Writings on Art and Architecture
Guy Debord and Asger Jorn were the key co-founders of the Situationist
International. Despite significant differences in style and personality, the two
were close collaborators at that time and remained close personal friends until Jorns death
in 1973, long after Jorn had left the SI (he resigned from it in 1961).
One of the first projects of the newly formed SI was the publication of a large French-language collection of Jorns texts from the immediately preceding period: Pour la Forme: ébauche d’une méthodologie des arts (1958). As Jorn explained in his introductory Notice, the texts collected in that book reflected the evolution of his experiments and encounters among radical avant-garde currents following the dissolution of the Cobra group (1948-1951) and leading up to the formation of the SI in 1957. Pour la Forme was reprinted by Éditions Allia (2001) and is still in print, but up till now very few of Jorns writings have been available in English.
Now, at long last, there is a comprehensive English-language collection of Jorns writings: Fraternité Avant Tout: Asger Jorns Writings on Art and Architecture, 1938-1958 (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2011, edited by Ruth Baumeister). Most of this new collection consists of articles translated from the Danish and Swedish by Paul Larkin, but it also includes four articles from Pour la Forme translated from the French by Ken Knabb. These latter four articles are also online at this website:
1. Image and Form (1954)
2. Form and Structure (1956)
3. Against Functionalism (1957)
4. The Situationists and Automation (1958)
These articles provide a taste of the richness and liveliness of Jorns ideas and explorations. I encourage you to get Baumeisters book if you are interested in further exploring this provocative yet genial pioneer of the interface between cultural and political radicalism.
Excerpts from Ruth Baumeister (ed.), Fraternité Avant Tout: Asger Jorns Writings on Art and Architecture, 1938-1958 (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2011).