pre-situationist archive

situationist international archive

post-situationist archive

situationist chronology




news & updates

site search

notes & sources


background > chronology >


January 1946

Isidore Isou and Gabriel Pomerand form the lettrist movement in Paris.

21 First lettrist scandal at the Théatre du Vieux-Colombier.

May 1947

17 The Revolutionary Surrealist Group is founded in Brussels by Paul Bourgignie, Achille Chavóe, Christian Dotremont, Marcel Havrenne, René Magritte, Marcel Mariën, Paul Nougé and Louis Scutenaire.

October 1947

29 Asger Jorn participates in the International Conference of Revolutionary Surrealism in Brussels.

July 1948

16 Founding of the Dutch Experimental Group by Karel Appel, Guillaume Corneille, and Constant and Jan Niewenhuys, Amsterdam.

September 1948

Reflex #1, Organ for the Dutch Experimental Group, Amsterdam.

November 1948

8 Le Cause était entendue (The Case is Closed), declaration signed by Karel Appel, Guillaume Corneille, Christian Dotremont, Asger Jorn, Constant Nieuwenhuys and Joseph Noiret in Paris, marks the foundation of Cobra.

March 1949

1 Cobra #1, Copenhagen. Editors: Christian Dotremont and Asger Jorn.

April 1950

9 A group of lettrists – including Serge Berna, Jean-Louis Brau, Ghislain Desnoyers de Marbaix and Michel Mourre – perpetrates the Notre-Dame Scandal, when Mourre, dressed as a Dominican monk, reads a sermon prepared by Berna announcing the death of God at Easter mass.

April 1951

20 Guy-Ernest Debord meets the lettrists at the Cannes Film Festival, following the screening of Isou's Traité de bave et d'éternité (Treatise on Slime and Eternity).

October 1951

Guy-Ernest Debord joins the lettrists in Paris.

The Cobra movement is dissolved.

February 1952

11 First projection of Gil J. Wolman's The Anticoncept in Paris

April 1952

2 The Anticoncept is banned by the French film censorship commission.

23 Ion #1, Paris, Editor: Marc-Gilbert Guillaumin, contains the scripts for The Anticoncept and an early version of Howls for Sade, as well as Guy-Ernest Debord's Prolégomènes à tout cinéma futur (Prolegomena to Any Future Cinema).

Fini le Cinéma français (No More French Cinema), tract distributed at the Cannes Film Festival, signed by Serge Berna, Guy-Ernest Debord, François Dufrêne, Monique Geoffrey, Jean-Isidore Isou, Yolande du Luart, Marc,O., Gabriel Pomerand, Poucette and Gil J. Wolman.

June 1952

Serge Berna, Jean-Louis Brau, Guy-Ernest Debord and Gil J. Wolman secretly form the radical Lettrist International tendency within the lettrist movement.

30 First projection of Guy Debord's film Howls for Sade in Paris.
75 minutes, 35mm, black and white.
Voice-over: Gil J. Wolman, Guy Debord, Serge Berna, Barbara Rosenthal, Jean-Isidore Isou.

October 1952

13 Second projection of Howls for Sade in Paris.

29 No More Flat Feet, tract denouncing Charlie Chaplin signed by the Lettrist International (Berna, Brau, Debord and Wolman), is thrown into the crowd at a press conference for Chaplin's film Limelight at the Ritz Hotel, Paris.

Guy Debord meets Marcel Mariën, Paul Nougé and Louis Scutenaire in Brussels.

November 1952

"Exclusion" of Isidore Isou, Maurice Lemaitre and Gabriel Pomerand for publicly disassociating themselves from the Chaplin scandal.

December 1952

Internationale Lettriste #1, Paris.

7 Founding Conference of the Lettrist International at Aubervilliers, France. Participants: Serge Berna, Jean-Louis Brau, Guy-Ernest Debord, Gil J. Wolman.

Early 1953

Guy Debord writes Never Work! on a wall in the rue de Seine.

September 1953

Under the pseudonym Gilles Ivain, Ivan Chtcheglov completes his 'Formulary for a new Urbanism.'

December 1953

Foundation of the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus.

June 1954

22 Potlatch #1, internal bulletin of the French Lettrist International group, Paris. Editor-in-chief: André Frank Conord.

October 1954

7 Et ça finit mal (And a Bad End), tract denouncing the withdrawal from Ça commence bien – a text written by the LI as a planned collaborative protest against the celebrations surrounding the centenary of Rimbaud's birth – of the signatures of the Parisian surrealists, who deemed the text "too Marxist" and denounced the Lettrists as Stalinists, falsifiers and publicity hounds.

December 1954

Asger Jorn meets Guy Debord in Paris.

22 'Architecture for Life' an excerpt from Asger Jorn's book Image and Form, is published in Potlatch #15.

September 1955

Publication in Les Lèvres nues #6 of Guy Debord's article 'Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography,' the first of a series of important Lettrist articles to be appear in the Belgian journal.

June 1956

Toutes ces dames au salon! (All the Ladies in the Room!), tract denouncing the exhibition The Oil Industry in the Eyes of Artists, held at the Palais de Beaux-Arts, Brussels, 2 to 14 June, signed by members of the Lettrist International (Michèle Bernstein, Mohamed Dahou, Guy Debord, Jacques Fillon, Alexander Trocchi, Gil J. Wolman), the Les Lèvres nues group (Paul Bourgoignie, Jane Graverol, Marcel Mariën, Paul Nougé, Gilbert Senecaut), the Nuclear Art Movement (Enrico Baj, Sergio Dangelo, Asger Jorn) and several independent artists (Ernest Carlier, Paul Joostens, Herbert Read).

July 1956

Eristica #1. Journal of the International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus. Editor: Giuseppe Pinot Gallizio. Editorial Committee: Enrico Baj, Christian Dotremont, Walter Korun.

September 1956

2 to 8 First World Congress of Free Artists at Alba, Italy. Participants: Enrico Baj (Nuclear Art Movement, Milan; excluded in the course of the conference on the Lettrist delegate's demand), Jacques Calonne, Constant (ex-Cobra; Christian Dotremont does not attend, ostensibly because of illness), Giuseppe Pinot Gallizio, Asger Jorn, Piero Simondo, Ettore Sottsass Jr, Elena Verrone (International Movement for an Imaginist Bauhaus), Gil J. Wolman (Lettrist International/Potlatch), Sandro Cherchi, Franco Garelli (Turin), Jan Kotik, Pravoslav Rada (Czechoslovakia), Charles Estienne, Klaus Fischer, several others.
Two exhibitions are held simultaneously: Futurist Ceramics 1925-33, organized by Jorn and Gallizio, at Alba town hall; and an exhibition by the experimental laboratory at Corino cinema, involving Constant, Gallizio, Garelli, Jorn, Kotik, Rada, Simondo and Wolman.
Wolman's 'Address' is accepted by the congress as its final resolution.
Jorn is appointed committee director of Potlatch, while Wolman is added to the editorial board of Eristica.

November 1956

2 Potlatch #27, information bulletin of the Lettrist International, Paris.

Publication in Les Lèvres nues #9 of Guy Debord's article, 'Theory of the dérive,' in which the word 'situationist' makes its first appearance.

December 1956

10 to 15 Exhibiting in Favor of Unitary Urbanism, exhibition featuring work by Sandro Cherchi, Constant, Guy Debord, Jacques Fillon, Giuseppe Pinot Gallizio, Franco Garelli, Asger Jorn, Walter Olmo and Piero Simondo, Turin Cultural Union, Turin.

This chronology has been adapted and expanded from Jean-Jacques Raspaud and Jean-Pierre Voyer, L'Internationale Situationniste: Chronologie, bibliographie, protagonistes (avec un index des noms insulté) (Paris: Champ Libre, 1972); Christophe Bourseiller, Vie et mort de Guy Debord (Paris: Plon, 1999); and Guy Debord, Correspondance (volumes 1, 2 & 3) (Paris: Arthème Fayard, 1999 , 2001 & 2003).