Between Word and Image: Historical European Avant-garde
Art and poetry entered into an unprecedented dialogue in the first three decades of the twentieth century when the revolutionary avant-garde movements swept through Europe. The radical stances of the avantgarde allowed for unorthodox responses to preoccupations motivated by the ever-increasing commodification of human experience which art and literature had shared for some time. Disturbing the boundaries between the two disciplines as well as between art, politics, and the general public, the avantgarde artists would reconceptualize text and image into forms which challenged classical aesthetic norms, the perceptual habits of their audience, and the socio-cultural conditions of developed capitalism. We will examine the practices of a variety of avant-garde movements, some more and some less known, avoiding the dichotomy of margin versus center that often underpins avant-garde criticism. Besides Italy and France, we will thus venture to Spain, Czechoslovakia, and England. Our focus will be on the issues that the avant-garde opened up and tried to resolve by bringing text and image to near proximity, be it in the forms of collages, manifestos, artist books, and poem-pictures, or by a more loosely defined collaboration between poets and artists across the disciplines.
All readings will be in English.