October 9, 2009 - Serpentine Galleries - Poetry Marathon
October 9, 2009

Poetry Marathon

Serpentine Gallery Manifesto Marathon 2008. Photograph © 2009 Mark Blower.

Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon​
Major names come together for two days of poetry premieres and performances

17 – 18 October 2009

Kensington Gardens,
London W2 3XA


The Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon is an ambitious two-day poetry event taking place in London during Frieze Art Fair week and featuring unique performances from leading poets, writers, artists, philosophers, scholars and musicians.

An international group of major figures will be brought together to perform in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009, designed by architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the acclaimed Japanese practice SANAA. The event will include performances of new work, collaborations, discussions and experiments.

The Poetry Marathon will include contributions from Vito Acconci, Etel Adnan, Mathias Augustyniak and Michael Amzalag, Caroline Bergvall, Kenneth G. Bostock with Pablo León de la Barra and Cibelle, Boulevard Magenta/Enrique Juncosa, Stuart Brisley, Eleanor Bron, Nathan Cash Davidson, Keren Cytter with Andrew Kerton, Charlie Dark, Tacita Dean, Jimmie Durham, Dominic Eichler, Tracey Emin, Brian Eno, Mark van Eyck, James Fenton, Olivier Garbay, Gilbert & George, John Giorno, Édouard Glissant, Kenneth Goldsmith, Eugen Gomringer, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Alasdair Gray, Tim Griffin, Richard Hell, Geoffrey Hill, Sue Hubbard (presented by Susan Hiller), Karl Holmqvist, Michael Horovitz, Ranjit Hoskote, Grace Jones, Scott King with George Shaw, August Kleinzahler, Nick Laird, Sean Landers, Monika Lichtenfeld, Liliane Lijn, Sara MacKillop, Tom McCarthy with Henry Blofeld, Jonas Mekas with Edward Eke, Maria Mirabal, Eileen Myles, Daljit Nagra, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Philippe Parreno, Don Paterson, Holly Pester, Olivia Plender with Craig Burnett, Jeremy Reed with Itchy Ear, David Robilliard read by the Robilliards (Leo D. Burley and Rose Turner), Gerhard Rühm, Barry Schwabsky, Nancy Spero, Mladen Stilinović, The Bow-Wow Shop/Michael Glover, UbuWeb, Agnès Varda, Franz West, Saul Williams and Cerith Wyn Evans.

There is a long and vivid history of exchange between artists and poets. Guillaume Apollinaire made a literary connection to Cubism with his great work of ‘visual poetry’ Calligrammes: Poems of War and Peace 1913-1916. In the same period, Hugo Ball wrote the Dada Manifesto (1916), a movement in which the poet, essayist and performance artist Tristan Tzara was also closely involved. A decade later, in 1924, André Breton, the proponent of ‘automatic writing’, published La Révolution surréaliste (The Surrealist Revolution).

In the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism was an art movement with strong creative connections with writing and poetry of the time, from the work of poets Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery to artist Robert Motherwell’s influential essays on the New York School. Later, in the 1960s, the international artistic network Fluxus formed innumerable close links between visual art and the written word.

The Poetry Marathon is the fourth in the series of Marathons staged in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion each year. The Marathon series was conceived by Serpentine Gallery Co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist in 2006. The first in the series, the Interview Marathon in 2006, involved interviews with leading figures in contemporary culture over 24 hours, conducted by Obrist and architect Rem Koolhaas. This was followed by the Experiment Marathon, conceived by Obrist and artist Olafur Eliasson in 2007, which included 50 experiments by speakers across both arts and science, and the Manifesto Marathon in 2008.

The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion series is an ongoing programme of temporary structures by internationally acclaimed architects and designers. It is unique worldwide and presents the work of an international architect or design team who, at the time of the Serpentine Gallery’s invitation, has not completed a building in England. The Pavilion architects to date are: Frank Gehry, 2008; Olafur Eliasson and Kjetil Thorsen, 2007; Rem Koolhaas and Cecil Balmond, with Arup, 2006; Álvaro Siza and Eduardo Souto de Moura with Cecil Balmond, Arup, 2005; MVRDV with Arup, 2004 (un-realised); Oscar Niemeyer, 2003; Toyo Ito with Arup, 2002; Daniel Libeskind with Arup, 2001; and Zaha Hadid, 2000. Each Pavilion is sited on the Gallery’s lawn for three months and the immediacy of the process – a maximum of six months from invitation to completion – provides a peerless model for commissioning architecture.

The Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon is curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects. It is held in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009, designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA. The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Commission was conceived by Julia Peyton-Jones, Serpentine Gallery Director and Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes in 2000.

Head of Programmes: Sally Tallant
Public Programmes Curator: Nicola Lees
Public Programmes Assistants: Mia Jankowicz, Yesomi Umolu, Lucia Pietroiusti

Special thanks to
Senior advisor: Tim Griffin
With additional advice from: Caroline Bergvall, Kenneth Goldsmith, Enrique Juncosa, Nick Laird, Eileen Myles, Vikram Seth, and the late Czesław Miłosz

Poetry Marathon Tickets:
Available from the Gallery Lobby Desk or
Ticketweb: 08444 77 1000, www.ticketweb.co.uk

Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London W2 3XA


Nearest Tube: South Kensington or Lancaster Gate
Gallery open 10am to 6pm daily. Admission free

Serpentine Gallery

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