[LEVRES NUES and INTERNATIONALE LETTRISTE]. [A l’occasion de son soixantième anniversaire, hommage à André Breton…C’était un mensonge]. n.p. [Bruxelles, Belgium], n.d. [February 1956]. 1 p.; 14.5 x 11 cm.; black and red ink on cream stock.
Invitation card to a (fake) reception, to be held on the occasion of Andre Breton’s sixtieth birthday. The event was to take place on February 18, 1956 at the Lutetia, a luxury hotel located at intersection of Boulevard Raspail and rue de Sèvres in Paris. Guests who showed up at the agreed-upon date and place (just a handful according to French daily Combat, hundreds according to the weekly l’Express) soon realized they had been duped. Instead of a high-brow celebration of a Surrealist figure they stepped into a get-together of charcoal-wood merchants in Paris…
Marcel Marien and his comrades from les Levres Nues conceived the spoof. Invitation cards were mailed from Paris by members of the Internationale Lettriste. A few days later, a second invitation card was mailed from Belgium to the same recipients. It was identical to the first one, but admitted the wrongdoing (“c’était un mensonge” – “it was a lie”) and revealed its authors (“Les Levres Nues”). This is the one featured here
The spoof is celebrated in Potlatch #26 a few months later: “No one, however, had picked up on this deliberately ridiculous, which announced that Breton would seize this opportunity to discuss “the eternal youth of surrealism”
Referenced in Berreby p.332, BNF p.47, and Wolman (Defense de mourir) p.97. Not in Oeuvres or in Scheppe & Ohrt.