Isidore Isou

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Isidore Isou (January 31, 1925July 28, 2007), born Ioan-Isidor Goldstein, was a Romanian-born French poet, film critic and visual artist. He was the founder of Lettrism, an art and literary movement which owed inspiration to Dada and Surrealism.



Manifesto Of Letterist Poetry, 1942


Isidore Isou (1942). Manifesto Of Letterist Poetry ; Reprinted in: Stephen C. Foster, University of Iowa. Museum of Art, Mandeville Art Gallery (1983) Lettrisme- into the present. p. 71

  • The flourishing of bursts of energy dies beyond us.
All delirium is expansive.
All impulses escape stereotyping.
  • Panic I.
  • The rigidity of forms impedes their transmission.
These words are so heavy that the flow fails to carry
them. Temperaments die before arriving at the goal
(firing blanks).
No word is capable of carrying the impulses one
wants to send with it.
  • Panic IV

Venom and Eternity (1951)


Isidore Isou (1951) Traité de bave et d'éternité (Venom And Eternity), partly cited in: Jean-Isidore Isou (1925-2007): Venom and Eternity at, 2007/08/07

Danielle's Monologue

  • The Cinema is too rich; it is obese.
  • The evolution of art has nothing to do with the revolution of society.
  • In my pictures I would use speech as an extra dimension supplementing the image … Speech would not come off the screen in coincidence with the sequences, but from without, as if it were a surplus unconnected with the organism - a cravat of drivel hung on an ivory tooth.
  • Our only means of original manifestation is to vomit these old masterpieces. Masterful spittle is our only opportunity to create within the Cinema our masterpieces. That's what Picasso stands for. He is a creator of deglutition and spittle, of old well-digested canvases.
  • From the point of view of photography, I'll smite the picture with sun rays. I'll take old stock shots and scratch them; I'll claw at them so that unknown beauty sees the light of day. I shall sculpt flowers upon the film stock.
  • There are so many films from which one leaves as stupid as one entered. I'd rather give you a migraine than nothing at all … I'd rather ruin your eyes than leave you indifferent.
  • Radio through television becomes a species of Cinema. Why shouldn't Cinema, in turn, become a species of radio?
  • There is no "worst" in what is new. Everything that has existed is bad, or else no one would have improved upon it by revolution and change.

Chapter II

  • It is said that the public is stupid. That's why those who hold it in contempt never dare to offer it something original.
  • Your hissing and your booing make no impression on me, because from Victor Hugo's "Ernani" to Buñel's "The Age of Gold," Cannes Grand Prize winner, everything I have loved has always been hissed and booed at first. At the premiere of "The Age of Gold" the angry audience broke the theatre seats. What worse can happen to me, and how can that affect me? The seats do not belong to me.
  • I desire you, and all that comes with you. If I could only buy you and enjoy you, without having to go through all the formalities, without having to consider your personality et cetera … There is nothing as boring as human personality.
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