fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Mary Ellen Solt
La Biennale di Venezia

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Mary Ellen Solt

1920 – 2007, USA

  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

In the early 1960s, Mary Ellen Solt became involved with Concrete Poetry after a decisive encounter with the Brazilian group connected to the journal Noigandres, later publishing the seminal anthology Concrete Poetry: A World View (1968). From that point on, Solt treated language as a versatile communication tool that could be structured around visual as well as lexical relationships. Rather than following the Concretist dogma that calls for all subjectivity to be stripped away, the resulting images are open to many different interpretations and readings. Flowers in Concrete (1965–1966) is presented as a verbal-visual herbarium, laid out in plates like any botanical guide. Solt juxtaposes, superimposes, and reverses graphemes to literally construct lobelia, zinnia, and lilac blossoms, geranium, calendula, and white rose petals, and dogwood, apple, and forsythia sprays. The image dedicated to this last flower, which was also shown in the exhibition Materializzazione del linguaggio (1978), is a prime example of her compositional approach. The word Forsythia becomes a root and base for verbal offshoots, and an acrostic with an ambiguous message. Although the string of words is anything but linear, Solt constructs the poem as a verbal and visual invitation for readers to give it their own meaning and become co-authors of the work. 

Stefano Mudu


Mary Ellen Solt, Forsythia and Wild Crab, 1966. Ink on paper, 29 × 21 cm each. Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp

Central Pavilion
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