October Gallery, London is pleased to present Unseen Collaborator, a solo exhibition of works by the artist Brion Gysin. The exhibition will feature previously unseen drawings, paintings, photography and a film about the complex artist. Neo-calligrapher, master of line, multimedia revolutionary and cultural historian, Gysin’s experiences in New York, Tangier, Paris and London influenced his seminal artistic productions. William Burroughs called Gysin, ‘the only man I truly respect’.
Brion Gysin, (1916 – 1986) was born in Taplow, England and in 1934 went to study at the Sorbonne, Paris. His first exhibition in 1935, was with Picasso, Arp, Bellmer, Brauner, de Chirico, Dali, Duchamp, Max Ernst, Magritte, Miro, Man Ray, Tanguy at Galerie Quatre Chemins, Paris. Later, his drawings were taken down and expelled from the Surrealist Group by Paul Eluard at the orders of André Breton. His journey to the Algerian Sahara in 1938 influenced his work greatly. Gysin was a multifaceted artist whose fertile mind and wide range of original ideas were a source of inspiration for artists of the Beat Generation in Paris, as well as to innovative artists and performers such as David Bowie, Mick Jagger, Keith Haring, and Laurie Anderson in the next generation.
Painter, writer, sound poet, tape composer, lyricist, and performance artist, Gysin is remembered particularly for his evocative paintings of the North African desert in the 1950s and his original calligraphic abstractions based on his knowledge of Japanese and Arabic scripts.
The chance discovery by Gysin of the cut-up technique (later developed and refined by William S. Burroughs) and the concept of permutated poems (elaborated by Ian Sommerville) gave rise to new and original forms of sound art wordplay, striking not only in print but also in recordings or live performance. Gysin's inventive ideas also extended to the Dreamachine and to collages of text and photographs. Brion Gysin’s first US retrospective exhibition was held at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York in June 2010.