Born to Concrete | State Library of New South Wales

Born to Concrete

Visual poetry from the collections of Heide Museum of Modern Art and the University of Queensland

This exhibition examines the emergence of Concrete Poetry in Australia in the mid-1960s and its subsequent developments. Born to Concrete presents works from Heide Museum of Modern Art’s extensive collection of Concrete Poetry, and The University of Queensland Art Collection featuring works created in the 1970s through to the present day. The exhibition features additional material from the State Library of NSW.

Concrete Poetry is a cross-pollination between art and literature that takes many forms, including printmaking, typewriter text, Letraset, sculpture, found objects, and more. A focus of the exhibition is the work of Sweeney Reed, which is presented alongside that of his contemporaries, including Alan Riddell, Alex Selenitsch and key international figure Ian Hamilton Finlay.

Taking its title from the first Australian journal dedicated solely to Concrete Poetry, Born to Concrete also features examples of the vibrant local publishing initiatives of artists and poets who created new avenues for the presentation of Concrete Poetry. Recent works by artists such as Vernon Ah Kee, Eugene Carchesio, Gordon Hookey and Grant Stevens are included.

Art installation on the Library’s historic stairs

To coincide with the exhibition the State Library commissioned Sydney-based artist Richard Tipping to create an installation on the Mitchell stairs. He created Hearth: Earth Heart 2013

Have a look at a time-lapse of the installation:

Richard Tipping, Hearth: Earth Heart 2013,
vinyl letters and vinyl print, photograph of Hearth 2008
(porcelain tile 60 × 60 cm, engraved with gold leaf)
Commissioned by State Library of NSW 2013


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