Roland Sabatier, Gaffe au golf II, 1964, 1989, Silkscreen on cloth, 136 × 156 cm, Edition of 35
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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  • Silkscreen on cloth
  • 136 × 156 cm
    (53 ½ × 61 ⅜ inches)
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  • Roland Sabatier was a multidisciplinary artist and author associated with the Lettrist movement. He attended the École supérieure des beaux-arts de Toulouse et de Grenoble, followed by the École nationale supérieure des arts et techniques du théâtre in Paris. Since his encounter with Isidore Isou at the 1963 Paris Biennale, he experimented with publishing, painting, and photography, directed films, and became a member of the Lettrist group. Sabatier founded Éditions Psi in 1963, a prolific publishing house responsible not only for disseminating his own literary works and that of his brother Alain Satié but also by many fellow Lettrists, such as Anne-Catherine Caron, Maurice Lemaître, and Isou. Sabatier’s influential hypergraphic novels, such as Manipulitude (1963) and Gaffe au golf (1964), marked by interwoven and convoluted narratives, were published during this period. Throughout his extensive career, Sabatier also worked with theater, poetry, performance, and architecture, signing Isou’s “Manifeste pour le bouleversement de l’architecture” in 1967 and conceiving numerous urban planning and furniture design projects. More than anything else, however, Sabatier defined a distinctive signature style based on hypergraphy in film and painting. Starting with the multitude of organized calligraphic signs in early paintings from the 1960s, he created works marked by small symbols disrupted by endless variations, fragmentations, and distortions, while also intervening with techniques such as collage and photography. Through his vast filmography, he moved away from the traditional definition of cinema, problematizing with the ontological status of this art form. Over a linear unfolding of the narrative, Sabatier favored a cerebral and hermetic result, given by the corrosive manipulation of the film, its soundtracks, and the superimposition of different visual elements. His cinematographic work has been shown at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris and various major avant-garde festivals. Sabatier was the organizer of the Premier Festival International d’art infinitésimal et supertemporel (1978) and wrote numerous critical texts as an editor for Éditions Sonet-Visat. He compiled celebrated anthologies such as Le Lettrisme: les créations et les createurs (1989) and curated exhibitions on the work of Isou at the Villa Tamaris Centre d’Art in La Seyne-sur-Mer (2010) and the Doubt Foundation in Blois (2015). Together with other Lettrist artists, he exhibited at the 1993 Biennale di Venezia, and his works are now in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Musée d’art moderne et contemporain in Saint-Étienne, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

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