Poetry of the street and poetry of transparency 1 Favorite 



Apr 3 1971



"At the end of 1969, Alain Arias-Misson invited us to join him in a Public Poem project, which he called “A MADRID” (in Madrid, Spain) . If that was not the first “Public Poem” in history, since Alain had experimented with the concept for the first time in Brussels a couple of years earlier (Vietnam), it was the first in the sense that the actors involved with the action consisted on the one hand of a group of political activists who carried the huge (human-sized) letters and, on the other hand, of some of the principal streets and squares of the city, such as the Paseo de Recoletos and la Castellana, the Plaza de Cibeles and the Carrera de San Jeronimo. The streets and squares of Madrid served as the support (page!) or frame for A MADRID but also as a chorus; and in accordance with the nature of the sites, monuments, buildings visited on that day of February 1970, they took on the signifying permutations enabled by the sequence of letters in A MADRID: such as DADA, MARIA, MARINA, DAR, RIADA, RIMA… Individuals, streets and squares, letters, words.. all caught up in an effervescent, playful and provocative poetic action as we crossed through the center of the city until we arrived with ARMA (weapon) in front of the Palacio de las Cortes (the Spanish Congress), at which time the police assumed their expected role, and put a full stop to the Poem. But this “full stop” was very relative, as that action could be said to be the point of departure of the grand career of public poet pursued by Alain ever since.

A year later, on April 3rd 1971, Alain would carry out his second public poem entitled PALABRAS FRAGILES (or “fragile words”), in which he blocked a central street of Madrid with a giant, inscribed (fragile words) plastic sheet, the poem realized by cars bursting through the plastic, poeticizing the street…

…And a year later, at the end of June 1972, Alain and I, with my group of “poetic agitators” arrived in Pamplona in order to take part in that festival, unique in the history of the avant-garde: the “Encounters of Pamplona”, bringing together experimental artists from around the world in all the disciplines for the first time to Spain. This event was brought back to public view recently in a magnificent exhibition at the National Museum of Reina Sofia (MNCARS), Madrid…, Alain, with his human-sized punctuation signs, assisted by the “poetic agitators”, carried out his accurately designated “Punctuation Poem of Pamplona” linking institutions (Parliament) and monuments (Hemingway), latrines and police in a clearly subversive manner…
…When Alain situates his public poetry in relation to ritual (as in PALABRAS FRAGILES), and I would dare say as a sort of poetic liturgy, he anticipates certain aspects of his conception of his “object” poetry in the form of three-dimensional and transparent containers, such as his Theater Boxes, his Cages of Desire- or, in this exhibition, his translucent Plastico-Concretism, created in New York in the 1970’s. He has disseminated his words here throughout the transparency of plexiglas objects or multi-layered acrylic compositions: a pure space of poetic writing—in which letters and words, figures and morphemes and spaces inter-related in unexpected forms and illuminate new ways of feeling and understanding life…
" - an excerpts from a text written by Ignacio Gomez de Liaño for the catalogue of the exhibition.

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