Five years after the exhibition From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word, and after a disastrous pandemic, the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève presents the catalogue for this complex, ambitious project. Even at such a remove, we thought it was important to retrace the fundamental stages of this event through critical essays, images of the works and installations, and the calendar of performances and poetry readings. The reason is simple: despite the undeniable weight of images in today’s world, a keen interest in writing — rather surprisingly — has recently become a hallmark of many young artists’ work. They use writing as a tool to understand the world and as the cornerstone of a critical method, analyzing the present and creating a performative, politically engaged language.
From Concrete to Liquid to Spoken Worlds to the Word explored the emancipation of language through historical and contemporary positions, from the earliest typographic and sound works of concrete poets to poetic experiments in the digital era. This diverse exhibition was accompanied by a series of readings, performances, and screenings revealing the porosity between art and poetry. Poetry readings and recitals in museums, performances centered on the importance of the text and its recitation, videos where poetic language takes on a role that rivals the visual component: the art of our time appears to be deeply and intimately rooted in words.
The program of the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, while tracing this link between word and image to the concrete poetry of the 1960s and ’70s, tried on the one hand to examine this renewed artistic interest in the word, and on the other to show how the web and social media are introducing new ways of making poetry. The underlying aim was to explore how art and poetry shape each other in an increasingly interconnected world through ongoing, rhapsodic communication.