Active Poetry. Poem by Ewa

Ewa Partum

Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland, 1945
  • Series: 
    Tautological Cinema
  • Date: 
  • Edition/serial number: 
  • Media description: 
    8 mm film transferred to video (Mini DV, Digital Betacam and DVD)
  • Duration: 
    5 min. 45 sec.
  • Colour: 
    Black and white
  • Sound: 
  • Category: 
    Video, Performance
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

Beginning in 1970, Ewa Partum wrote multiple versions of the Poems by Ewa, changing style and content over the years. Examples of their translation into cinema are found in the Films by Ewa compiled in this film. In contrast to Joseph Kosuth’s conceptual art focusing on language and its referent, Ewa Partum does not link the word to image it represents, but instead tries to show the materiality of language and the restrictions that grammar and syntax impose on the construction of meanings. This discourse is reflected in the five actions documented here. The artist scatters large white letters across various landscapes; the random movement of the letters through the space lends temporality to the process, moving towards post-structuralist discourses on language. These discourses state that the signified does not depend only on one signifier – a letter or an image - but on the combination of, and relationship between, a multiplicity of signifiers. The white card letters that she uses in these acts are those that were used for socialist propaganda slogans. After the fall of the Socialist regime in Poland, such letters disappeared from the streets and the market, which adds another level of reading to the film these days.

Lola Hinojosa