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Poetry Passage #5: L'esprit des poètes officiels et crochus

National Gallery in Prague – Veletržní Palace (Národní galerie v Praze – Veletržní palác), Dukelských hrdinů 47, Praha 7 - Holešovice, 170 00


17. 3. 2017 – 10. 9. 2017

Poetry Passage#5 draws parallel lines between French-English concrete and sound poet and performer, Henri Chopin (1922, Paris – 2008, Norfolk) and Czech visual artist and poet, Ladislav Novák (1925, Turnov – 1999, Třebič) who used to know each other and collaborate on several occasions, including Novak’s contributions to the review OU, published by Chopin between 1964 and 1974.

Poetry Passage#5 includes Novák’s groundbreaking compositions, amongst them, “La structure phonétique de la langue tchèque” (The Phonetic Structure of the Czech Language), 1970, where, according to Helena Capkova, “the voices reproduce a few Czech jaw-crackers or tongue twisters that are composed to create a wonderful sequence”. Forward and reverse tape manipulation enabled Novák to concentrate the listener’s attention more on the sensory push and pull of language than on the accumulation of semantic meaning. Novák’s audio-work is complemented by a selection of his work on paper, such as “Homage to John Cage” or “Silence” from the end of the 1960s and the 1970s, now in the collection of the National Gallery in Prague.

Poetry Passage#5 which borrows its title from one of Chopin’s typewriter poems, “L'esprit des poètes officiels et crochus” (1978), showcases a number of Chopin’s experiments with a typewriter and the act of writing. They are accompanied by a photo-collage, “The Jail” (1976), dedicated to his long-term friend and collaborator, Ladislav Novák. Additionally, a selection of Chopin’s “audio-poems” complements the presentation of haunting tape-manipulations by Ladislav Novák. 

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