Poetry Marathon

In the beginning was the word

Serpentine Pavilion

17 Oct 2009 - 12:00 PM to 18 Oct 2009 - 10:00 PM

Poetry Marathon

The Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon was an ambitious two-day poetry event taking place in London during Frieze Art Fair week and featuring unique performances from leading poets, writers, artists, philosophers, scholars and musicians.

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An international group of major figures were brought together to perform in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009, designed by architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the acclaimed Japanese practice SANAA. The Poetry Marathon included performances of new work, collaborations, discussions and experiments.

There is a long and vivid history of exchange between artists and poets. Guillaume Apollinaire made a literary connection to Cubism with his great work of ‘visual poetry’ Calligrammes: Poems of War and Peace 1913-1916. In the same period, Hugo Ball wrote the Dada Manifesto (1916), a movement in which the poet, essayist and performance artist Tristan Tzara was also closely involved. A decade later, in 1924, André Breton, the proponent of ‘automatic writing’, published La Révolution surréaliste (The Surrealist Revolution).

In the 1950s, Abstract Expressionism was an art movement with strong creative connections with writing and poetry of the time, from the work of poets Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery to artist Robert Motherwell’s influential essays on the New York School. Later, in the 1960s, the international artistic network Fluxus formed innumerable close links between visual art and the written word.

The Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon was curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects. It was held in the Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009, designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA. The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion Commission was conceived by Julia Peyton-Jones, Serpentine Gallery Director and Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes in 2000.

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Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon catalogue

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In the beginning was the word

Poetry Marathon 2009

Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon 2009

Pictured: Jimmie Durham

2009
Performance view, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA (Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October 2009)

Poetry Marathon 2009

Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon 2009

Pictured: Tacita Dean

2009
Performance view, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA (Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October 2009)

Poetry Marathon 2009

Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon 2009

Pictured: Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster

2009
Performance view, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA (Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October 2009)

Poetry Marathon 2009

Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon 2009

Pictured: Julia Peyton-Jones

2009
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA (Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October 2009)

Poetry Marathon 2009

Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon 2009

Pictured, from left: Karl Hyde, Brian Eno

2009
Performance view, Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA (Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October 2009)

Poetry Marathon , Park Nights 2009, Photograph Mark Blower Poetry Marathon Programme Saturday 17 October 2009 12.30 – 9.00 pm Julia Peyton-Jones Hans Ulrich Obrist Tracey Emin Tacita Dean Agnès Varda Kenneth Goldsmith Holly Pester Eleanor

Serpentine Gallery Poetry Marathon 2009

Pictured: Gilbert and George

2009
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2009 designed by Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of SANAA (Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 October 2009)