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Jean-François Bory


Jean-François Bory

Jean-François Bory is a French poet, visual artist, filmmaker, writer, and editor, whose multimedia and genre-spanning works include experimental concrete and visual poetry. Throughout his career, Bory collaborated closely with Sarenco, Julien Blaine, Paul de Vree, Alain Arias-Mission, Eugenico Miccini, Lucia Maruccicci, Luciano Ori, and Michele Perfetti, with many of whom he became a part of the International Group of Visual Poetry in 1974. Produced between 1970 and 1975, his literary and sociological magazine L’Humidite, which featured poets and theorists ranging from Henri Chopin, Sarenco, Arias-Misson, Lamberto Pignotti, and Herman Damen, paved the way to discussions surrounding the radical ideas of the time.


Born in Paris, France in 1938, Bory spend his formative years in Southeast Asia. Upon his return to Paris, he published his first book, Bientôt le livre, as well as his first solo exhibition Arithmetic Texts in 1966. Two years later, Bory published Once Again, an anthology of visual poetry practices around the world, ranging from anagrams of early Christian monks, the calligrammes of Apollinaire and diagrams of the Dadaists, to the vanguard experiments of E.E. Cummings. The same year, Bory participated in the sound poetry festival Text und Aktionsabend II in Bern alongside Claus Bremer, Rolf Geissbühler, and Julien Blaine. In 1972, Bory published the first monograph dedicted to Raoul Haussman and is credited as one of the main actors behind the rediscovery of Dada in the postwar period. 

In addition to his role as an editor and writer, Bory has created sculptures as well as directed and featured in films. In 1967, Bory directed a black and white film, Saga, in dialogue with those of Henri Chopin and Anthony Balch. He also participated in Sarenco's films, such as Collage (1983). Since the 1990's, Bory has collaborated with the publisher Francesco Conz to create golden typewriters, pianos, and cars. 


Alongside his other endeavors, Bory co-founded numerous magazines, such as Approches (1965-1969) with Julien Blaine and Agentzia (1967-1972) with Jochen Gerz. The process behind his literary projects entail meticulously compiled paste-ups and photomontages. One of the first among his colleagues to venture into the digital space, Bory established the production company and multimedia magazine Son@rt in 1998, featuring and releasing works by Isidore Isou, Maurice Lemaître, François Dufrêne, Marshall McLuhan, Otto Mühl, Henri Chopin, and Marcel Duchamp until 2013. Throughout his prolific career, Bory has published over one hundred volumes and publications, such as Post-Scriptum (1970), Autres textes (1979), Pas tout le même jour (1988), Poésies Provisoires (1991), Japan, le retour (2004), Un été avec Apollinaire (2009), Sgowefygtom! Sgowefygtom! (2010), among others. 

Print Holdings

Related Collections

  • Alan Arias-Misson

  • Ugo Carrega

  • Henri Chopin

  • François Dufrêne

  • Maurice Lemaître

  • Lamberto Pignotti

  • Sarenco and Lotta Poetica

Jean-François Bory is a French poet, visual artist, filmmaker, writer, and editor, whose multimedia and genre-spanning works include experimental concrete and visual poetry. Bory is best known for his work on the critique of language, as well as bringing together an international and multigenerational network of experiential poets in the postwar period. In collaboration with Sarenco, Julien Blaine, Paul de Vree, and Alain Arias-Mission, he formed the transnational group Logomotives in 1963. The literary magazines L'Approaches (1965-1969),, Agenzia (1967-1972), and L’Humidite (1970-1975), which featured figures like Henri Chopin, Max Bense, François Dufrêne, and Yasuo Fujitomi, paved the way to discussions on the radical political ideas of the time. In 1998, Bory and poet Jacques Donguy co-founded the multimedia company Son@rt, featuring works by Isidore Isou, Maurice Lemaître, and François Dufrêne, among others.  

Jean-François Bory Papers

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The Jean-François Bory Papers contain an extensive collection of writings, audiovisual works, photographic works, correspondences, maquettes, proofs, cover designs, and printed ephemera pertaining to literary and film projects and exhibitions. Complementing unpublished projects, poetry, and monographs, including a magazine maquette of an unpublished issue of L’Humidité and paste-up of Prolègomènes à une monographie de Raoul Hausmann, are computer media and analog files for Bory’s sound poetry performances, film directing for SAGA and Quant au livre, and the multimedia magazine Son@rt, which features postwar experimental poets such as Henri Chopin, François Dufrêne, Sarenco, and Alain Arias-Misson. Correspondences document his professional relationships with theorists and artists such as Roland Barthes, Julien Blaine, Ugo Carrega, Hannah Höch, and Richard Kostelanetz, among others.

Collection Highlights

  • Writings

L'argent in Approches, 1966, proof with annotation


8 texts + 1, 1966-1967, holograph and typed manuscript of various alphabets

  • ​Maquettes and Proofs

Prolégomènes à une monographie de Raoul Hausmann, 1972, hand paste-up draft of monograph of Hausmann, with printed photos and texts

L'Humidité, no 26, 1978, paste-up of unpublished issue no. 26 dated December 1978, accompanied by cover proofs for other issues of the magazine

  • Photographic Works

"L'éternité: Numero monografico su Jean-François Bory", in Lotta Poetica no.47

  • Printed Ephemera

Photographs of living statue with typewriter collage, undated

  • Correspondences

Documents Bory's long-spanning relations with both avant-garde and postwar experimental poets, as well as theorists and art dealers. Figures include Alain Arias-Misson, Roland Barthes, Julien Blaine, Ugo Carrega, Henri Chopin, Jean Clair, Dominiqe Fourcade, Bernard Heidsiek, Hannah Höch, Maurice Lemaître, Michele Perfetti, Lamberto, and Hans Richter, among many others. 


Finding Aid: 

To view a detailed listing of contents for the Jean-François Bory Papers and to request materials for consultation in the Beinecke Reading Room, visit the Online Finding Aid


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