Lamberto Pignotti

Visual poetry, of which Lorenzo Pignotti has been one the pioneers and theorizers, is a typically Italian phenomenon and has been born in Florence as a polemic movement in contrast with linear poetry, unlike which it undertook , and is still engaged in, the critical handling of the images that constitute the main meaning of the consumers’ civilization. In this sense it is connected to technological poetry, another one of Pignotti’s inventions, that is to poetry written in the language of today and the language of everybody, that is in the everyday language of mass communication.
Thus the technological collage-poem is born; it uses verbal an visual stylemes of common usage but turning them upside down. For example in a series of collages of postage stamps Pignotti creates a bewildering contrast between the phrase in the balloon caption and the personage portrayed on the stamp. Similarly, in the series Visible/invisible and in Decomposition, pictures taken from illustrated magazines are partly veiled over or rubbed out and commented by a sentence by the author: th
e effect is the transformation of the meaning of the visible by the invisible.
In particular the pictures of women in the picture magazines that are Pignotti’s favourites, are the typical ones of top-models, and it is that mode of signification which gets to be ironically meaning-wise transformed.
Three are therefore the media which Pignotti uses for his operations: the stamp, the comic strip and photography. If the Swedish playwright Strindberg warned us “Careful, words deceive you” Pignotti and the other visual authors add: “carful, so do pictures.

His life and works

Lamberto Pignotti has been born in 1926 in Florence, where he lived until 1968, when he moved to Rome. In the early fifties he theorized the forms of technological poetry and visual poetry, of which in 1968 he edited a first anthology comprising texts by 15 authors.
In 1963 together with Miccini,
Chiari and others, he founded Group 70 and participated in the creation of Group 63. Since 1971, as lecturere at the Faculty of Architecture of Florence and later at the DAMS of Bologna, he has held courses on the relationship between avant-garde movements, mass-media and new-media.
His artistic activity develops just these relations between signs and codes of different origin: linguistic, visual, acoustic, olfactory, tactile, theatrical. There are therefore born several forms of happenings and performances, Poetry and not, Cine-poems, the object-books in plastic, the Eatable poems, the Chewing Poems and the collages of visual poems.
Pignotti has published several books of poetry, both linear and visual, tales, essays andanthologies and has organized various exhibitions of inter-mediatic art. He has taken part in several collective exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale, the Quadriennale in Rome, the Biennale of Sao Paulo.