Over the years my poetry has evolved in form and content, incorporating found and ready made objects, in the tradition of Catalan artists Tapies and Brossa. I discovered their work at an exhibition at the Museu d’Art Contemporani Barcelona (MACBA), which included Brossa’s ‘object-poems’ and Tapies ‘Matter Painting.’ See below for examples of their work. I refer to my work in this tradition as Matter Poems. (It is worth noting the description object poem has an entirely different meaning in English, where it refers to a poem which describes an object.)
I use shape, colour and texture to write lyric poetry. The syntax constructed via a montage of objects trivial, sentimental, common place and extraordinary. In doing so I articulate the inner world via the clutter with which we surround our selves, suggesting the emotional baggage we carry around. An example of my work in this medium is the poem as installation, exhibited at Briton Art Gallery as part of the Home Site show.
Anne Enith Cooper, Forgiven not forgotten: sometimes words fail us, mixed media, 2000
Sometimes the pieces are claustrophobic and complex or witty and poignant. Others simplistic. Each a sublime expression of the ridiculous. Ridiculous, since we surround ourselves with things yet, we enter this world with nothing but potential, and leave with nothing at all unless we have been able to divine from the sum of our experience some wisdom and contentment. Yet all too often this eludes us and we pick up as we go along a store of attachments to all that is inconstant, insecure and ultimately meaningless.
Anne E Cooper, My Flag is Spectrum, (self portrait) cement cast and metal, 1998
The Little that is Left series are a meditation on absence. They imply the end of relating and the detritus of exchange. The fondness of longing. Each a narrative poem. The object opens invite the reader to write the story that is hinted at.
Anne E Cooper, The Little that is Left no1, mixed media, 2005
Much of the world seems to me absurd and obscene, with these objects I attempt to create art as narrative surprise, breaking down distinctions between the plastic, the digital and the written word. Caged is a meditation on modernity.
Anne E Cooper, Caged, mixed media, 2008
Joan Brossa and Antoni Tàpies
Brossa writes, “My objects reach out for analogy and visual metaphor… So that if words are things, with the language of things one can also create metaphors.” He famously created a work with two plane tree leaves held together by a paper clip and titled it Bureaucracy.
Joan Brossa, Paleta-Poeta (Poema-objeto), 1989. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Collection, Madrid
While Tapies refers to such work as Matter Painting and notes in a press release shortly before his death in 2012, “Like a researcher in his laboratory, I am the first spectator of the suggestions drawn from the materials. I unleash their expressive possibilities, even if I do not have a very clear idea of what I am going to do. As I go along with my work I formulate my thought, and from this struggle between what I want and the reality of the material – from this tension – is born an equilibrium.”
Antoni Tàpies, Sudden Awakening Part 1, in the permanent collection at Museu d’Art Contemporani (MACBA), Barcelona