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Brion Gysin

British, 1916–1986

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Brion Gysin

British, 1916–1986

209
Followers
Biography

A multifaceted artist who worked in painting, sound, and poetry, among other forms, Brion Gysin experimented restlessly throughout his influential career. The Beats, David Bowie, Keith Haring, and William S. Burroughs are among the many artists, musicians, and writers who cite Gysin as an influence. His oeuvre includes abstract paintings based on Japanese and Arabic calligraphy, as well as views of the Sahara inspired by his trip to the region in 1938. In 1959, Gysin created the “Cut-Up Method,” which entails cutting words and phrases into fragments and then rearranging them to create new meanings. He undertook these experiments together with his longtime friend and collaborator, Burroughs. This spirit of invention and reconfiguration fed into Gysin’s work with sound and his co-creation of the Dream Machine, a kinetic light sculpture that produces a flickering effect meant to be experienced with closed eyes.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
New Museum
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 2 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 1 more
Biography

A multifaceted artist who worked in painting, sound, and poetry, among other forms, Brion Gysin experimented restlessly throughout his influential career. The Beats, David Bowie, Keith Haring, and William S. Burroughs are among the many artists, musicians, and writers who cite Gysin as an influence. His oeuvre includes abstract paintings based on Japanese and Arabic calligraphy, as well as views of the Sahara inspired by his trip to the region in 1938. In 1959, Gysin created the “Cut-Up Method,” which entails cutting words and phrases into fragments and then rearranging them to create new meanings. He undertook these experiments together with his longtime friend and collaborator, Burroughs. This spirit of invention and reconfiguration fed into Gysin’s work with sound and his co-creation of the Dream Machine, a kinetic light sculpture that produces a flickering effect meant to be experienced with closed eyes.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
New Museum
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 2 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 1 more