Three poets were invited by Freek Lomme, director and chief curator of Onomatopee, to invite an artist, curate the show, choose a graphic designer, take over PR and edit a book.
First of all to unveil the poetic momentum within an individual artistic practice, for we may suppose poets are better at revealing this as pr-employees or curators.
Second for we have to reise the hetronomy in the arts: the changing roles, expectations and blurring responsabilities in the arts.
Finaly, for the worth of ’autonomous visual capacities’ and ’inherent value of art’ is still spread by its literal words. Many put it forth bluntly, like the city of Eindhoven who targets their artistic policy as of ’inherent value’ or the province art’s policy claiming ’autonomous visual capacities of art’ to be essential in their judgement. They are, evidentlkey, cherishing the sentiments attached or the aura it provides.
Meanwhile, the exact parameters of this notion, effectiveley the poetic momentum, has hardly been tested. Nor have these parameters’ politics been shared in-depth with the audience of art. Onomatopee believes that we need to reason with the voices of our visual culture, and considers creative practices to be design practices, since they revolve around motives and means.
I’ve always been fascinated by the rhetorical strength of ’The Poetic Momentum’: the moment one is supposed to undergo when confronted by an artwork, when overwhelmed by sentiments and sublime grasps. Still, this notion has never before been so obsolete.
We’re living in an information age; we know how information works. We cannot just think visual data is there for God’s sake. Still God’s sake is present when we start positioning ourselves within our visual surrounding. This moment is often described as poetic.
In order to maintain the richness of the cultural capital acquired over the last decades, we should at least define its parameters!
With this project Onomatopee objectifies to unveil the poetic domain in the presentation of visual art: what exactly is poetic in the art on display, how can this be envisioned and experienced and how can one bring this out to the public? These are the questions we put forth to the selected three poets, to be realised within their guest role as curator.
The project consisted of three separated projects wherein a poet operated as a curator, the artistic leader of an exhibition. The poet introduced an artist for a solo exhibition and represents this artist through the work usually done by the curator and the PR employee. Therefore the poet arranges textual layers like press releases, hall texts, catalogue texts and so forth. The poet also leads the installation within the exhibition space, edits the content and guides the design of the exhibition PR and catalogue.
Within the field of visual art presentation, museums, presentation spaces and galleries we encounter a growing tendency towards heteronomous roles: the PR employee, the curator and artists, to name a few key figures, tend to blur their roles. They all interfere in each other’s work, as everyone nowadays seems to be tolerated when interfering with another’s work. And this is justified on behalf of this project since, when art, as is often been said, really revolves around poetry than its pure logics to envision this poetical domain!
Therefore, A Task for Poetry questions both the parameters of the poetic and the institutional frame that represents it.
The first edition, guest curated by poet Jannah Loontjens, brought out the role of the subject, as actor engaging within this sphere. The core group of the poet, artist and graphic designer brought out their authorship alongside one another, as a variety of layers to be read parallel and related to one another. During the process of their production, they very much responded to each other’s processes, influencing and inspiring one another. Eventually, during the opening, Jannah brought in actress Nataliya Golofsastova. Nataliya and Jannah performed the poems of Jannah, specially written for this project, in a mix of personal style: acted and poetically read. This illustrates the roles of each person involved, from author’s to visitors, each person engaged does have his own stance, partly personal, partly taken along.
The second edition focussed on the physical. Erik Spinoy considers his poetry to be an almost material act: the meaning and the form of the words blend together in the ink on the paper. Therefore he invited artist Tamara Van San, since she’s very much dedicated to the voice of form, with all it’s in depth forces and overwhelming capacities. Graphic designer Remco van Bladel uses these visual qualities to highlight specific spheres and would therefore add up to this sum. Not to simply pass through the physical, Erik Spinoy wrote an incisive text on the topic, unveiling specific properties in Tamara’s and thereby generating a vibrant and strong narrative.
Poet Maria Barnas invited Amalia Pica. Tempted by her playful work, her loose approach of the relation between the signified and the signifier, of matter and the story attached to that matter, they engaged in a play of storytelling. Amalia spoke, via drawings with found materials, of Robinson Crusoe, copying old book covers. Gestures of empathy spoke via these remakes, giving birth to lively storylines. Accordingly, Felix Weigand started producing a bundle of booklets, putting forth the dialogue of this play.
All together, what seemed to become an ontological quest, ended up determining the poetic as a verb, a verb of acts, engagement, imagination and empathy. A verb that crosses boundaries of dispositions and formal voices. A Task for Poetry showcased the value of the poetic through the engagement of in depth experiences and reflections, on the fracture of the real and the fictional yet always focussed on the voices put forth. The project points out our capacity to debate our environment through imagination and states that we need to reason with those parameters in order to be able to engage in the first place. A collaboration of mixed disciplines is not just an exchange of the appeared external, but contains specified stances (#1), specified matter (#2) and specified acts (#3)!