v67-75 permutierbarer text

executed: 1967
classification: works on paper
object/work type: print
technique/material: 1 fol. (48.0 × 64.0 cm, folded to 24.0 × 16.0 cm) printed in black on white paper with text 'ein biogra[p]hie ist eine lebensbeschreibung' on the left side of the sheet; the rest of the sheet is filled by the text 'permutierbarer text' [= permutable text], 43 words randomly selected from 7 books, also randomly selected (Max Bense, Aesthetica, Augustinus, Confessions, T.P. van Baaren, Dans en religie, R.L. Gregory, Visuele waarnemening, A.D. de Groot, Mens en Computer, Vatsyayana, Kama Sutra, G. Woodcock, Anarchism. Each word is expressed in 4 languages, Dutch, German, French and English. The 4 versions of the same word are composed on a line; the position of each line is determined 'at random'
dimensions: 48.0 × 64.0 cm (unfolded)
signature and inscriptions: [uninscribed]
edition: 1000 copies
descriptive notes: designed for the series futura n°23, published by Edition Hansjörg Mayer, Stuttgart in 1967
current location:
collecting history:
comment: the first personal publication wherein language reappears was produced in 1967, the last year of herman de vries' membership in the zero group. It appeared in number 23 of the poster-journal of concrete poetry futura, edited by hansjörg mayer and is called permutierbarer text (permutable text). Permuting, that is transposing words or letters on the space of the page is one of the favourite games of concrete poetry, the experimental poetry that herman de vries practiced after 1965. As an extension of geometric abstraction in painting (in which the zero group is involved) into the domain of literature, concrete poetry demanded that poetry rid itself of description, narration and lyricism in favour of spatial poetry. This consists of disassembling language into formal non-semantic units in order to break the constraints of syntax and the linear structure of reading and in doing so allowing other possibilities, notably the visual. In permutierbarer text, however, it is not a question of suggesting a new configuration of signs and even less of giving shape to a defined image. [source: Anne Moeglin-Delcroix, 'beyond language', in herman de vries. les livres & les publications (saint-yrieix-la-perche 2005) 31]
rights & reproduction: herman de vries
published references
catalogue raisonné herman de vries. les livres et les publications : catalogue raisonné (centre des livres d'artistes : Saint-Yrieix-la-Perche 2005) no image repr., catalogue number 8.