Exhibitions

Concrete poetry display

CONCRETE

28 July - 24 September 2016

Our exhibition for the Edinburgh Art Festival 2016.

As an international movement, Concrete Poetry began in the early 1950s. Avoiding the descriptive agenda and discursive flow of conventional verse, it was defined by one of its founders, Eugen Gomringer, as ‘a constellation’ or ‘a play-area of fixed dimensions’. The Brazilian ‘Pilot Plan for Concrete Poetry’ (1954) states that ‘Concrete Poetry begins by taking into account graphic space as a structural agent’. If the original model of this space was the page, it quickly expanded into the poster poem, wall poems, visual and sound poems, to large architectural installations. Words, syllables and even individual letters were treated as materials in a search to redefine what a poem could be.

CONCRETE  attempts to illustrate the conscious, but also the perhaps subliminal importance of visual art to the early Concrete poets, such as the relationship between the American minimalist poet Robert Lax and Ad Reinhardt, the influence of the Suprematist works of Kasimir Malevich on Ian Hamilton Finlay, and the impact of the Concrete Art movement on Eugen Gomringer.

Bob Cobbing, from ‘beethoven today’ (1970), from Gloup and Woup (Arc, 1974)

Augusto de Campos, ‘Vida…’ (1957), from Six Concrete Poems: Brighton Festival, 1967 (School of Graphics, Chelsea School of Art, 1967)

Heinz Gappmayer, [untitled], from Poor.Old.Tired.Horse, 14, edited by Ian Hamilton Finlay (Wild Hawthorn Press, 1961-67)

Ian Hamilton Finlay, ‘homage to Malevich’, from Rapel (Wild Hawthorn Press, 1963)

Eugen Gomringer, ‘silence’ (1953), from Six Concrete Poems: Brighton Festival, 1967 (School of Graphics, Chelsea School of Art, 1967)

Mary Ellen Solt, ‘Moon Shot Sonnet’, from Poor.Old.Tired.Horse, 14, edited by Ian Hamilton Finlay (Wild Hawthorn Press, 1961-67)

Jiří Valoch, [untitled]  /  Václav Havel, ‘Estrangement’, from Concrete poetry: a world view, edited by Mary Ellen Solt (Indiana University Press, 1968)

Ian Hamilton Finlay, ‘tendresse’, from Telegrams from my Windmill (Wild Hawthorn Press, 1964)

Tom Edmonds, ‘keep out’ (painting poem, acrylic on canvas, 30” x 30”), from Gloup and Woup (Arc, 1974)

Gerhard Ruehm, ‘lieb’ (1957-8), from Six Concrete Poems: Brighton Festival, 1967 (School of Graphics, Chelsea School of Art, 1967)

Dom Sylvester Houédard, ‘typestract’ (1971)  /  Alan Riddell, ‘Homage to Vasarely’ (1971), from Typewriter Art, edited by Alan Riddell (London Magazine, 1975)

Edwin Morgan, ‘opening the cage’, from The Second Life (Edinburgh University Press, 1968)

Arrigo Lora-Totino, ‘infinite’, from Anthology of concretism, Chicago Review, Vol. 19, No. 4, 1967

Kenelm Cox, ‘amor’ from The Three Graces, from Gloup and Woup (Arc, 1974)

Nicholas Zurbrugg, ‘alphabet poem’, from An international exhibition of concrete poetry from the University of East Anglia. December 1975 - January 1976.

Robert Lax, ‘Abstract poem’, from 33 Poems (New Directions, 1988)

Augusto de Campos, ‘Linguaviagem’, cube poem (Brighton Festival, 1967)

Ad Reinhardt (writing and script) & Brigit Riley (drawings and layout), from Poor.Old.Tired.Horse, 18, edited by Ian Hamilton Finlay (Wild Hawthorn Press, 1961-67)

Hansjörg Mayer, from First Alphabet (1961-2), from Typo: printing process pictures and typographic works from the '50s and '60s (Walther König, 2014

Robert Lax, ‘for Ad Reinhardt’, from An international exhibition of concrete poetry from the University of East Anglia. December 1975 - January 1976.

Also on display: Ian Hamilton Finlay, ‘ajar’ (screenprint) (Wild Hawthorn Press, 1967)

All items on display are from the Scottish Poetry Library Special Collections.

To view the Special Collections, please make an appointment with the Librarian, Julie Johnstone, julie.johnstone@spl.org.uk