Sims Reed Rare Books×

der unendliche satz

Gomringer, Eugen

(Bamberg). By the artist. 2000c
A unique Concrete Poetry book object by Eugen Gomringer.

Gomringer has signed the inside of the lid in black felt pen and signed and inscribed the verso of the first leaf in pencil: 'eugen gomringer / für alle du-seiten'.

Also included, loosely inserted, is a signed two-page letter by Eugen Gomringer authenticating the work and outlining the details of the object, which Gomringer describes as 'ein ausserordentliches Objekt'. The complete assemblage, the box and its folding sides, the ring-binder attachments, the coloured sheets of paper, card and cloth, Gomringer's gnomic inscription and the staccato 'du' on each leaf is certainly extraordinary. Gomringer refers to the work as consisting of 100 leaves, however only the 39 present here were ever completed. A full transcription of Gomringer's letter is available on request.

'Weil hinter jedem 'du' ein andere Charakter steckt und wir jeden gegenüber einer andere Qualität andichten, ergibt das Ganze als Sinnbild unserer Gesellschaft einer unendliche Aussprache oder einen unendlichen Satz. Das heisst auch, dass der Betrachter des Objekts dieses durch seine Gedanken selbst vervollständigt. Es ist das Objekt, wenn man so will, einer Provokation zur Kommunikation und zur Aussprache verschiedene Individuen. Es ist ein Werk mitten aus der Gesellschaft, in der ein jede der nächste ist, obschon er wie hundert andere unterschiedlich ist.' (From Gomringer's inserted letter).

Eugen Gomringer (born in Bolivia, 1925), studied politics and worked as a journalist in the early '50s before he co-founded the periodical 'Spirale' and published his own first experimental poems, the 'konstellationen'. From 1954, whilst at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm, he came into contact with many experimental artists and writers, also working closely with Max Bill, the school's principal. It was at this time that Gomringer coined the term 'Konkrete Poesie', to describe a form of poetry in which common words provide the concrete material for graphic designs (conceived as ‘denkspiele’). The phrase 'Konkrete Poesie' was indebted to the concrete art of the Brazilian Noigandres Group.

Gomringer founded his own press, the eugen gomringer press, in 1959, in which published the series 'konkrete poesie / poesia concreta' (1960 - 1965). After the retirement of Max Bill in the late 50s, Gomringer left Ulm and in 1976 took up an appointment to the chair of aesthetic theory at the Academy of Art in Düsseldorf. He has continued to promote concrete or visual poetry as an editor, organiser of exhibitions, and custodian of its achievements, publishing the volume 'visuelle poesie. Ausstellungskatalog' in 1972 and 'Zur Sache des Konkreten' (2 vols.) in 1988.

Gomringer attached particular importance to the suitability of 'Konkrete Poesie' for international communication and published his ‘constellations’ in several languages. Proceeding from arrangements analogous to astronomical constellations, Gomringer varied his designs to include palindromes, typograms, and pictograms for which he also used the term 'ideograms'; lines repeating a single word and forming a word block, as in ‘schweigen’, and the use of inversion, as in ‘worte sind schatten’, are particularly characteristic.
Oblong folio. (500 x 600 mm). 39 leaves of different paper stock (including cloth and card) each a different colour and texture and with the word 'du' printed in large lowercase letters to centre recto of each sheet; leaves with punched holes for ring-binder attachment in box; first leaf signed and inscribed by Gomringer verso. (Sheet size: 440 x 520 mm). Original wooden box with printed title to upper cover, fold-out sides, double ring-binder attachments for leaves and fastener.

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