Organizer: Kunst Meran
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This autumn THE POETRY OF TRANSLATION will be investigating the compelling world of translation.

The group exhibition, presenting over 70 works by over 30 major national and international artists, sheds light on the process of translation from various novel perspectives. 

Inspired by the living multilingual environment of South Tyrol and its eventful history of interethnic cohabitation, Kunst Meran Merano Arte offers the ideal context for an exhibition dedicated to translation and questions surrounding identity, multiculturalism and diversity.

THE POETRY OF TRANSLATION sheds light on the complex process of translation: not only as a source of participation, international understanding, creativity, genius and poetry, but also as a cause of misunderstanding and exclusion. Translation is understood as a creative process through which something new is always created.

Starting from the translation from one language into another, the exhibition opens out into the transfer of other (artistic) sign systems, such as music, song, dance, light, digital codes or painting. For example, works will be shown where Morse codes are translated into light signals (Cerith Wyn Evans, Goodnight Eileen, 1982) or music into drawing (Jorinde Voigt, Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonatas 1 to 32, 2012). The questions that arise here are: What happens when one system is transposed onto another? What if viewers are unable to decipher the code of a sign system and are confronted with abstract patterns?

The presentation of contemporary art is complemented by two historical digressions. One room is dedicated to “planned” languages: both Esperanto (developed in 1887 by Ludwik Zamenhof) and the international pictorial language Isotype (developed in 1925 by Otto Neurath) reflect a desire for an anti-national world where translation is not required. Another room deals with the visual and concrete poetry of the 1960s and 1970s, bringing together a selection of female artists gathered by Mirella Bentivoglio in Materializzazione del linguaggio at the Venice Biennale in 1978, a groundbreaking exhibition that provided a forum for the female view of language and the translation of language into visual forms.

The exhibition is accompanied by an educational and supporting programme, including artist talks (Francesca Grilli), concerts (Alessandro Bosetti in collaboration with the Ensemble Conductus) and performances (Kinkaleri).

Mousse Publishing, Milan aims to publish a reader on the exhibition in December 2021.

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Exhibition information


Artist: Amelia Etlinger, Anna Esposito, Annika Kahrs, Anri Sala, Augusto De Campos, Babi Badalov, Ben Vautier, Carla Accardi, Cerith Wyn Evans, Christine Sun Kim & Thomas Mader, Elisabetta Gut, Ettore Favini, Franco Marini, Franz Pichler, Freundeskreis, Jorel Hei
Curator: Judith Waldmann