By Martina Tanga

Ugo Carrega – leading figure of the 1960s Visual Poetry movement in Milan – was born on this day in 1935. This literary-visual movement was deeply intertwined with the neo-avant-garde, especially the Fluxus group. The visual poets pushed the boundaries of communication by extending the fields of poetry and visual experimentation. In their endeavor, they sought to challenge the increasingly dominating forms of mass media, and they circulated their work in pamphlets and magazines. Carrega had been an avid reader and writer of poetry from a young age, and he began integrating visual elements to his work in the early 1960s. He termed his work “New Writing,” as he energized the blank page by coalescing bold, almost painterly abstract marks, with the literalness of letters.  To disseminate his own work, and that of his colleagues, Carrega founded the magazine Tool in 1965, and a number of exhibition spaces, the Centro Tool in 1971 and Mercato del Sale in 1974. In 1988 Carrega, with the help of art collector Paolo della Grazia, transformed the Mercato del Sale into the Archivio Nuova Scrittura (Archive of New Writing). Housed in the Mart in Roverito, this documentation center is the most important archive in the country for the visual poetry movement.

L’irrefrenabile energia del desiderio, 1968, letterpress and enamel on plastic laid on panel

In Sei Parole, 1971, ink on paper

Concetto Elementare, 1973, mixed media on masonite

Fire, 1978, India ink on card

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