Jean-Jacques LEBEL (France)
Jean-Jacques Lebel (1936, Paris, France) – poet, artist, essay writer, curator. Graduated from the Accademia delle Belle Arti in Florence, and there he arranged his first solo exhibition at the Galleria Numero (1955). Since then he has exhibited his works at various museums and galleries in Europe, USA and Japan, including the exhibition at the Venice Biennial (1986, 1990). While staying in Italy he initiated publishing of the magazine “Front Unique,” dedicated to poetry, art and politics; he was the first in Europe to develop the concept of happenning (The Burial Of Tinguely’s Chose, 1960,Venice) some years before American representatives of this trend did so – K. Oldenburg (1962) and A. Kaprow (1963). Since 1960 he has conducted more than eighty happenings, Direct Poetry-actions and performances in various countries (having stopped using the term “happening” in May, 1968 after the notorious events in Paris, where he was an active participant). In the 1960s Lebel was one of the organisers of the Festival de la Libre Expression (American Center, Paris) – a forum of experimental arts, which ten years later became a part of the travelling international festival “Polyphonix”. Lebel is the author of ten books dedicated to the issues of art, politics and culture, among them are such as: Le Happening (Paris: Deno¸l Ed., 1966), Teatro y Revolucion (Caracas: Monte Avila Ed., 1967), L’Am(o)ur et l’Argent (Paris: Stock Ed., 1979), Poesie Directe (Paris: Opus International, 1994), Les dessins mescaliniens de Michaux (Paris: Du Lezard Ed., 2000) and others. He has participated in numerous festivals of the contemporary poetry, including the following: Festival dei Poeti (Rome, 1980), Festival de Cogolin (Cogolin, 1982), One World Poetry (Amsterdam, 1983), Veneziapoesia (Venice, 1988), Milanopoesia (Milan, 1989) and many others. He was one of the firsts to do translations into French of the works by Burroughs, Ginsberg, Ferlingetti and Corso, he also arranged (jointly with D. Guerin, “Belfont Ed.”) the series of republications of the classics of the anarchism, such as N. Mahno, L. Trotsky, R. Luxembourg and others. He was the curator of twenty international art-projects, implemented at various galleries and museums, including the following ones: Errò, Paysage (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, 1985), Il Disegno del nostro secolo (Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta, Milan, 1994), Picabia, 1922 (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1996), Juegos Surrealistas (Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid, 1996), Victor Hugo, du Chaos dans le pinceau (Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid and Maison de Victor Hugo, Paris, 2000), Picasso érotique (Musée de Beaux Arts, Montreal, 2001) and others. In 1994 Lebel within the exhibition Off Limits (Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris) represented a project “Monument to Félix Guattari” – a certain interpretation of the “Desiring machine”– a multimedia installation of 8 meters high, comprising of video- and live performances of poets, musicians and artists, those close to Guattari and Lebel. A large scale retrospective exhibition of Lebel’s creative activities, that was opened in 1998 at the Museum Moderner Kunst (Vienna), was also shown at the Museum of Modern Art (Budapest, 1998), Hamburger Kunsthalle (Hamburg, 1999), Naples Fondazione Morra (Naples, 1999), Milano Fondazione Mudima (Milan, 2000). Jean-Jacques Lebel lives and works in Paris (France).