PROGRAMME International Symposium : Eroticism, Poetic Concretism, and Visuality (1960-1970). Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou. Paris September 17 – 18, 2021

Eroticism, Poetic Concretism, and Visuality (1960-1970)

Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris

September 17-18, 2021

An International Symposium organized by Maria Elena Minuto (Université de Liège; KU Leuven) and Mica Gherghescu (Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou)

Conference language: French and English

Open to the public. The Symposium is dedicated to the Professor Emeritus Klaus Peter Dencker.

“The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it
is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.
In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.”
Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation, 1964.

“Concrete Poems Just Are.”
Dom Sylvester Houédard, “Concrete Poetry and Ian Hamilton
Finlay,” Typographica no. 8, 1963.

The erotic imaginary and the relation between body and text nourished the daring experiences of neo-avantgarde visual poetics in the 1960s and 1970s by establishing themselves at the core of “verbi-voco-visual explorations” (McLuhan, 1967). In 1960, the Romanian-born French poet and artist Isidore Isou published Initiation à la Haute Volupté, a provocative experimental novel widely considered as a founding text of erotic art history and literature. Inspired by Dada and Surrealism, the author created one of the most compelling examples of hypergraphisme in post-war literature, presenting sophisticated interactions between erotic desire and verbo-visual experimentations. In using letters as a visual medium, Isou wanted to find out “how a letter could be just as beautiful as a figurative or non-figurative object in art.”

Isou´s book is just one of many examples of neo-avant-garde verbo-visual eroticism with examples ranging from Lettrist metagraph novels and Gerhard Rühm’s poetic montages (Erotic scale studies, 1966) to Dieter Roth’s artists’books (Mundunculum, 1967), and Ketty La Rocca’s photocollages (Intellettuali in collegio, 1965-66). While there is no dearth of studies on the connections between eroticism, gender, and visual arts (see Rachel Middleman, Radical Eroticism: Women, Art, and Sex in the 1960s, 2018; Alyce Mahon, Eroticism & Art, 2005; Robert C. Morgan, Carolee Schneemann, The Politics of Eroticism, 1997), there are at present no critical analyses available on the impact of erotic imagery on Concrete and Visual Poetry within the context of post-war visual poetics.

Thanks to a fruitful interinstitutional collaboration between Centre Pompidou, University of Liège, and KU Leuven, the conference aims at reconstructing and assessing the intriguing relationship between poetic eroticism and visuality in the 1960s and 1970s in a rich corpus of literary works, magazines, and ephemera starting with the Bibliothèque Kandinsky – Centre Pompidou collections and expanding the reflection to other relevant examples (e.g., L. Pignotti, Albo d’oro. Poesie visive d’amore, 1989; S. M. Martini, Il libro dei segni d´amore, 1979; E. Miccini, Eros & Ares, 1979; A. Spatola, La vergine di Norimberga, 1978; G. Baruchello and G. Lascault, Alphabets d´Éros, 1976; J. Blaine and J. F. Bory, “L´érotisme dans la poésie matérielle,” Approches no. 2, 1966).

Concrete and visual poems such as Sink Hole (Alain Arias-Misson, 1977), Eeroo-tic (Paul De Vree, 1971), Homage to Claus Bremer (Klaus Peter Dencker, 1970), Sweethearts (Emmett Williams, 1967), Rose-Eros (Timm Ulrichs, 1962-69), and Organismo (Décio Pignatari,1960) eroticised the space of printed pages and materials by creating typewriter compositions to be assembled and disassembled while picture-poems and verbal-visual writings such as Io sono io, io sono me (Tomaso Binga, 1977), Una questione di principio (Lucia Marcucci, 1965), and Non commettere sorpassi impuri (Ketty La Rocca, 1964-65) engaged with a feminized eroticism and radical sexuality by employing a large variety of different techniques (collages, cut-ups, fold-ins, ready-mades) to include context and media fragments.

These are just a few examples of an extraordinary body of intermedia and interdisciplinary works that are “neither word nor image alone but somewhere or something in between” (Kostelanetz, 1970) combining an analytical reflection on language with a “dialectical tension between textuality and visuality” (Goldsmith, 2008). Without losing sight of the vast cultural heritage and references of historical avant-gardes as well as of Beat Poetry, Fluxus and Situationist visual-erotic production, the symposium concentrates more specifically on some pivotal questions regarding the interrelationship between Eroticism, Poetic Concretism, and Visuality in neo-avant-garde experimental writings: What happens when eroticism encounters the visual forms of poetry and the verbal elements of art? How does erotic imagination work in Concrete and Visual Poetry and how does it inform our understanding of and experiences with? To what extent and in which ways does eroticism affect and trigger verbo-visual research, interartistic practices, and cross-disciplinary inquiries? How does the neo-avant-garde’s verbivocovisual poetry perform “desire in language” (Kristeva, 1982), and how does it still reverberate today through engaged visualities, performative, and activist bodies? In addition to keynote lectures and academic presentations, the conference will host poetry readings and performances in order to prompt an interdisciplinary and international debate on the issues, and to examine a unique body of works that illuminate the far-reaching conceptual and poetic implications of post-war verbovisual eroticism.

Concept_Eroticism, Poetic Concretism, and Visuality_1960-1970

Programme_Eroticism Poetic Concretism, and Visuality (1960-1970)

Abstracts and Biographies_Eroticism Poetic Concretism and Visuality (1960-1970)

Bibliography Eroticism, Poetic Concretism, and Visuality (1960-1970)

September 17, 2021, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm (Petite Salle – Centre Pompidou)

Bernard Blistène | Honorary Director, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou

Maria Elena Minuto | ULiège; KU Leuven
« Les choses du désir sollicitent l’œil » : Verbovisual Eroticism in Neo-Avant-Garde Experimental Poetry Magazines
Mica Gherghescu | Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou
Poetry against Form

Chair: Johan Pas | Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Antwerp

10:45 Film Screening of starfighter (1970) by Klaus Peter Dencker and Keynote speech by Margit Rosen | ZKM, Center
for Art and Media, Karlsruhe; Danube University, Krems
Zeitzeichenersatz. À propos de Klaus-Peter Dencker

11:15 Karen Di Franco | Chelsea College of Arts (UAL); University of Reading & Tate Britain, London
Concrete Erotics: Carolee Schneemann’s Parts of a Body House Book

11:45 Caroline Lillian Schopp | Universität Wien
Extimate Eroticism: On Excretion in Dieter Roth’s Material Poetics
12:15 Discussion
12:45 Break

Chair: Annalisa Rimmaudo | Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou

14:00 Keynote speech by Giuliana Pieri | Royal Holloway University of London
Eros, Body, and Female Agency in the Work of Ketty La Rocca

14:30 Eva Fabbris | Fondazione Prada, Milano and Pietro Rigolo | Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
“Attraverso la parola, il corpo gode” (Through the Word, the Body Achieves Pleasure): The Eroticism of Sound and Visual
Poetry according to Peppe Morra

15:00 Francesca Gallo | Università degli Studi “La Sapienza” di Roma
Séduction et ironie dans l’œuvre de Lucia Marcucci

15:30 Break

16:00 Chiara Agradi | Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne; École du Louvre, Paris
Photographie Polaroid et “nouvelle écriture à mesure de femme” dans la pratique artistique de Anna Oberto

16:30 Francesca Valentini | Universität zu Köln (a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities)
Desire, Visuality, and Sonority in the work of Giulia Niccolai and Patrizia Vicinelli

17:00 Discussion

17:30 Artist lectures by Jean-François Bory and Alain Arias-Misson (A Brief Interpolation of the Erotic Signifier)
Respondent: Jan De Vree, M HKA Museum, Antwerp

18:30 Conclusions

19:00 In the context of Festival EXTRA! : Award ceremony for the Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou Literary Prize 2021, and free visit of the exhibition “The 5 years of the Bernard Heidsieck-Centre Pompidou Literary Prize” (Forum -1)

September 18, 2021, 10:00 am – 6:30 pm (Bibliothèque Kandinsky)

Chair: Cristina De Simone | Université de Caen

10:00 Keynote speech by Mary Ann Caws | The Graduate Center, New York  Reading into the Concrete

10:30 Keynote speech by Livio Belloï | ULiège/FNRS/UR Traverses/CIPA and Michel Delville | ULiège/UR Traverses/CIPA
Les dessous de Mallock. Stratégies de l’effeuillage textuel dans l’œuvre de Tom Phillips

11:00 Anne Foucault | Université Paris Nanterre
Nouvelles voies érotiques: corps, voix et picto-poésie dans le dernier groupe surréaliste (1965-1969)

11:30 Christoph Benjamin Schulz | University of Applied Sciences, Düsseldorf
Homodelight & Phallicandy. Love and Same-Sex-Desire in Ferdinand Kriwet’s Visual Poetry

12:00 Discussion
12:30 Break

13:30 Sandra Guerreiro Dias | Universidade de Coimbra
Poetic Performance and Erotic Corporeality in Salette Tavares

14:00 Amir Brito Cadôr | Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Written Body: Brazilian Concrete Poetry in the 60s and 80s

14:30 Adrien D. Casimiro| Université d’Artois
L’éros concrétiste brésilien ou le dépassement d’une aporie

15:00 Discussion
15:30 Break

16:00 Artist lectures by Gianfranco Baruchello (Le désir, les rêves, les images: les langages du corps pensant), Lamberto
Pignotti (La super arma fra parole e immagini) and Julien Blaine (L’écriture originaire)
Respondent: Giorgio Zanchetti | Università degli Studi di Milano

17:30 Collective reading activated and animated by Benjamin Thorel (After 8 Books, Paris) together with the participants

18:30 Discussion and Conclusions

Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris

Host Institution: Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou, Paris. September 17-18, 2021.

Conference language: French and English.

Scientific Partnerships: Université de Liège, Belgium – Department of Modern Languages and Department of Historical Sciences; KU Leuven, Belgium – Departement of French, Italian and Spanish Literature.

In collaboration with: the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Poétique Appliquée (CIPA, ULiège); the Service d’histoire de l’art de l’époque contemporaine (SHAÉC, ULiège); the UR Traverses (ULiège).

The Symposium is organized thanks to the support of the Fund for Scientific Research (F.R.S.–FNRS)

Scientific Committee

Julie BAWIN (Université de Liège); Bernard BLISTENE (Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou); Vincent BROQUA (Université Paris 8); Michel DELVILLE (Université de Liège); Mica GHERGHESCU (Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Musée national d’art moderne – Centre Pompidou); Maria Elena MINUTO (Université de Liège; KU Leuven); Anne REVERSEAU (Université Catholique de Louvain); Bart VAN DEN BOSSCHE (KU Leuven); Giorgio ZANCHETTI (Università degli Studi di Milano)


Citer ce billet
Mica Gherghescu (2021, 23 juin). PROGRAMME International Symposium : Eroticism, Poetic Concretism, and Visuality (1960-1970). Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou. Paris September 17 – 18, 2021. Le carnet de la BK. Consulté le 26 mai 2024, à l’adresse

Mica Gherghescu

Docteure en histoire de l'art. Responsable de l'accueil scientifique et de la programmation, Bibliothèque Kandinsky, Mnam-Cci, Centre Pompidou

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