Brion Gysin

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Brion Gysin (January 19, 1916 – July 13, 1986) was a painter, writer, sound poet, and performance artist born in Taplow, Buckinghamshire.[1]

He is best known for his (re)discovery of the cut-up technique,[2] used by his friend, the novelist William S. Burroughs. With the engineer Ian Sommerville he invented the Dreamachine, a flicker device designed as an art object to be viewed with the eyes closed. It was in painting, however, that Gysin devoted his greatest efforts, creating calligraphic works inspired by Japanese and Arabic scripts. Burroughs later stated that "Brion Gysin was the only man I ever respected."[3]



Early years

John Clifford Brian Gysin was born at Taplow House, England, a Canadian military hospital. His mother, Stella Margaret Martin, was a Canadian from Deseronto, Ontario. His father, Leonard Gysin, a captain with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, was killed in action eight months after his son's birth. Stella returned to Canada and settled in Edmonton, Alberta where her son became "the only Catholic day-boy at an Anglican boarding school".[4] Graduating at fifteen, Gysin was sent to Downside School in Stratton-on-the-Fosse, near Bath, Somerset in England, a prestigious college known as "the Eton of Catholic public schools" run by the Benedictines.

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