Work as Play, Art as a Thought

Robert Filliou


Assemblage, 28 x 196 x 2 cm.
Materials: ink, paper, wood

Collection: Collection MAC, Lyon.

Excerpt of the conversation between Robert Filliou (RF) and Irmeline Lebeer (IL), Flayosc, France, August 1976.

RF: ‘Work as Play.’ We have two photos. We’ve already talked about this under ‘Genius Republic’ and ‘Principles of Poetical Economy’, and I illustrated it with some works. There’s one that’s almost a classic: I Hate Work Which Is Not Play [1970]. I made this construction while playing. And there’s another one that I’ll also find a photo of: Work As Play, Art As Thought [1973]. One refers to the other. We spoke about it so much that it’s enough to put in references. I pulled out the photo the day before yesterday, but I don’t find it now. It’s somewhere in this room.

RF: No, I say we’ll just make a reference. I’ve made so many games. There are two sides to the games: there’s the method, ‘Work as Play’, that you find throughout my activities. Lambert has written a whole book about ludic activities, his book about arteurs [‘artors’]. He has a whole chapter about my work. In Principles of Poetical Economy you also find ‘Work as Play’.
            There’s that side. But then there’s also the side of really making games. Le Jeu du moi (The Game of Me), for example, is a game with dice. I think I might have made it with [Karl] Gerstner, in 1960 or 1961. There are five dice. On each face of the dice, however one throws them, it says je = moi [‘I = Me’, or ‘Game = Me’]. Because it’s the same letters on all the faces, it’s simple. You can throw me any which way: backwards, sideways, I‘m always always L’Idiot de passage [‘The Idiot of Passing’, a name Filliou sometimes used for himself]. One of the last games I‘ve published is Leeds.

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