Eugenio Miccini

by Gianna Bennati

Eugenio Miccini was born in Florence in 1925. As his family intended him to become a priest, he attended the seminary where he pursued humanistic studies and became passionately interested in Greek philosophy and in Latin literature. At the age of 18, following a strong religious crisis, he left the seminary but enrolled as a soldier and was sent to the war. He deserted and became an outlaw. After the difficult postwar years, in the fifties, he went to the university and attended Giulio Preti’s lessons on Hegel, Marx, Dewey and Neopositivism. Giulio Preti’s books, Praxis ed Empirismo, Linguaggio comune e linguaggi scientifici, Retorica e Logica were to be fundamental for his logical and philosophical grounding. Later he got a degree in pedagogy. At the same time he undertook creative and essay writing. In 1961 he was awarded by Luzi the “Premio di Poesia della Città di Firenze”. He consorted with the Florentine men of letters Mario Luzi, Piero Bigongiari, Silvio Ramat, Sergio Salvi, Lamberto Pignotti and the other editors of the “Quartiere” magazine. Alessandro Bonsanti, head of the “Gabinetto Viesseux, asked him to work for the magazine “Letteratura” where, together with Pignotti, he was in charge of the serial articles “Protocolli” and “Dopotutto”. In 1961 Enrico Falqui entrusted him with the management of the “Caffè Letterari Fiorentini” (Caffè letterari, Canesi, Roma 1961). Romano Bilenchi found him a job with Casa Editrice Sansoni and introduced him to Elio Vittorini who, in 1961 , published his Tre Poemetti on the magazine “Il Menabò”. In 1963, together with Lamberto Pignotti and the musicians Sylvano Bussotti and Giuseppe Chiari, he founded the “ Gruppo 70” and invented “Poesia Visiva” and began to exhibit his works all over the world. In 1964 Mario Luzi published his collection of poems Sonetto Minore as one of Vallecchi’s series of books of poetry. In 1969 he founded “Centro Téchne” where he organized meetings, shows, exhibitions and printing, the magazine of that name and the Quaderni, that is a series of books that started what was later to be called esoeditoria. He taught in primary and grammar schools. In the seventies he worked for the University of Florence, faculty of Architecture, where he worked side by side with his friend Egidio Mucci, who taught Instruments and Technology of Visual Communication in that Faculty, as a specialist in semeiotic studies. In 1983 he founded the international group “Logomotives” together with Sarenco, Paul de Vree, Alain Arias-Misson, Julian Blaine, Jean François Bory, Franco Verdi. In 1985 he left Florence and moved to Verona where he lived for eight years, teaching both at the Accademia di Belle Arti of Verona and at that of Ravenna. During those years he was responsible for the editing, for the Township of Mantova, of the series of the “Archivio della Poesia del Novecento”, editing volumes dealing with Artist’s Books, the games on words and images by Marcel Duchamp, performance, Concrete Poetry and the Underground Theatre. In 1993 he returned to Florence where he made his home first at the Galluzzo then at Scandicci, where he lived till the day of his death in 2007. His works were exhibited at the Biennale of Venice, at the Triennale of Milan and he was a member of the Committee of the Quadriennale in Rome. His works are present in several public and private collections in Europe, in America, in Japan and in Australia. For the RAI Third Programme Series “L’ombelico del Mondo” by Nanni Balestrini, he carried out some performances in June 2000. He published more than 70 books of creative writing, essays and criticism.

After his early works of linear poetry, though they were valuable and appreciated, in the early sixties Miccini began to find this mode of expression unsatisfactory and unable to develop to the full the kind of “synestesis”, that contamination between different codes of expression which had been the battleground of the historical avant-gardes. By visual poetry Miccini did not intend simply to carry on along the furrow already cut by the masters of Futurism, Dadaism and Surrealism. In him the need for change and renewal came from the knowledge that there already existed in social communication a new “volgare” language which ordinary people were already familiar with, the language of mass media. His early visual works knit together words and pictures giving rise to a semantic “underlining” (ricalco) of what the consumer civilization produces and wastes in the field of communication. That is an attempt to restore aesthetically a new style (“a new expressive measure to eliminate your feeling uneasy”), a “stilnovo” as it has been called, or a “neovolgare” which might however produce awareness and consciousness of the time we live in and of the tools of expression that belong to it.

From the “Catalogo generale delle opere di Eugenio Miccini”, Bandecchi & Vivaldi Editori, 2005

books & quotations & works

Definizione di violenza / G. Coppini ; testo di E. Miccini.  - Firenze :Tèchne, 1968

Ex Rebus. - Firenze : Tèchne, 1970

Poesie visive 1962-1970/ Eugenio Miccini; designers Barni, Coppini, Lastraioli, Ruffi.
Firenze : Tèchne,1970

Il popolo è forte / Coppini & Miccini - Brescia : Amodulo, 1971

Poésie est violence. - Parigi : Agentzia, 1971.

Poesia visiva, poesia politica, poesia pubblica. - Firenze :Tèchne, 1972.

Poetry gets into life. - London : Nhane Publishers, 1975.

Ontologia naturale. - Udine : Campanotto, 1983

Poesia e no. - Udine : Campanotto, 1985.

Poesia trovata. - Napoli : Edizioni Morra, 1988.

Se ne vogliamo parlare. - Roma : Empiria, 1989.

Raccontini. - Firenze : Meta, 2000

Anche il silenzio è parola. - Firenze : Tèchne, 2002.

Taccuino. – Udine : Campanotto, 2006

From the catalogue “In forma di libro”, Biblioteca Civica Poletti, Modena 2005

L’attività estetica non ha né luoghi né limiti, né materia, né tecniche di privilegio; se non discende da zone inaccessibili all’uomo essa è una pratica umana che, in momenti di crisi di valore, assume se stessa come pratica assiologica ed è una pratica del dubbio, drammatica e sincera, assai più creativa di tutte le vuote certezze che le si oppongono dalle zone altrettanto impraticabili dell’assoluto. Questo libro, perciò, è l’espressione di un dubbio e, pertanto, di una ricerca. Di altra creatività non può disporre il nostro tempo.

From “Recycling Papers”, Adriano Parise Editore, Verona 1987

L’arte, dunque, è una pratica della coscienza e la coscienza di una pratica che si estraniano dal mondo, che vi si allontanano per meglio osservarlo e solo, in tal modo negandolo, lo costituiscono.

From the catalogue “L’Arte è ciò che le è estraneo”, Forlì 1980

Lo so che il pianeta non è eterno. Ma questi cinque milioni di anni che gli restano da vivere saranno i poeti e gli artisti a progettarli, a migliorarne l’esistenza operando sulla coscienza degli uomini, sulla critica dei loro sistemi di persuasione e decisione, sulle comunicazioni sociali, insomma sulla cultura.

From the “Catalogo generale delle opere di Eugenio Miccini”, Bandecchi & Vivaldi Editori, 2005

L'obbedienza e' incapace di poesia, 2001
La poesia e' morta, 1979
La scrittura non e' piu' quello che era, 1980
Il Sole 24 Ore, s.d.
Calligrammes, s.d.
Eidenai, s.d.