September 9, 2011 - Kunstverein Langenhagen - Natalie Czech’s Hidden Poems
September 9, 2011

Natalie Czech’s Hidden Poems

Natalie Czech, 3, “A Small Bouquet by Frank O’Hara,” 2011.
Series of 7 works, oil pastel on C-prints, each 85 x 60 cm.*

Natalie Czech
Hidden Poems
25 August–9 October 2011

Artist talk:
Sunday, 9 October 2011, 3.30 p.m.

Kunstverein Langenhagen
Walsroder Strasse 91 A
D- 30851 Langenhagen, Germany
T + F: +49 (0)511 77 89 29
mail [​at​],

In her photographic works, Natalie Czech examines the relationship between text and image, looking at how words evoke and interpret images, while also investigating questions of authorship, subjectivity, documentation, and contextualization.

In 2010 she received the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach Award for Contemporary Photography for her ongoing series, Hidden poems. Illustrated pages from magazines, newspapers or picture books provide the raw materials for this series. Natalie Czech highlights individual letters and words in the respective texts to reveal the existence of a ‘hidden’ poem. The poems come from, among others, E.E. Cummings, Jack Kerouac and Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. Like a quick thought—a literary snapshot—they appear within the context of the page, rattling the semantic integrity of the original text. The result is a text within the text, which, like a coded message or an unconscious impulse, unsettles the very fabric of the text within which it is inscribed.

For the series, A Small Bouquet by Frank O’Hara, produced for the Kunstverein Langenhagen, Natalie Czech uses calligrams in an attempt to confront and intertwine text and image. She reverses the process established for Hidden poems of inscribing a poem into an existing text structure. The source material is not a pre-existing text fragment, but a picture poem. Natalie Czech invited seven writers—Andrew Berardini, Julien Bismuth, Maia Gianakos, Leslie-Ann Murray, Mick Peter, Nathania Rubin and Alix Rule—to each write a text that contains the same calligram by the American poet, Frank O’Hara (1926–66). The texts were precisely composed around the calligram, so as to embed it in their very fabric, and thus dissolve its iconicity. Natalie Czech presents these texts as photographs of book pages and re-presents the calligram by marking its component words in the photographs.

Natalie Czech (b. 1976) lives and works in Berlin. She has received numerous awards and scholarships, her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions in Europe and the USA. This year her work can be seen in exhibitions at, among others, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf and at C / O Berlin.

The exhibition was generously funded by
Foundation Lower Saxony & Ministry of Science and Culture Lower Saxony

*Image above:
Courtesy Natalie Czech.

Kunstverein Langenhagen
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