Gil Joseph Wolman | the artist




The artist Gil Joseph Wolman
Born 1929, Paris, France.
Died 1995 Paris.

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Wolman joined the Letterists in 1950, although he quit the group only two years later. His first published work appeared in the 1950 first issue of their journal Ur, where his ‘Introduction to Wolman’ would set the scene for later creations: "In the beginning, there was Wolman"! While still in the group, Wolman would make two major contributions. First, in sound poetry, he devised the notion of the ‘megapneume’: while lettrism was based upon the letter, megapneumes were based upon the breath. Second, in film, he produced L’Anticoncept, the work for which he is now primarily remembered. The film was shown for the first time on 11 February 1952 at the ‘Avant-Garde 52’ cinema club. It consisted of blank illumination projected onto a weather balloon, accompanied by a staccato spoken soundtrack. The film was banned by the French censors on 2 April 1952—when the Letterists visited the Cannes Film Festival the following month, they were forced to restrict the audience to journalists only. The text of the soundtrack was published in the sole issue of the Letterist journal Ion (1952; reprinted Jean-Paul Rocher, 1999), and later reissued in a separate edition augmented with associated texts (Editions Allia, 1994). Ion also included the text of Guy Debord’s film Howls for Sade, which was dedicated to Wolman and featured his voice in its own soundtrack…
Né en 1929 à Paris, décédé dans cette même ville en 1995, Gil Joseph Wolman est une des figures majeures des avant-gardes qui ont connu leur développement dans la capitale française après la Seconde Guerre mondiale. Poète lettriste en 1949, sa théorie des « mégapneumies » (1951) prolonge la théorie lettriste d’Isidore Isou en portant atteinte à la lettre elle-même, en dissociant la consonne de la voyelle qu’elle porte, pour libérer le souffle…
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