Linguaviagem: A Poesia Concreta Dialogue
January 23 – February 18, 2016
William Allen on Poesia Concreta at Los Angeles Contemporary Archive (LACA)
2245 E Washington Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90021 | February 12 at 7:30 pm
Curators’ reception at Actual Size Los Angeles
741 New High St, Los Angeles, CA 90012 | February 13, 7:00- 10:00pm
Actual Size Los Angeles is pleased to present Linguaviagem: A Poesia Concreta Dialogue, an exhibition of Brazilian Poesia Concreta and European Konkrete Poesie (Concrete Poetry). This exhibition emphasizes the roles played by Brazilian poets in establishing an international movement that went on to influence the methodologies of European poets and artists, featuring printed matter, manuscripts, key documents, photographs, prints and publications by Augusto de Campos and the Noigandres group; Wlademir Dias-Pino and the Poema Processo group; Eugen Gomringer, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Ken Cox, Dom Sylvester Houédard and Jiří Valoch.
The precursor of Concrete Poetry was the ‘concrete’ (abstract) art of Theo Van Doesburg and Max Bill. Based on the perceived principles of 'concrete' art, the Brazilian poets began using words constructed to purvey one core essential meaning or idea. Poesia Concreta’s conception as an international movement began in 1955 when Décio Pignatari from Brazil met with Bolivian born Eugen Gomringer in Ulm, Germany. Upon returning to Brazil, Pignatari together with Haroldo and Augusto de Campos, Wlademir Dias Pino and Ferreira Gullar held the first exhibitions of Poesia Concreta in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in 1956 and 1957.
Displayed as the centrepiece of the exhibition, Augusto de Campos’s paper sculpture Poemcube – Linguaviagem  encourages the exploration of the possibilities of language. The Poemcube itself is a cube shape with three letters screen printed on each side forming LIN / GUA / VIA / GEM - Lingua translates to tongue, Linguagem to Language and Viagem to voyage. This voyage of words moving through space unfolds through works from Brazil’s Poema Processo or Process Poetry movement, alongside the early Typewriter Art of Czech poet Jiří Valoch and the sculptural realizations of Concrete Poetry seen in the work of European practitioners Ian Hamilton Finlay (Scottish) and Ken Cox (British).
Concrete Poetry will also be displayed and available for purchase at the William Allen Word & Image stand at Printed Matter’s LA Book Fair, taking place at MOCA February 12-14, 12-5pm
Linguaviagem: A Poesia Concreta Dialogue is co-curated by William Allen and Ann Harezlak.
William Allen has been a specialist in Concrete Poetry since 1988, in 2015 he curated Ken Cox – Poetry Machines at Chelsea Space in London, leading to the addition of Cox’s Three Graces (Latin Version, 1968) to the Tate Collection. The items in the exhibition are loaned from William Allen who presently is working on a Dom Sylvester Houédard archive.
Ann Harezlak, a curator and art historian, has assisted in the development of major archival projects and Special Collections at University of the Arts London, Tate Archive, the Henry Moore Foundation and the Ian Hamilton Finlay & Michael Harvey Archive. Harezlak’s most recent projects include: Staging Concrete Plastic, Armseye, Los Angeles (2016); The Promise of Something and Nothing, Los Angeles (2015); and Henry Moore in the Gemma Levine Archive, Henry Moore: Sculptural Process and Public Identity, Tate, London (2015).
Open by appointment from January 23 – February 18, 2016
Open during Printed Matter's LA Art Book Fair, February 12 – 14, 2016 (12 – 6pm)