À propos de l'exposition

Loss of our dear friend, Bernard Heidsieck

The great poet-performer who invented "sound poetry" left us this November, Saturday 22nd. Eric Mangion, director of Villa Arson, Nice, which paid tribute to him in 2011, returns on his life and his influence in contemporary art.

Bernard Heidsieck, born November 30th, 1928, died of breathing failure last November, Saturday 22nd, 2014.
In the mid 1950s, Bernard Heidsieck decided to split up with written poetry, to get out of the book. Rather than passive poetry, he promoted active poetry, "standing" as he said. He was one of the creator of Sound Poetry from 1955, called Act Poetry after 1962. From 1959, he used tape player as a mean of writing, opening to new experimental fields. He was contemporary and close to Beat, Fluxus or American Minimalists movements. Laureate of the Grand Prix National de la Poésie in 1991, he remains a model for many generations of poets.
"I am always looking for the possibility of the listener/spectator to find a focusing and fixation visual point. This is essential to me. I always propose a minimum of action - without going until happening - to present the text as a living and immediate thing, witha texture almost physical. It is not actual reading, but a vision of the text heard."
While being radically innovative, Heidsieck remained attached to semantics. He explored its formal dimensions, by either "spacialization" of the text in scores he wrote, or by the presence of his body in the space. With him, sound assumes a plastic dimension, especially thanks to his outstanding diction based on breath, perfect articulation as well as modulations of his voice, continuously renewed.
Over the years, his writing has been reinvented to better summurize our everyday life, our social, political and economic univers, through its principal events and its extrem banality as well. In 1955, he recorded his first Poems-Scores. Then, he has not ceased producing series such as Biopsies between 1966 and 1969 (13 in number). From 1969 to 1980, it has been 29 Passe-Partout, among which the notorious "Vaduz" poem in 1974. From 1978 to 1986, he wrote Derviche/Le Robert composed of 26 sound poems ; and later, from 1988, Respirations et brèves rencontres [Breaths and short meetings] (60 poems starting from archives of artists breaths? records). Furthermore, like many poets, he went on visual artistic work. As soon as 1965, he conceived "writing-collage" plates, most of them including integrated circuits or fragments of magnetic tapes used for sound poems. He produced more than 1000 of them, especially collected by Francesco Conz. He realised 540 public readings "all around" the world.
Maried to visual artist Françoise Janicot for sixty-two years, he lived in the avant-garde circles since the 1950s. He not only participated but also organized many international festivals of poetry and performance such as Polyphonix. In 2011, a retrospective made out of his sound works has been organized at Villa Arson, Nice, with a publication by Les Presses du Réel. His original map of "Vaduz" just came into the Collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou. His visual work is presented by Galerie Natalie Seroussi, Paris, and his writings published mainly by Laurent Cauwet by Edition Al Dante. A documentary recounting his life has been presented at the Grand Palais at FIAC on last October 25th. An exhibition of his lifetime poetic and visual work has been presented from November 12th to February 1st, 2015, in Berlin, by Frédéric Acquaviva at the new location La Plaque Tournante.

Eric Mangion, Director of Villa Arson