Memoires by Debord & Jorn [1959] – with a unique cover

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Debord, Guy and Jorn, Asger. Mémoires: Structures Portantes d’Asger Jorn. Copenhagen: Internationale Situationniste, 1959. n.p. [64 p.]; ill.; 28 x 21 cm. White card wrappers with Viks no.2 sandpaper cover.

Memoires is the product of a collaboration between Guy Debord and Asger Jorn in the early years of the Situationist International. Printed in vivid colors – the work of Danish masterprinters Permild & Rosengreen – it is viewed by some as the most important art book of the twentieth century.

The making of Memoires is the subject of full-length book by Troels Andersen (curator of the Silkerborg Museum of Arts): Erindriger om Asger Jorn. Suffice to say that Debord and Jorn had “worked” together two years earlier – after stealing a large stock of magazines and newspapers, they spent a drunken afternoon collaging elements together. After transferring these collages to litographic plates, Jorn poured ink over them and the resulting plates were etched and printed. Thus, Fin de Copenhague was born (1957), printed in 200 copies. Memoires constitutes a continuation of this unique partnership

Memoires is perhaps best known for its unique cover: a single sheet of heavy grade sandpaper (specifically Viks no.2 grade), wrapped around the book’s inner cover but otherwise unattached to the white card wrappers. The intent was that Memoires would damage books next to it on a library shelf.

Our copy of Memoires  offers a unique presentation: the traditional sandpaper sheet is replaced with a cover made of 110 razor blades. The work of Michel Guet, an artist and writer who was close friends with Ralph Rumney, it is an homage to Jorn & Debord.

500 copies of Memoires were originally issued. However, the book is in high demand and thus rare in the trade. We have yet to encounter another copy with the Michel Guet cover; private sources lead us to believe this may have been a one-of-a-kind artwork

Gonzalvez 84, Raspaud & Voyer 108

For more information:

Donne, Boris. Pour Memoires. Paris: Allia, 2004. Perhaps the most ambitious and complete attempt at deciphering Memoires.

Edwards, Richard. Uneasy Arrangements: Looking at Guy Debord’s Memoires. http://remixhumanities.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/uneasy-arrangements-looking-at-guy-debords-memoires/

Nolle, Christian. Books of Warfare: The Collaboration between Guy Debord & Asger Jorn from 1957-1959. http://virose.pt/vector/b_13/nolle.html

“Memoires”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mémoires

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