Roland Sabatier, hypergraphic photograph, excerpt from the novel Gaffe au golf, 1964.
Hypergraphy, also called hypergraphics and metagraphics, is a method, central to the Lettrist movement of the 1950s, which encompasses a synthesis of writing and other modalities. Isidore Isou, the founder of Lettrism, said that “Metagraphics or post-writing, encompassing all the means of ideographic, lexical and phonetic notation, supplements the means of expression based on sound by adding a specifically plastic dimension, a visual facet which is irreducible and escapes oral labelling…” Hypergraphy merges poetry (text) with more visual (graphic) ways of communication such as painting, illustration or signs. The technique was first known as ‘metagraphics’, but later became known as 'hypergraphics’. Maurice Lemaître, a Lettrist theorist, defined it as communicating through the union of various forms of communication, as an “ensemble of signs capable of transmitting the reality served by the consciousness more exactly than all the former fragmentary and partial practices (phonetic alphabets, algebra, geometry, painting, music, and so forth).” The technique was used in Lettrist painting and cinema, in which letters were drawn directly onto the film. As the Lettrists became more experimental in their use of media, the technique was applied more to everyday life in critiquing urbanism and architecture in the Lettrist field of psychogeography.