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Collections / April 11, 2017—

About Concrete Poetry
A project by Maurizio Nannucci (Zona Archives, Florence)



Concrete poetry designates both an artistic and literary movement that emerged on the international scene during the 1950s. This experimental form of poetry plays on the word’s matter itself, while also exploring the notion of space in which the word is inscribed. This is a visual form of poetry where meaning and interpretation are cast aside in favor of immediacy and simplicity. Language is no more considered as a medium, but as a material, a true playground where the poet can freely compose. Eugen Gomringer, a figure from this movement, underlined the fact that the poem aims at being a “reality in itself” and at referring only to itself and nothing else.
The visible is just as important as the readable.


Among the objects exhibited in this cabinet (by Franz Mon, Carl Andre, Augusto de Campos, Henri Chopin, Ernst Jandl, Dom Sylvester Houedard, Maurizio Nannucci, Dick Higgins, Dieter Roth, Robert Filliou, Emmett Williams, etc.), one can find artists’ books, poetry volumes, silkscreen prints, cards, posters, ephemeral documents, and rare editions–all testifying of the multiplicity of media on which Concrete poetry was developed, and offering an overview of its world reach. These works have been entrusted to the MAMCO by Zona Archives (Florence). This organization, led by Maurizio Nannucci and Gabriele Detterer, has collected more than 30,000 documents on art and avant-garde practices which are regularly presented in libraries and museums worldwide.

The exhibition About Concrete Poetry gives an overview of this rich collection. It also focuses on the  avant-garde movements which were developing at the same period and which present similarities with Concrete poetry, in particular in the work of Conceptual artists. This presentation allows to glimpse at the numerous ways in which contemporary practices have by-passed the subjective imagery with the help of textual material.


The project is generously supported by the Fondation Leenaards.








View of the Concrete Poetry Cabinet, MAMCO, 2017.
Zona Archives collection, Florence.
Photo: Annik Wetter—MAMCO, Geneva.