranger sitting next to him at the bar. "What's with all these homos? You know what I think? They should take them all and put them on an island." "Yeah, so guess what?" says the Chelsea stranger. "You're on it." StrangeAttractor (talk) 04:55, 10 April 2015 (UTC)