For many artists whose creative focus is linked predominantly with a visual medium, a preoccupation with poetry represents an important element of their research. It is not uncommon for poems and lyrical texts to emerge from a creative process alongside artist's statements, conceptual descriptions or scripts for performances and video works. Often, however, these texts remain hidden between the pages of a notebook or in desktop folders. These poems are an integral component of their artistic process and not infrequently form the basis for a later expression, be that in another art form or as part a work of art.

Poesie bei Nacht is a platform for ‘para-poetry’ by contemporary artists whose poetic work is not necessarily visible in their familiar practice, to take these texts seriously as poetry in their own right and thus also to shed light on the artists’ creative process. The project's goal is to give these literary works an autonomous artistic status and thus also reveal the artists’ working methods and broader forms of research. A work of art by each participant is also presented, in order to create a link back to the artistic practice for which they are known and to establish a connection between their writing and visual practice. In this way an exhibition accumulates which emanates from the readings.

Alex Turgeon’s typewritten poems use the generative value of number 5 as a formal constraint. Each of the five urban landscapes repeats a phrase that calls to action and tests the fecundity of repetition and seriality. Memorize this city of hearts, Misadvice this city of narcs, Martyrize this city of tarts… Drawing together queer theory and concrete poetry, Turgeon understands the constructive condition of language and the poetic space of architecture in relation to the management of bodies. It is precisely the concrete and diagrammatic nature of the poems that distances them from their supposed coldness and opens them up to a variation that incorporates emotional and political states.

Poesie bei Nacht is part of Backrooms, a Kunsthalle Zürich event programme organised by Otto Bonnen.

Kunsthalle Zürich, Ebene A and basement
Limmatstrasse 270, 8005 Zurich

Documentation by Cedric Mussano