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For his third exhibition at the Lara Vincy gallery (after Shamanic Traps in 2003, then Cages of Desire in 2009), Alain Arias-Misson invites us to (re-)discover his “Public Poems”, poetic street actions of the past which he has reactivated through works which “stage” those interventions in city space.
The Public Poem Reactivated is a hybrid project, both document and work of art. The Public Poem was invented and experimented by Arias-Misson on his return from New York to Brussels and Madrid in 1966-67. It consists of a singular poetic proposition: “to write on the street like a page”, which he has developed ever since in Belgium, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the United States.  
The exhibition presents videos and photos, the sole traces of those ephemeral events, which have been embodied in various materials (steel, plastic, silk, polystyrene, glass) used in the original Public Poems, and in objects, which give a metaphorical or analogical reference to those artistic events.
For example, the G  D Public Poem (Brussels, 1968), the A Madrid Public Poem (Madrid, 1969) or the Chomsky Generative Grammar Poem (Brussels, 1972).
The Public Poem is not a performance in the customary sense of the expression: it takes place in the street, outside any artistic framework, incorporating in its process urban elements such as monuments, political and financial institutions, traffic, police, cultural and historical symbols, in order to provide new, subversive and dreamlike readings of the city. It thus constitutes a street poetics, putting radical questions to its public: the passers-by.
The numerous Public Poems he has carried out, by essence spontaneous, have sometimes been sponsored by museums and foundations, such as the Centre Pompidou (La Revue Parlée), the Literaturhaus of Hamburg and of Berlin, the City of Bonn, the Pratt Institute of Los Angeles, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Antwerp (M KHA) etc...
A catalog that deals with his Public Poems and with this series of works that derive from them, Arias-Misson: The Public Poem Extension Program, was published by the Fondazione Berardelli on the occasion of his personal exhibition at the Foundation in Brescia (Italy) in 2011.
A brief artist’s history of the Public Poem, From the Cutting-Floor of the Public Poem, just published by MER. Paper Kunsthalle (Ghent, Belgium) accompanies this exhibition.

Biographical background:

Born in 1936 in Brussels, Belgium.
Lives and works in Paris and Venice.

One of the innovators of visual poetry at the beginning of the 1960’s and close to the Fluxus movement, he has expressed his ideas indifferently in object-poems, theatre-boxes and books.
In 1965, he invented the concept of the Public Poem, a “magical” theatre of the street which consists in the appropriation of the city-space by the poem. Always provocative and poli-tical, it exists in a destabilizing relation which it sets up between the public and the text.
His visual work is an instantanaeous micro-theatre in which words, objects and tiny characters crystallize a narrative in constant fluctuation. In this “object” theatre which he characterizes as shamanic, words and objects “act upon” the artist/observer. It is this psychic function of “memory forwards” which constitutes the hidden dimension of the work; this miniature theatre postulates a fundamental ambiguity between “making-believe” and magical efficacy.
Publications: two artists books on his public poems: in 1978, The Public Poem Book; in 1993, The Verbo-Visual Sins of a Literary Saint, which is a visio-poetic composition of soft-porn female silhouettes merged with photographs of public poems.
Several novels, among them: in 1993, The Mind Crime of August Saint, in which a fiction is built out of multiple visual media without reproducing any of these, a concept he names “superfiction” which was taken up in American critical discourse; in 2007, Theatre of Incest, in which he investigates the roots of our sexual fantasies, recently translate in french; in 2009, The Visitor, a monographic catalog designed by Arias-Misson on the whole of his visual work has been published by INAC/Ulisse e Calypso, ed. mediteranee in which the artist revisits four decades of mental theatres and street theatres and in March 2013 a collection of stories, The Man Who Walked on Air and other Tales of Innocence, published in the U.S.