File:Partum Ewa 1971-1973 Active Poetry.jpg

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Ewa Partum, Active Poetry, 1971-1973. 8 mm film, b&w, no sound, 5'53". Documentation of five actions in the surroundings of Warsaw. For her action in 1971, "the artist cut up a single page of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses and scattered the individual letters in a pedestrian arcade in Warsaw. The letters became distributed through the space creating new texts and chance meetings as passers-by moved around the arcade. It was described at the time by the literary critic Marek Ławrynowicz as revealing ‘that a poet’s activity does not have to be reduced only to the verbal sphere, but can have a situational character as well’. The concept marked a turning point in Partum’s career and is one with which she has continued to play in order to critique the means and modes of textual production. Partum went on to create a series of works using letter cut-outs, often releasing them into natural spaces, including the ocean and a hilltop. These free-form, action-based works enacted what Partum saw as a feminist critique of the patriarchal structures at the heart of language by resisting the rules of grammar and the traditional linear structure of text, allowing the work instead to be shaped by coincidence, the environment and the movement of the body" [1]. View film on Filmoteka. Tate. Reina Sofia. Generali. 2006 re-creation at Tate.

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