The literary figure of the ekphrasis is a verbal description of a visual work of art. It has been part of literature and art discourse for centuries, and it has been crucial to the exhibition I saw it by ear, initiated by Muro Sur in Rozenstraat in Amsterdam.
Discussions of ekphrasis always seem to produce fertile associations and repercussions when thinking about the crossed boundaries between art and literature, imagination, representation and the unfolding and reproducibility of certain knowledge.
With Ilse van Rijn, Martín La Roche and Arif Kornweitz, this episode explores the history of the figure of ekphrasis, the traditional difference between poetry and painting (tradition of paragone), and how more recent poets and writers approach this categorical separation, to shed light on the exhibition I saw it by ear.
A list of references mentioned in the show, and for further reading, is below.
Also, this episodes contains two pieces of the vinyl record Écfrasis. These pieces stem from 2018, when Muro Sur invited 29 Chilean artists to contribute a rhetorical description of piece of art they would like to exhibit in a show in Amsterdam. The resulting descriptions are collected on a double vinyl, created with Martín La Roche and Giancarlo Pazzanese.
Ilse van Rijn is an art historian and writer. Rethinking the traditional, gendered relationships between the legible and the visible, theory and practice, her research focusses on the materiality of language as/in/and feminist thought, as a mode of care and vulnerable resistance in a more-than-human world. She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, in collaboration with Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Jan van Eyck Academy. Ilse has written extensively on contemporary art in general and its relation to writing in specific. Ilse works as a tutor at Rietveld and the THIRD programme of DAS Graduate School.
Martin La Roche (Santiago Chile, 1988) studied Visual Arts at the University of Chile in Santiago and then in 2015 he completed a postgraduate program at the Jan Van Eyck Academie in Maastricht, the Netherlands, and since then lives and works between Amsterdam and Santiago. Martin could be defined as a gatherer. In 2017 he initiated the Musée Légitime, a nomad art institution that was born inside a hat. At the moment, this collection has 147 artworks by different artists that are presented throughout its 8 museum buildings (with the shape of hats). He is founder of the artist book platform Good Neighbour. GN is not a publisher, it makes art in the form of words. He is also a member of To see inability to see, a collective research project around ‘archive’ and ‘anarchive’, concerned with topics like exclusion, alienation and belonging.
Heffernan, James, “Introduction.” The Museum of Words. The Poetics of Ekphrasis from Homer to Ashbery. Chicago and London: The U of Chicago P, 1993. 1-8.
Keats, John, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (1819). In Poems of Byron, Keats and Shelley, Ed. Elliott Coleman. New York: International Collectors Library, 1967. 411-413. See also: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44477/ode-on-a-grecian-urn
Lessing, G.E., Laocoon: An Essay upon the Limits of Poetry and Painting (1766). Trans. Ellen Frothingham. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1969.
O’Hara, Frank, “Why I’m not a Painter.” Selected Poems. Ed. Donald Allen. Manchester: Carcanet House, 2005. 112.
Horn Roni, Rings of Lispector (Agua Viva). With a text by Hélène Cixous. Zürich/ London: Hauser & Wirth Steidl, 2005.
Da Vinci, Leonardo, “Paragone: Of Poetry and Painting.” (1500) In Treatise on Painting, ed. A. Philip McMahon. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1956.
Barad, K. (2007). Meeting The Universe Halfway. Duke University Press.
Auden, W.H., “Musée des Beaux Arts” (1940). Selected Poems. Revised Edition. Ed. Edward Mendelson. London: Faber and Faber, 2009. 87. See also: https://www.poetrybyheart.org.uk/poems/musee-des-beaux-arts/
Louvel, Liliane, “An artist of the bizarre: Stanley Spencer’s ‘ordinary’ ekphrases.” In Ekphrastic Encounters: New Interdisciplinary Essays on Literature and the Visual Arts, eds. Richard Meek and David Kennedy. Manchester: Manchester UP, 2019. 183 – 201.
Mitchell, W.J.T., “Ekphrasis and the Other.” Picture Theory. Essays on Verbal and Visual Representation. Chicago and London: The U of Chicago P, 1994. 151-181.
NourbeSe Philip, M., “African Majesty.” She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks. Middletown: Wesley UP, 2014 (1989). 21-23.
Pimentel, Sasha, “The Kiss.” For Want of Water. Boston: Beacon Press, 2017. 12.
Image: A wrapped work by the photographer Paz Errázuriz is being lifted into Muro Sur in Santiago de Chile. Photography by Paz Errázuriz.
Artist / Organisation: Muro Sur
09-03-2022 at 11:00Links: