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For other uses, see Memoir (disambiguation).

Mmoires (Memories) is an artists book made by the

A page spread in Mmoires

Let the dead bury the dead, and mourn
them.... our fate will be to become the rst living people to enter the new life.
The second section, 'December 1952', quotes Huizinga,
and the third, 'September 1953', quotes Soubise.
The work contains two separate layers. The rst is printed
with black ink, reproducing found text and graphics taken
from newspapers and magazines. The second layer is
printed using coloured inks, splashed across the pages.
These sometimes connect images and text, sometimes
cover them, and sometimes are seemingly unconnected.
The black layer contains fragments of text, maps of Paris
and London, illustrations of siege warfare, cheap reproductions of old masters and questions such as 'How do you
feel about the world at the moment, Sir?' The coloured
layer contains freeoating ink splashes, lines created by a
matchstick loaded in ink, and a Rorschach inkblob.

The sandpaper cover of Mmoires

Danish artist Asger Jorn in collaboration with the French

artist and theorist Guy Debord. Printed in 1959, it is the
second of two collaborative books by the two men whilst
they were both members of the Situationist International.

Psychogeography and dtournement

Other pages deal with more personal themes, including

a cartoon of the rst showing of his lm Hurlements en
Faveur de Sade, with comments for and against, and references to Drive, which would become known as Situationist Drift, the habit of walking aimlessly through a
city in an attempt to nd its spirit. Dtournement ('diversion' or 'disruption') is also employed in the book to disorient the reader by creating startling collaged juxtapositions. Originally deriving from Dada,[2] dtournement
would become a key situationist strategy.

The book is a work of psychogeography, detailing a period in Debords life when he was in the process of leaving the Lettrists, setting up Lettrism International, and
showing his 'rst masterpiece',[1] Hurlements en Faveur
de Sade (Howling In Favour Of Sade), a lm devoid of
imagery that played white when people were talking on
the soundtrack and black during the lengthy silences between.

Credited to Guy-Ernest Debord, with structures portantes

('load-bearing structures) by Asger Jorn, the book con- The last page is an orange swirl, above which reads the
tains 64 pages divided into three sections. The rst sec- single sentence 'I wanted to speak the beautiful language
tion is called 'June 1952', and starts with a quote from of my century.'[3]

Auto-destruction: the sandpaper


The book is most famous for its cover, a dust jacket made
of heavy-grade sandpaper. Usually credited to Debord,
the sleeve was actually conceived in a conversation between Jorn and the printer, V.O. Permild:
[Permild:] Long had [Jorn] asked me, if I
couldnt nd an unconventional material for the
book cover. Preferably some sticky asphalt or
perhaps glass wool. Kiddingly, he wanted, that
by looking at people, you should be able to tell
whether or not they had had the book in their
hands. He acquiesced by my nal suggestion:
sandpaper (int) nr. 2: Fine. Can you imagine
the result when the book lies on a blank polished mahogany table, or when its inserted or
taken out of the bookshelf. It planes shavings
o the neighbours desert goat.[4]

Fin de Copenhague


devices? A new car . . . a motor launch . . . a

light aircraft of your own? Whatever you want,
its coming your way - plus greater leisure for
enjoying it all. With electronics, automation
and nuclear energy, we are entering on the new
Industrial Revolution which will supply our every need, easily . . . quickly . . . cheaply . . .
Other pages include text in French, German, and Danish; illustrations of whisky bottles beer bottles and
cigarettes; aeroplanes and oceangoing liners; cartoons of
well dressed men and pretty girls and various maps of
Copenhagen. One page declares, 'Theres No Whiteness....Viva Free Algeria!' Each page is then covered with
a second layer of coloured ink drops and drips, most of
which go right to left, emphasising the direction of the
book from beginning to end.
The book ends with the text:
Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Tell us in not more
than 250 words why your girl is the sweetest
girl in town.[6]

3.1 Methods of production

Having just arrived in Copenhagen, Jorn and Debord
rushed into a newsagents, stole a huge amount of magazines and newspapers, and spent a drunken afternoon
collaging elements together. The next day they arrived at
the printers with 32 collages, which were transferred to
lithographic plates. Jorn then sat at the top of a ladder
over the zinc plates, dropping cup after cup of Indian ink
onto them. The plates were then etched and printed over
the black texts and images.
The cover was a heavily embossed image of an advertisement for a razor blade.
'A splendid landscape that Bernard Buet often painted': a page
spread in Fin de Copenhague

3.2 The spectacle

Fin de Copenhague (Goodbye to Copenhagen) is the rst
collaboration between the two artists. The artists book
is credited to Asger Jorn, with Debord listed as Technical Adviser in Dtournement. Also printed by Permild
and Rosengreen, Copenhagen, the book was published
by Jorns Edition Bauhaus Imaginiste in May 1957, a few
months before this group amalgamated with the Lettrist
International to create the Situationists.
In many ways very similar to the later book, the colour
layers are more exuberant, the text more pointed. One
page, for instance, asks in English:
What do you want? Better and cheaper
food? Lots of new clothes? A dream home
with all the latest comforts and labour saving

The situationist concept of the spectacle runs through

both books; represented by the newspapers and magazine collage elements, the collage and ink (dtournement)
used to disrupt the text represents a strategy to see the city
as it really is, rather than as charted in maps and signposts.
'The spectacle epitomises the prevailing
model of social life. It is the omnipresent celebration of a choice already made in the sphere
of production, and the consummate result of
that choice. In form as in content the spectacle serves as total justication for the conditions and aims of the existing system.' Guy


Originally printed in an edition of 200 by Edition Bauhus

Imaginiste in Copenhagen, Fin de Copenhague was
reprinted by Editions Allia in 2001 . Mmoires was also
printed in Copenhagen, in 1959, by ditions Situationist International. It has been reprinted by Jean-Jacques
Pauvert aux Belles Lettres in 1993.


[1] Asger Jorn, The Crucial Years 1954-64, Atkins, Lund

Humphries, p 57
[2] Guy Debord, Merrield, Reaktion, 2005, p 25
[3] 'Je voulais parler la belle langue de mon sicle', Mmoires,
[4] Memories on Asger Jorn, Troels Andersen, quoted in
Books Of Warfare, The Collaboration between Guy Debord & Asger Jorn from 1957-1959, Christian Nolle
[5] Fin de Copenhague, Asger Jorn, Editions Allia, 2001
[6] 'The replies, together with the girls photograph and her
address written on the back, were to be sent to the Psychogeographical Committee Of London (especially Debord
and Jorn.) ....Nothing is known about the replies Jorn received...' Taken from Art in Progress-Asger Jorn, Atkins,
Methuen 1964, inside cover
[7] Society of the Spectacle, Thesis 6

Mmoires, Guy Debord and Asger Jorn, Editions
Situation International, 1959
Asger Jorn, Guy Atkins, Methuen, 1964
Asger Jorn, The Crucial Years 1954-64, Guy
Atkins, Lund Humphries, 1977
Guy Debord, Merrield, Reaktion, 2005
Potlatch 1954-57, Debord and others, Lebovici,
Panegyric, Debord, Verso, 1991
Fin de Copenhague, Asger Jorn and Guy Debord,
Editions Allia, 2001
Books of Warfare: The Collaboration between Guy
Debord & Asger Jorn from 19571959, Christian


Text and image sources, contributors, and licenses



Mmoires Source: Contributors: Tabletop, BD2412, Nihiltres,

Skizzik, Chris the speller, Khazar, Outriggr (2006-2009), Cydebot, Pugetbill, Franciselliott, SpellingBot, Yobot, LilHelpa, FreeKnowledgeCreator, FrescoBot, A930913, Philafrenzy and Anonymous: 5



File:Fin-de-copenhague.jpg Source: License: Fair use Contributors:

Books of Warfare: The Collaboration between Guy Debord & Asger Jorn from 1957-1959, Christian Nolle, [1] Original artist: ?
File:Memoires-cover.jpg Source: License: Fair use Contributors:
A photo taken by myself
Original artist: ?
File:Memoires.jpg Source: License: Fair use Contributors:
A photo i took of the original book
Original artist: ?


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