Collège De ’Pataphysique

One of the central tenets of the Collège de ’Pataphysique, manifest in all its endeavors, is Jarry’s idea that the comedic is profoundly serious. Founded in 1948 by devotees of Jarry’s imaginary science, the college is headed by the Inamovable Curator, Doctor Faustroll; for several years, a crocodile served as Vice-Curator. Members—some with honorifics such as Transcendent Satrap and Commander of the Order of the Grand Gidouille—have included Marcel Duchamp, Jean Dubuffet, Max Ernst, Eugène Ionesco, Tanya Peixoto, and the Marx Brothers. A constant over more than seven decades has been the attention paid by pataphysicians around the world to the aesthetics of book and magazine design. The works displayed here on the wall and in the case echo Jarry’s serious yet playful experiments in the art of the book.

Installation view: Alfred Jarry: The Carnival of Being, Engelhard Gallery, January 24 through 10 May 2020. Publications of the Collège De ’Pataphysique, Paris. Top (left to right): Soleil de printemps, illustrations by Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947), [1957]. Hymne des palotins: Tel qu’il fut chanté more antiquissimo à la première d’Ubu cocu le 4 merdre lxxiii, [1952]. Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985), Oukiva trene sabot, [1958]. Bottom (left to right): Claude Terrasse (1867–1923), Seconde version musicale de la Chanson du décervelage, [1956]. Raymond Queneau (1903–1976), Lorsque l’esprit, [1954]. Irénée-Louis Sandomir [i.e., Emmanuel Peillet] (1914–1973), Oraison funèbre de Mélanie le Plumet, [1949]. Jean Mollet (1877–1964), Jarry inconnu, [1962]. Les nouveaux timbres, [1952]. Tatane, [1954]. Case (left to right): Viridis Candela: Cahiers du Collège de ’Pataphysique, no. 1 (April 1950). Le vieux de la montagne (Geneva: Éditions Connaître, [1957]). The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman, 2017. Boris Vian (1920–1959) and Stanley Chapman (1925–2009), ’Pataphysics? What’s That? (London: The London Institute of ’Pataphysics, 2006). The Morgan Library & Museum, purchased for the Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman Pataphysics Collection on the Gordon N. Ray Fund, 2019. PML 198472. Roger Shattuck (1923–2005) and Simon Watson Taylor (1923–2005), eds. “What is ’Pataphysics? [’Pataphysics Is the Only Science].” Cover after a design by Juan Esteban Fassio (1924–1980). Special issue, Evergreen Review 4, no. 13 (1960). The Morgan Library & Museum, gift of Robert J. and Linda Klieger Stillman, 2017.