Quotes about Brion Gysin

“His art uses his calligraphic touch and layered processes to communicate the scattering, shattering, and dematerialization of perceptual phenomena and the flux of states of consciousness — seeking the creation of exemplary embodiments of transcendent moments and their dispersal, an art of apprehension in every sense. They are not “illustrations” of drug experiences, surreal depictions or visually contrived approximations of the hallucinatory. The pictures create continually shifting, flickering apparitional fields, both suggesting and stimulating changing states of consciousness — optical phenomena inseperable from psychic conjuration.” – Ian MacFadyen

“… there is no doubt that this is how Gysin saw his own function as an artist — psychic, hallucinatory experiences are conveyed through the work so as to have an actual effect on the viewer’s psyche. Gysin’s intention was to affect the interior space of the audience — he will “have an audience,” while the artist, he repeatedly assures us, will disappear, the transduction of the altered state of consciousness will run from his psyche to yours and then pass to another. This is the desired spell, the contact and contract of his mesmeric art of psychic transmission.” – Ian MacFadyen

“The Domaine Poetique (1961) performance consisted of Jean Clarence Lambert reading Gysin’s text “Writing is fifty years behind painting” while Gysin wrote it out on a four square metre sheet of white paper using three wide Japanese brushes and a rubber roller.”

“His friend Lawrence Lacina later described how at the end of the performance “his painting fell to the ground and started curling into a roll again. Brion unrolled it and ripped it into pieces from top to bottom and left the stage.” – Taillandier

Gysin “published many books but was not thought of in literary circles, created art but was perceived as a writer by artists,”
“He was an investigator, an explorer. In the end that’s what he’ll be known for, I think – the transmission of ideas, and all the different areas he influenced people in. I think he encouraged people to look into the unknown.” – Barry Miles


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