Telefone Sem Fio: Word-Things of Augusto de Campos Revisited at The EFA Project Space

Andrea Van der Straeten’s beautiful, QUASI_without, 2011, installation of laser-cut wax paper.

Telefone Sem Fio: Word-Things of Augusto de Campos Revisited at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts Project Space was probably one of the best/most over-looked exhibitions dealing with text & images and art & poetics. This excellent exhibition, organized by Sharmila Cohen, Paul Legault, and Michelle Levy, includes an all-star line-up of poets & artists, including, (artists) Bibi Calderaro, Deric Carner, Brendan Fernandes, Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, Rossana Martinez, Tom Moody, Trong Gia Nguyen, Jennifer Schmidt, Dannielle Tegeder, and Andrea Van Der Straeten, and, (poets) Jean-Sébastien Baillat, Jen Bervin, Ray Bianchi, Macgregor Card, Nico Pam Dick, Kenneth Goldsmith, Thessia Machado, Benjamin Moreno, Charles Perrone, Steve Savage, and Edwin Torres.

The curatorial statement describes the exhibition:

This exhibition uses the work of the Brazilian poet Augusto de Campos as a catalyst for an experimental multi-disciplinary exercise in which an outstanding group of poets, translators and artists, who exist across a continuum of text, sound and visual expression, invent translations of select examples of De Campos’ work.

After logging many forced hours as a pupil watching educational film strips I’ve taken a keen interest in the intersection  of text and image, but anyone with even a passing fancy in the permeable boundaries between the visual and poetic aesthetics should find this exhibition to be a delight.

Many more images after the jump.

Augusto de Campos, Poetamenos, 1953.

The curatorial statement describes Augusto de Campos as, ” a poet, translator, music critic, and visual artist whose work emphasizes the direct connections between language, sound, and image.  He was one of the originators of Concrete Poetry, an international movement that began in the 1950s and continues to influence the work of musicians, visual artists, and writers today.” Concrete Poetry was actually begun as a visual art form by Max Bill and Öyving Fahlström in the fifties. You can read more about Concrete Poetry here at the Academy of American Poets site, on Ubu Web, on the Sackner Archive, and here. And you can read more about De Campos’ circle, Concrete Poetry and it’s impact in Brazil in this paper by Claus Clüver here. These links will lead you down a worm hole of international avant garde history. What strikes me as strange or perhaps telling is the way that  this diverse movement has been largely glossed over in the art historical discourse within this country but picked-up in experimental literary circles.

Augusto de Campos, Caixa Preta, 1975, Papercard portfolio containing objects and cards.
Courtesy of Ruth and Marvin Sackner of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry in Miami, FL.

Augusto de Campos, Poemobiles (2nd edition), 1984, Portfolio of stiff, thin cardboard, housing 13 poem pop-ups.
Courtesy of Ruth and Marvin Sackner of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry in Miami, FL.

Edwin Torres, solocoptro, 2011, ink on paper.

Deric Carner, Lion of Sand / Potter of Gold, 2011, 6 unique hand-finished, inkjet prints and colored gels.

Steve Savage & Jean-Sébastien Baillat, Translating Augusto de Campos, 2011, 120 posters (3 with vinyl lettering), detail below.

Jennifer Schmidt’s work (above), Dialogue for Two, 2011, Screen-printed graphics on muslin, and (below)
Dialogue for Two, 2011, 5 screen-printed posters as response to the original Dialogue for Two by Augusto de Campos.

Below is Kenneth Goldsmith, codigo, 2011 Ink on paper, OR code and Todo o codigo do Codigo, 2011, ink on paper.

Tom Moody, Criptocardiograma Remix, 2011, Animated GIF file.

Above is Dannielle Tegeder’s charmingly clever, In Between the Lines: de Campos Library Project, 2011, black paper insert into Augusto de Campos manuscripts.

Angela Detanico & Rafael Lain, Pulsar, 2011, Looping animation, black and white, no sound

Benjamin Moreno, Augustocities,2011, Interactive digital feature

Nico Pam Dick & Thessia Machado, codigo / I say with, 2011, Single channel HD video with sound, 4:53 minutes.

Rossana Martinez, See the World in Orange and Blue, 2011.

This installation shot provides a good view of Brendan Fernandes’s cryptographic, Wandering Speech, 2011, Vinyl on floor; anyone care to decipher it?

Jen Bervin’s stunningly beautiful (above and detail below) cidade, city, cité, Silver paper and stencils 26×20.

This exhibition, like all the EFA Project Space shows, had plenty of generative programing to make work accessible to a wide audience, like (above) Charles Perrone speaking about the work of Augusto de Campos.

The catalog for the exhibition, Telefone Sem Fio limited edition of 50, was beautifully produced by Ugly Duckling Presse (and is available via

Photographs courtesy of EFA, taken by Colin Todd.

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Categories: Exhibitions, Uncategorized

One Response to “Telefone Sem Fio: Word-Things of Augusto de Campos Revisited at The EFA Project Space”

  1. 4g says:

    Very good this exposure. Too bad that is not here in São Paulo. I would love to see. Thanks for sharing