International Symposium Embodied Words

Event Details

Embodied Words

Concrete and Visual Poetry in Italy and Belgium in the 60s and 70s

Italian Cultural Institute, Brussels
May 24 – 25, 2018

Stemming from Italian and Russian Futurism, German Dadaism, French Simultanéisme and Lettrism, the analytical
reflection on language and the dialectical tension between words and images have deeply informed art and literature in the
second half of the twentieth century. Fostering a total intermediality, whose trespassing dynamics integrates “theater,
photography, music, painting, typography, cinematographic techniques, and every other aspect of culture, in a utopian
ambition to return to origins” (A. Spatola, 1969), the international experiences of Concrete and Visual Poetry have critically
re-elaborated the great history of the Avant-Garde, radicalizing the controversial relationship between verbal and
figurative arts.

Conceived and organized by Maria Elena Minuto and Dalila Colucci, Embodied Words aims at reconstructing and
evaluating a unique chronotope of the artistic and literary Neo-Avant-Garde, focusing on Italy and Belgium in the Sixties and
Seventies, whose original exchanges led to the production of fundamental anthologies, art magazines, and livres d’artiste.
Publications such as Poëzie in fusie. Visueel Konkreet Fonetisch (1968), Lotta Poetica (1971-75), Il Libro 1968-1971 (1971),
and exhibitions like Sound Texts Concrete Poetry Visual Texts (1970) and Artist’s Books, cento libri d’artista cento (1978) are
just a few examples of this rich corpus, still largely unexplored. How have these exceptional works radically renewed the
semiology of the book and the substance of poetry? How did the intellectual contacts between the two countries spread and
fueled the revolution of and on the artistic and literary language? What is it that connects and divides the theoretical and
formal elaborations arising from such dynamics with respect to Pop Art, Fluxus’s experimentations, and Conceptual Art?

The contributions of art historians and literary critics, enhanced by the presence of some of the protagonists of that time,
will thus focus on the entanglements and the specificities at the very core of Poetic Concretism and Visuality: the materiality
of writing; the ability to read words and images as manifestations of a single thought; the pursuit of a metalinguistic
dimension; the speculation on the relationships among art, literature, and ideology. From Paul De Vree’s De Tafelronde to the
intersemiotic experiments carried out by Emilio Villa and Martino Oberto, from Alain Arias-Misson’s Poèmes publics to
Vincenzo Agnetti’s de-écritures, this conference rediscovers a poetic and artistic universe of extraordinary reach, “to feel with
ears and eyes” (A. Lora Totino, 1972).

Information and contacts

May 24, 15.30 – 18.00 / May 25, 10.00 – 18.30
Open to the public
Language: English
Schedule symposium

Italian Cultural Institute
Rue de Livourne, 38 – 1000 Brussels
Tel. +32 (0)2 533 27 20