Ilse Garnier, Eugen Gomringer, Gerhard Rühm, Various artists, Emmett Williams, La Livre V, La Livre, 1989, Print, paint, marker, ink on paper, paperboard, 35 × 25 × 3.8 cm, Edition of 11 plus IV AP
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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Ilse Garnier, Eugen Gomringer, Gerhard Rühm, Emmett Williams, La Livre V, La Livre, 1989, Edition of 10. "La Livre V" is comprised of 1 cover sheet by Gomringer and signed by all artists, 5 collages with a handwritten note by Gomringer, 6 drawings by Ilse Garnier, 4 collages/frottages by Gerhard Rühm, and 5 collages/drawings by Emmett Williams. Print, paint, marker, ink on paper, paperboard 35 × 25 cm (13 ¾ × 9 ⅞ inches) Box Dimensions: 37,9 x 28,8 x13,9 cm The edition was made in 1989 in Brunnenburg Castle, Merano, Italy. Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin 2024
  • Print, paint, marker, ink on paper, paperboard
  • 35 × 25 × 3.8 cm
    (13 ¾ × 9 ⅞ × 1 ½ inches)
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  • Eugen Gomringer is a poet and literary critic regarded as the father of concrete poetry in Europe. He completed his studies at the University of Bern, and in 1953, together with Dieter Roth and Marcell Wyss, founded the international journal Spirale, which focused on design and concrete art. That same year, he published Konstellationen constellations constelaciones, a collection of poems comprised of a few words pinned to the page, in which meaning is visually suggested by the calculated position of letters within the typographic layout. The decisive Vom Vers zur Konstellation, the first theoretical manifesto of concrete poetry in the German language, followed in 1954. Gomringer’s concrete poetry proclaimed a reduction of language in an age of communication overload. His compositions are concise and memorable, presented as an independent universe, an object. From 1954 and 1957, Gomringer was secretary to Max Bill at the Ulm School of Design (HFG). He became acquainted with Josef Albers and the philosopher and semiologist Max Bense. In 1960, he founded the publishing house Eugen Gomringer Press, editing the journal Konkrete Poesie, which promoted the works of other concrete poets and literary movements such as the Wiener Gruppe. Parallel to an intensified activity as a literary critic, Gomringer published substantial collections of his compositions, including Worte sind schatten. Die Konstellationen 1951–1968 (1968). Poems such as “Wind,” “Ping Pong,” and the paradigmatic “Schweigen,” are the focus of the series of editions on cloth published in collaboration with Francesco Conz in 1990. In these cases, the meaning of the single word is evoked by its repetition in the textual space and the resulting reading action. In 1971, Gomringer held a series of conferences in South America, a parallel pole for literary experiments in concrete poetry promoted mainly through the activities of the Brazilian group Noigrandes. From 1977 to 1990, he was a professor of aesthetic theory at Düsseldorf Academy of Art and later a visiting professor at numerous international universities in Bamberg, Los Angeles, and São Paulo, while continuing to publish new compositions and anthologies of concrete poetry. Gomringer was honored with the Cultural Prize of the City of Rehau, where he also founded the Institute for Constructive Art and Concrete Poetry in 2000. In 2022, he received the Pro meritis scientiae et litterarum lifetime achievement award from the state of Bavaria.
  • Gerhard Rühm is an Austrian author, composer, performer, and visual artist. Majoring in piano and composition at the University of Vienna, he has worked since the early 1950s between word and image, language and music, writing and drawing, producing sound poems, visual poetry, photomontages, and book objects. In 1953, together with Friedrich Achleitner, H. C. Artmann, Konrad Bayer, and Oswald Wiener, Rühm founded the Wiener Gruppe, a constellation of Austrian poets and writers engaged in radical linguistic experiments inspired by Expressionism, Dada, and Constructivism. Their “Literary Cabarets” (1958–59) represented an inflammatory format of interdisciplinary manifestation, poetic acts for linguistic and dialectal experimentations, visual montages, and theater. The group disbanded in 1964, but a timely recollection of their activities is presented in the book Die Wiener Gruppe, edited by Rühm in 1967 and published by Rowohlt Verlag. A comprehensive retrospective dedicated to the group was presented at the Biennale di Venezia in 1997. The public reception of the Wiener Gruppe’s irreverent activities and Rühm’s own works was ruthless enough to cost him a publication ban in Austria, forcing him to emigrate to Germany. Settling initially in Berlin, Rühm organized together Wiener, Dieter Roth, Hermann Nitsch, and Günter Brus the Berliner Dichterworkshops, a series of gatherings that later resulted in the establishment of the music ensemble Selten Gehörte Musik. Several disciplines converge and often overlap in Rühm’s extensive body of work. A central emphasis is reserved for language, comprehended in the totality of its expressions, whether musical, performative, visual, or written. A substantial theoretical and philosophical framework is also present, expressed in numerous critical publications devoted to literature as well as theater, such as the extensive grundlagen des neues theaters (1962) and zu meinen auditiven texten (1970) dedicated to his radio plays. Drawing, automatic writing, photocollage, and graphic notations are the core of series such as Klangkörper. From 1972 to 1995, Rühm was professor at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg (HFBK). Among the many recognitions Rühm received over his career are the Grand Austrian State Prize for Literature (1991), the Alice Salomon Poetics Prize (2009), and an honorary doctorate from the University of Cologne (2010). Rühm’s work has been displayed on numerous occasions, including the documenta in Kassel (1977 and 1987), the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (2017), and the Kunstforum Wien in Vienna (2018).
  • Emmett Williams was an American poet and performer of experimental poetry. After graduating from Kenyon College in Ohio in 1949, he moved to Europe, studying and working in France, Germany, and Switzerland. During these years, as a member of the Darmstadt Circle, he collaborated with numerous artists, including Daniel Spoerri and Claus Bremer. In 1962, he took part in the “Fluxus Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik” in Wiesbaden and, since then, regularly participated in Fluxus concerts and events, becoming the movement’s European coordinator. The later unconventional autobiography My Life in Flux – and Vice Versa (Stuttgart: Edition Hansjörg Mayer, 1991) brings together documents and anecdotes from Williams’s journey between the United States, Europe, and Asia, providing precise and unique documentation of his participation in the Fluxus movement. Returning to the United States in 1966, he became editor-in-chief of Something Else Press until 1970, collaborating on some of the publishing house’s most essential works, including Claes Oldenburg’s Store Days (1961), and editing the outstanding Anthology of Concrete Poetry (1967). Williams was one of the most brilliant protagonists of experimental poetry, often using humor and mock seriousness with clever playfulness. His most influential publications include 13 Variations on 6 Words of Gertrude Stein (1965) and sweethearts (1967), a long, intimate concrete poem cycle. In 1982, while living in Berlin with his wife and great supporter Ann Nöel, Williams had an exhibition at the Nationalgalerie in Berlin, titled Schemes and Variations, which was attended by Francesco Conz and members of Fluxus. The relationship of sincere friendship and mutual esteem between Williams and Conz is corroborated by the numerous photographs, editions, and unique works produced in Asolo and Verona over the course of almost thirty years of collaboration. In 1980, Williams was an artist in residence of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program; and in 1996, he was honored for his life’s work with the Hannah Höch Prize. Williams taught at numerous universities, including the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design in Halifax, and the Berlin University of the Arts (HdK). His works have been exhibited in numerous international museums, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1983), the Berlinische Galerie in Berlin (1996), and the Museum am Ostwall, Dortmund (2005). Emmett Williams’s archive is currently part of the Getty Research Institute.

Artworks (35)