Visual Poetry

One of the most interesting neo-avant-garde movements took root in Genoa in the late 1950s, and almost simultaneously in other Italian cities such as Naples and Florence, that is “Visual Poetry”, an art movement which the Villa Croce collection documents in depth.

Founded with the aim of overcoming the barriers between disciplines and subverting their techniques, “visual artists” included painters, writers, editors, performers - it developed following  various strands of thought with a particular attention to the investigation of the relationship between graphics & visual and meaning & content.

We start in 1958 with the foundation of the Luigi Tola Study Group and the audio-visual experiments of Martino Oberto (Genoa 1925-2011) and Anna Oberto (Ajaccio (FR) 1934) which took material form in the magazine “Ana Eccetera”, whose issue number 0 was published that year. Numerous artists revolved around the Studio Group including Luisella Carretta (Genoa 1938), an artist who left a generous donation to the museum and to whom the museum dedicated an anthological exhibition in 1995. Among her many works, the series of Silhouettes documents in a conceptual and graphic manner, her criticism of consumerist society, a position that would subsequently take her in a unique ecological-environmental direction, such as that seen in the “Tracciati” where she, using almost scientific methods, focuses attention on the essential unity of man and nature.

Rodolfo Vitone (Genoa 1927-2019) was a leading light of the Study Group who, together with Tola, created a salon-gallery “La Caràbaga” and started two magazines, “Marcatré”, a reference point for the writers and critics of Group 63, and “Trerosso”.

He went on to create the magazine which followed it, “Tool” in collaboration with Ugo Carrega and Lino Matti Vitone. This magazine interpreted the relationship between art and communication, the central theme of visual research, in an original way reproducing fragments of industrial products intertwined with signs and typographic letters that, in the 90s, became three-dimensional.

He celebrated his 80th birthday in 2007 at the museum and donated a large self-portrait to it.

From an artistic point of view Martino Oberto and the “Ana Eccetera" is the other magnetic pole for the visual poetry artists, with his experiments conducted with colour squeezed directly onto the canvas such as in the work “Spazio” written in 1955: a composition that shows  the cultural and philosophical-literary renewal of his thinking, also thanks to his friendship with Ezra Pound. Anna Oberto, who followed the production of the magazine “Ana Eccetera” until the end of the project in 1971, reinterprets in a wholly personal manner and, in some cases as a project of “Sentimental” Diarism, the female visual perception which reaches its own poetic dimension where the correspondence between writing and image abandons painting to move towards handwritten text with inserts of polaroid photos, collages and signs.