Artpool Experimental Poetry Collection
Artpool Art Research Center collects, archives, and makes available documents for researchers regarding marginalized art practices of Hungary in the 1970s and 1980s and contemporary international art tendencies. Topics in the archive include progressive, unofficial Hungarian art movements (such as underground art events, venues, groups, and samizdat publications between 1970 and 1990) and new tendencies in international art beginning in the 1960s.In addition to functioning as a research center, Artpool considers itself an active archive. It organizes events in search of new forms of social activity, participates in the process in a formative way, and simultaneously documents and archives these process in order to promote the free flow of information.
Budapest, Szabolcs utca 33
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Name of collection
Experimental poetry collection in the Artpool Research Center
Provenance and cultural activities
Since the foundation of Artpool in 1979, a key concept of the institutional strategy is the documentation and distribution of alternative/underground art practices. In the formation of the complex collection, which includes different subcategories of experimental poetry, the art events of the Chapel Studio at Balatonboglár had crucial role. In the 1970s, the Chapel Studio in Balatonboglár, which was founded by György Galántai, provided space for experimental art expression which at the time was prohibited or marginalized. The Chapel Studio was open during the summers between 1970 and 1973, and with the participation of Hungarian and foreign (for instance Yugoslav, Czechoslovak, Italian, German, and Austrian) artists, it organized events which elsewhere would not have been possible. The sound poetry performances, experimental theater shows, and art exhibitions offered opportunities for free creative activity which were unique at that time in areas outside of Budapest. The first show of visual poetry in Hungary was held in Balatonboglár in 1973 with more than 60 Hungarian and international artists. The Szövegek / Texts exhibition (curated by Dóra Maurer and Gábor Tóth) presented concrete and conceptual works from the international art scene. The exhibition material and the documentation created an important starting point for the later development of the experimental poetry collection, which in relation with Artpool’s collection of artists’ publications is an important, growing, and continuously examined topic in the context of underground art practices. In the 1970s and 1980s, the primary focus was the sharing of information and contacts (with the help of mail art projects). In the 1990s, Artpool began to take active part as an organizer in exhibitions of experimental poetic approaches.As a result of the mail art activity of Galántai and of other cooperative endeavors, the quantity of the accumulated archival materials increased continuously. Mail art was open to different forms of artistic expression and new genres. Thus, the circle of mail artists and experimental poets tended to converge. The interest in visual poetry was often expressed in mail art publications, and the works generally reached the audience by post.
Following lively correspondence with foreign artists, the founders of Artpool visited their “pen-friends” on the occasion of the two Artpool Art Tours (in 1979 and in 1982). Júlia Klaniczay and György Galántai met Italian artists Vittore Baroni, Ugo Carrega, G. A. Cavellini, and Adriano Spatola, who donated materials precious to the archive related mainly to visual poetry and mail art. The activity of sound poet and composer Rod Summers, based in the Netherlands, was also an important inspiration for the foundation of the future Artpool Sound Studio.
Description of content
In the archive, a significant bibliographic background accompanies the materials, and original documents (invitation cards, articles, sound recordings, publications, posters, photo-documentations, artworks) are available for research. The collection of experimental poetry–related periodicals is especially rich thanks to the personal contacts and correspondence with artists over the decades.
There are more than 80 international periodicals referring to visual poetry from all over the world (for instance countries like Canada, Cuba, France, Italy, ex-Yugoslavian countries, and Hungary). Further topics connected to visual poetry can be found in the Artpool archive, like bookwork, artists’ publications, samizdat literature, performance art, and action art. The Artpool bookwork collection consists of nearly 1,000 items, including many editions of literary interest, focused on visuality, or dedicated to conceptual expression.
The archive contains documents of diverse character (such as posters, sound and video recordings, invitations, publications, photos, etc.) referring to visual or sound poetry events from the 1970s up to the present day.
The Artpool Art Research Center contributed to the promotion of experimental poetry in Hungary through its own publications. In addition to the catalogues published on the occasion of thematic events, Artpool informed the public about recent novelties in the contemporary art scene in regular periodicals (Pool Window, Artpool Letter). The samizdat art journal Artpool Letter was an up-to-date information source which also dealt with questions regarding marginalized underground art practices.
Major visual poetry periodicals in the Artpool archive:In 2018, the archive holding included documents from a total of 182 international artists active in visual poetry and 53 in sound poetry. The bibliographic database contained 977 entries with the keywords “visual poetry” and 358 related to sound poetry.
Baobab (IT), Dialogi – Westeast (SVN), Dimensão (BR), Doc(k)s (FR), E/mana/azione (IT), Geiger (IT), Hangups (DE), Kladron (USA), Kontexts (NLD), Laza Lapok, Le Cahier du Refuge (FR), Lotta Poetica (IT), Magyar Műhely, Medium - Art. Kísérleti / irodalmi fórum, Orgon (ES), Ovum (URY), Poezja (konkretna) (PL), Signalizam (SRB), Signos (CUB), Shi-shi Concrete & Visual Poetry (JPN), Tam Tam (Rivista internazionale di poesia) (IT), UNI/vers(;) (DE), VEC– Visual, Experimental, Concrete (NDL).
- artifacts: 1000-
- music recordings: 500-999
- publications (books, newspapers, articles, press clippings): 1000-
- video recordings (including oral history recordings): 500-999
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Budapest, Frankel Leó út 68/b.
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Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
Galántai, György – Klaniczay, Júlia (szerk.). AL 1-11, Budapest: Artpool, 1983-1985.
Galántai, György – Klaniczay, Júlia (szerk.). Radio Artpool 1–8, Budapest: Artpool, 1983–1987.
Szkárosi Endre (szerk.). Hangköltészet. Budapest: Artpool, 1994.
POLYPHONIX 26, Budapest: Artpool, 1994.
Tamkó Sirató Károly. A Dimenzionista Manifesztum története. A Dimenzionizmus (nem euklidészi művészetek) I. ALBUMA. Az avantgárd művészetek rendszerbe foglalása, Budapest: Artpool – Magyar Műhely Kiadó, 2010.
Galántai, György – Klaniczay, Julia (eds.). ARTPOOL – The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe. History of an active archive for producing, networking, curating, and researching art since 1970, Budapest: Artpool, 2013.
Author(s) of this page
- Szirmai, Anna
Klaniczay Júlia – Sasvári Edit (szerk.). Törvénytelen avantgárd. Galántai György balatonboglári kápolnaműterme, Budapest: Artpool-Balassi, 2003.
Galántai, György – Klaniczay, Julia (eds.). ARTPOOL – The Experimental Art Archive of East-Central Europe. History of an active archive for producing, networking, curating, and researching art since 1970, Budapest: Artpool, 2013.Bálint, Szombathy. A konkrét költészet útjai I-III. Új Symposion melléklet, Újvidék: Forum, 1977 (második, javított kiadás 2005).