June 30, 2017 - ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe - Poetic Expansions
June 30, 2017

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe

Design: Demian Bern.

Poetic Expansions
July 27–October 22, 2017

Opening: July 26, 7pm, ZKM_Foyer

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Lorenzstr. 19
76135 Karlsruhe

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With six artists, selected by Peter Weibel, Poetic Expansions presents one of the most significant trends in 20th century art: the expansion of the arts. From the 1950s to the 1970s, new "inter-media" forms of art evolved through eliminating the boundaries between text, image, book, object, theater, and music. Assimilating ideas from the classical avant-garde, art opened up to new materials and technical media.

It is the aim of the exhibition series Poetic Expansions to demonstrate how literature provided essential impulses for this development. Poets, such as Nanni Balestrini, Reinhard Döhl, Helmut Heißenbüttel, Hansjörg Mayer, Gerhard Rühm, and Konrad Balder Schäuffelen, extended the innovations of Stéphane Mallarmé, the Futurists, and Dadaists—innovations which had liberated text from the linearity and constraints of narration.

These word-artists evolved into image and sound artists—as letters, signs, and sounds became the material for typographic collages, for montages of sound, text, and image. Poetic Expansions presents the media-based revolution of the arts born of an inquiry into linguistic communication—at the vantage point of the end of the Gutenberg galaxy and the beginning of the Turing galaxy.

The exhibition Reinhard Döhl: Alles ist möglich. Alles ist erlaubt. [Everything Is Possible. Anything Goes.] showcases the writer, poet, artist, literary and media studies scholar Reinhard Döhl (1934–2004), a pioneer of experimental poetry and computer and Net literature—an artist of all genres. Döhl studied German philology, philosophy, history, and political science in Göttingen. In late 1959 he transferred to the University of Stuttgart at the invitation of the philosopher Max Bense, who was a professor there. Döhl wrote his PhD thesis on Jean (Hans) Arp, engaged with interdisciplinary themes at an early stage, and completed his studies in 1979 with a Habilitation thesis titled New German Literature with Special Reference to the Media. From 1965 until his death in 2004 Döhl taught at the University of Stuttgart, initially as a research assistant and then as Professor of German Studies. In the 1960s Döhl was a member of the Stuttgart Group around Max Bense. Döhl’s very considerable literary and artistic body of work includes short prose texts, lyric poetry, concrete and visual poetry, audio dramas, Mail art, collages, paintings, Japanese calligraphy, and Net art projects.

The exhibition Helmut Heißenbüttel: schreiben, sammeln, senden [writing, collecting, broadcasting] presents the German author Helmut Heißenbüttel (1921–96) as a writer, who worked in various media: as a radio editor at the Süddeutsche Rundfunk Stuttgart public broadcaster, he headed the "Radio-Essay" department (1959–81) and launched the program series "Studio for New Literature," "Dialogue" and "Authors’ Music." A selection of broadcasting programs is available at a listening-station in the exhibition. After his debut as an author with Kombinationen (1954), Heißenbüttel published a series of ten Textbooks (1960–87) and five Projects (1970–80), which applied the principles of fragment, collage, and montage to literature. In 1969, Heißenbüttel received the prestigious Georg Büchner Award for his texts which frequently dispensed with punctuation altogether. As an excessive listener to and collector of records, he reviewed new releases in the German journals by widely different composers such as John Cage, John Coltrane, and Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, who to him were all on the same “plane of sound” which is reconstructed in a display of record-covers from Heißenbüttel’s large collection. Together with artists Armin Sandig, Rupprecht Geiger, and Thomas Lenk he created text-graphic-editions.

With the exhibition Konrad Balder Schäuffelen: sprache ist fuer wahr ein koerper [language is a body, forsooth] ZKM will present for the first time a retrospective of Konrad Balder Schäuffelen's (1929–2012) oeuvre based on his artworks that came into the ZKM collection in 2013 such as experimental poems, books as sculptural objects, emblem-assemblages, collages, and sound-installations. The show will shed insight into the multi-faceted interests and artworks of Schäuffelen who worked as a poet, visual and sculptural artist, translator, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. His presence at poetry lectures, his participation at the Kassel documenta in 1977, his collaborative artistic projects as well as his solo exhibitions unveiled a body of work that comprises of compelling poetic and sculptural formations that can be enticing and strikingly repelling as well. In Schäuffelen's cosmos written and spoken language meet objects, matter, and material on all semantic levels of the literal, the associative, the idiomatic or the metaphoric. Inspired by Surrealism, Fluxus, baroque and gaudy combination techniques as well as by cultural and linguistic history Schäuffelen's constellations of obsolete words and outworn objects do not promise an idyllic outlook onto the world but offers instead an anti-escapist perspective that gets the viewer involved.

Curators of the exhibitions are Anett Holzheid (K.B. Schäuffelen), Holger Jost (H. Heißenbüttel), Jens Lutz and Miriam Stürner (R. Döhl).

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
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