Gisella Scotta, "Encarnacion", 2022. Photo: Natalia Marcantoni

A exposure What is it, visual poetry? on display until October 1st at Centro Cultural Kirchner, in Buenos Aires, the presents a set of historical and contemporary works by artists from Argentina, Brazil and Chile, which focus on the possibilities of language and words. The selection of works includes visual and sound texts, as well as an important archive of Argentine visual poetry. The curatorship was in charge of Guillermo Daghero, and the expography, by Anna Ferrari.

The exhibition pays homage to Edgardo Vigo (1928-1997), Argentine poet, performer and artist. Jorge Santiago Perednik (1952-2011) – poet, translator and essayist from the country – is also honored by What is it, visual poetry? The exhibition brings together more than 30 artists who approach visual poetry, among them other Argentine exponents of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Leon Ferrari, Mirtha Dermisache and Juan Carlos Romero. Among the Brazilians, Augusto de Campos stands out – who presents a video made in collaboration with the singer and composer Caetano Veloso – and Lenora de Barros.

The exhibition also highlights the production of experimental poetry made after the resumption of democracy in Argentina, between the 1980s and 1990s, by names such as Perednik and Carlos Estévez. Also from the end of the 20th century, Archivo Vórtice, directed by Fernando García Delgado, emerges as a paradigmatic case of the consolidation of visual poetry at the time, with an exceptional reservoir of visual poetry and mail art from Argentina and the world.

The visual and sound possibilities of the word are also seen through works produced in Chile, by Carlos Soto-Román, or in Spain, by Belén Gache, which in turn dialogue with artists working in Córdoba, such as Lucas Di Pascuale, Rosana Fernández , Huenú Peña or Gisella Scotta; with those who produce in Santa Fe, like Hernán Camoletto and Claudia del Río; or even with Buenos Aires creators, such as Ezequiel Alemian, Geraldina Blas, María Gamarra, Magdalena Jitrik, Jorge Macchi, Emiliano Miliyo, Leticia Obeid, Hugo Vidal and Ivana Vollaro.

According to Anna Ferrari, her expography project proposes a neutral architecture and a fluid route, “as if it were a giant visual poetry, in which we connected the different works, in harmony. A path where you read the show as you walk along it”. Almost the entire space has white walls. Anna tells arte!brasileiros that only some of them were painted black because it was something that would dialogue with specific works present in the selection. The architect also sought to have a minimum amount of furniture and walls between the rooms, so that the exhibition space would be well integrated.

To reinforce the scope implied by the question that entitles the exhibition, the CCK press release stresses that visual poetry is “close to the terms abstract poetry, concrete poetry, poetry of invention, experimental poetry, typography, minimalist poetry, semiotic poetry, poetry space, among so many other names, to designate something that fits in the word poetry, in its nature, in its whims and in its dispersion”. It also points out that poetry can be seen, heard and felt “in its fragments, gestures, signs, sounds and signs”, and, in the case of What is it, visual poetry?, such as “something on display”.

Read, below, the interview of Guillermo Daghero to arte!brasileiros:

arte!✱ - Since there are no ephemeris around Edgardo Vigo, why is the artist the starting point of this exhibition?

Guillermo Daghero – Initially, it was a curatorial invitation from the Centro Cultural Kirchner, which intends to give visibility to the poetry space by crossing the CCK’s literature area with the visual arts area, and it is precisely this that gives rise to one of the many ideas on the theme of visual poetry: an intermediary practice between poetry and the visual arts. The work of Edgardo Antonio Vigo is an indisputable reference in this exhibition because, in the mid-1950s, he began with these unconventional poetic practices, generating different actions that marked Argentine art. One of the past references for this exhibition is the Expo/International of New Poetry/69, which Vigo organized in March 1969 at the Visual Arts Center of the Instituto Torcuato Di Tella (CAV) in Buenos Aires. It is opportune to add the gesture of Haroldo de Campos, who in 1967 suggested in a letter written to Jorge Romero Brest, director of CAV, the organization of this exhibition, since Vigo in those years published Zero Diagonal, an avant-garde magazine in which he invited and showed what was current in terms of visual poetry in the rest of the world. Vigo and his work are a starting point, as well as Jorge Santiago Perednik, an important stimulus with the editions of the magazine xul in the 1980s and 1990s, when it spread, as it said on its cover, other poetry, and it is also the Vórtice de Poesía Visual Archive with the idea and direction of Fernando García Delgado where, in early 2000, it launched the meetings of Visual, Sound and Experimental Poetry along with other publications and calls. Contextualizing, briefly citing and naming these references is nothing more than highlighting and saluting that past when there was no place or places where the experimental in poetry took place, and Vigo was undoubtedly synonymous with that starting point.

arte!✱ From a retrospective point of view, What is it, visual poetry? is one of the most complete expositions about these experimentations with language in the argentine art scene in recent years? Or is its main feature the dialogues it proposes with Brazil and Chile?

Guillermo Daghero – The exhibition is presented in four very large rooms, separated from each other. The central part brings together some of the Argentine references that used this visual language, but it is a synthesis that shows a very limited and adjusted panorama of the past. In some way, all curation implies a cut, and it is my habit to show little or enough to get an idea of ​​what was, what is and also what is missing. I would respond by saying that the exhibition is incomplete in terms of visual poetry, also saying that it preserves and contains what Mallarmé said, think, that: otherwise. More than offering a complete panorama laden with works that account for the past in visual poetry, the idea of ​​curatorial selection crosses over the question of where the visual passes through in poetry. Expose in the four rooms and, indistinctly, the past with the present under the question What is it, visual poetry? leaves open the possibility of seeing poetry as something that thinks, and not something established. Emphasis and attention were given to the spatiality between the works in the rooms, and this was a joint effort with Anna Ferrari, in which we took care, above all, of the form and content of the work of each guest or in the exhibition collective. The display of texts requires an extra reading by the spectator in which silence or, in this case, blank spaces, also mean. They are different formats and techniques, which makes the show eclectic and with different meanings. Although there is a selection by rooms, there are no precise limits between the works, there is a kind of universal language in which everything is mixed through the look and reading that each one can do in the set of what is exposed.

arte!✱ - By the way, how close and how far are the visual poetry productions of these three countries?

Guillermo Daghero – Is this a theme that also appears in the exhibition? Maybe it's my own proximity, precocious and dazzling, when I found the concrete poetry of Brazil in a Unesco magazine called The Courier, and that arrived at my grandmother's house when I was a teenager. In this special issue of Brazil, I see under the name of poems some stripped-down textual drawings, crossed by signs and signs that obeyed graphic and geometric variations by Décio Pignatari and, on another page, a typographic diagram by Pedro Xisto, and I said to myself, astonished at the discovery, "what is that?". Later, in early 2000, I came into contact with Chilean poetry and discovered different poetic practices linked to a certain experimentalism in relation to the way of publishing and making poetry (I'm talking about Huidobro, Parra, Deisler, Zeller, Martínez, Millán, Vicuña and others), and it is at this time that I approach and start with some exchanges of ideas and conversations regarding the poetry of Andrés Ajens, Martín Gubbins, Felipe Cussen, Anamaría Briede, Martín Bakero and lately Carlos Soto Román, poet and performer, whom I invite to participate with the edition of Chile Project (2013), in print, and the video Erasure (2021). These two significant episodes made me not lose any connection with this form of poetic materiality that the concretists called poetry of invention, a term that I adopted to continue this practice and this search and associate it with the experiences of peers in Argentina and elsewhere. countries.

arte!✱ Is there a dialogue between generations in the exhibition? If so, what do these dialogues reveal?

Guillermo Daghero – Lenora de Barros, Ivana Vollaro and Augusto de Campos live together in the same space, they are three different and contemporary generations. Ivana's work Alfamouth (2004), is a video that contains five poetic clips in which Lenora de Barros and Arnaldo Antunes participate. At one end of the wall and in the same room, the work Poem (1989) by Lenora; and in the next room, The Pulsar (1975) by Augusto, in video version. The Pulsar belongs to the series Stelegrams (1975-1978) and is a poem set to music by Caetano Veloso for the book Black box (1975) by Augusto de Campos and Júlio Plaza, later included in long live boo (poetry 1949-1979). The version on display corresponds to an audiovisual production by Gonzalo Aguilar (2014).

arte!✱ - In the case of León Ferrari, are there peculiarities, distinctions, between the visual poetry he conceived between the years he lived in Argentina and those spent in Brazil?

Guillermo Daghero - León Ferrari's work is extensive and has its times and formats. Material was used from Augusto and Leon Ferrari Foundation and made a selection of graphic works with Andrea Wain. Some Letters were included in xerox copies and an artist's book, poems. Both productions correspond to the years of his residence in Brazil. Other texts are added in the style of illegible writing, which are inks and watercolors from 1997, years in which León actively participated in the experimental poetry meetings organized by Vórtice in Buenos Aires. Writing in itself and drawing as writing occupy an important place in León's work in his way of making art, it is there that the spellings mix in a totally visual component between letter and image.

arte!✱ - Could you name some artists or works present in the exhibition that represent the most daring experiences?

Guillermo Daghero – The works by Roxana Fernández, Huenú Peña and María Gamarra with Geraldine Blas have a particularity that I don't know how to define or explain why, but there is something in them that attracts. I associate this perception with its optical and sound components in Roxana's case, but they generate sensations that cannot be precisely defined, they exceed that information and message, so I translate that look as poetry or precisely as a thing... complex and simple things... are works that are difficult to interpret, that seduce and cause an effect.

arte!✱ - Do language, poetics and politics have the same weight in the production of these selected artists? Or does one of these aspects manifest itself more acutely in some than in others?

Guillermo Daghero – There are works, speeches and artistic trajectories that are more committed than others between the poetic and the political. The works of Romero, Vidal, di Pascuale, Jitrik, Macchi, Soto Román and Scotta, as a whole, are works of graphic and literary content in which historical memory and social denunciations appear.

What is it, visual poetry?
Until 1/10
Curator: Guillermo Daghero
Centro Cultural Kirchner – Sarmiento, 151 – Buenos Aires, Argentina
Visitation: Wednesday to Sunday, from 14 pm to 20 pm
Free admission


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