Visual poetry, of which
Lorenzo Pignotti has been one the pioneers and theorizers, is a typically
Italian phenomenon and has been born in Florence as a polemic movement
in contrast with linear poetry, unlike which it undertook , and is still
engaged in, the critical handling of the images that constitute the main
meaning of the consumers’ civilization. In this sense it is connected
to technological poetry, another one of Pignotti’s inventions, that
is to poetry written in the language of today and the language of everybody,
that is in the everyday language of mass communication.
Thus the technological collage-poem is born; it uses verbal an visual
stylemes of common usage but turning them upside down. For example in
a series of collages of postage stamps Pignotti creates a bewildering
contrast between the phrase in the balloon caption and the personage portrayed
on the stamp. Similarly, in the series Visible/invisible and in Decomposition,
pictures taken from illustrated magazines are partly veiled over or rubbed
out and commented by a sentence by the author: th
e effect is the transformation of the meaning of the visible by the invisible.
In particular the pictures of women in the picture magazines that are
Pignotti’s favourites, are the typical ones of top-models, and it
is that mode of signification which gets to be ironically meaning-wise
Three are therefore the media which Pignotti uses for his operations:
the stamp, the comic strip and photography. If the Swedish playwright
Strindberg warned us “Careful, words deceive you” Pignotti
and the other visual authors add: “carful, so do pictures.
His life and works
Lamberto Pignotti has been born in 1926 in Florence, where he lived until
1968, when he moved to Rome. In the early fifties he theorized the forms
of technological poetry and visual poetry, of which in 1968 he edited
a first anthology comprising texts by 15 authors.
In 1963 together with Miccini,
Chiari and others, he founded Group 70 and participated in the creation
of Group 63. Since 1971, as lecturere at the Faculty of Architecture of
Florence and later at the DAMS of Bologna, he has held courses on the
relationship between avant-garde movements, mass-media and new-media.
His artistic activity develops just these relations between signs and
codes of different origin: linguistic, visual, acoustic, olfactory, tactile,
theatrical. There are therefore born several forms of happenings and performances,
Poetry and not, Cine-poems, the object-books in plastic, the Eatable poems,
the Chewing Poems and the collages of visual poems.
Pignotti has published several books of poetry, both linear and visual,
tales, essays andanthologies and has organized various exhibitions of
inter-mediatic art. He has taken part in several collective exhibitions
such as the Venice Biennale, the Quadriennale in Rome, the Biennale of