Strengthening the collection together: Paolo Della Grazia donates the Archivio di Nuova Scrittura to Museion

Karl Heinz Steck, Signboard of the Archivio di Nuova Scrittura, 1988, Collection Museion / Archivio di Nuova Scrittura

Paolo Della Grazia has donated to Museion, the Archivio di Nuova Scrittura (ANS) – his collection dedicated to art that combines words and images and, in particular, Visual Poetry, Concrete Poetry and Fluxus. The collection, which has been on a long-term loan to Museion since 1998, has now become a permanent part of the museum collection. The Archivio di Nuova Scrittura includes approximately 1800 artworks and is considered to be one of the most important collections of this art sector in the world.

The origins of the ANS collection, which has an international scope but a clear focus on the work of Italian artists, lie in the exhibition and collection activities of Ugo Carrega. One of the leading exponents of visual poetry in Italy, Carrega ran the Mercato del Sale (Salt Market) cultural center in Milan for a long period, and this experience is expressed in the ANS which had its headquarters there, in via Orti 16. The current form of the collection, though, is the merit of Paolo Della Grazia’s sensitivity and his passion for art forms that combine visual art and poetry.

The relationship between words and images has always been an important field of research in Museion’s exhibition and collection history. In the ANS the hybrid forms of art featuring words and writing that characterize numerous artworks of the ‘60s and ‘70s speak to and have become bound to the art of the third millennium. It is this bond that the next project at Museion, “Here to Stay”, is based on.

The ANS donation is the result of a long process that began in the 1990s under the direction of Andreas Hapkemeyer, who laid the foundations for an important nucleus of visual and concrete poetry in the collection and its original long-term loan contract. This interaction was then continued at Museion under the direction of Letizia Ragaglia. It is an honor to now be able to consolidate this long-standing relationship between Paolo della Grazia and the Museion collection, and turn a loan into a gift. The gift heralds a new chapter for Museion and an incredible investment in South Tyrol’s cultural landscape and international profile. Lasting relationships need time to build but they can certainly make a difference. The ANS will now be a permanent feature in our research and we will continue to build on it at Museion and display this collection to the public.” commented Bart van der Heide, the Museion Director.

“I see the donation of the Archivio di Nuova Scrittura to Museion as my farewell to the world of art, but also as a natural and positive handover. Over the years, Museion has addressed and presented to the public, the themes and unique visual world of these ANS works with consistency and courage. And this has always gone beyond fashions and any search for immediate consensus. I hope, then, that with this same spirit, in the future too, this intangible asset will continue to be a reference point for studies and research, and open new and unexpected scenarios around the context of Visual Poetry.” is how Paolo Della Grazia described his collection.
After all, the movement included a vast group of artists. Men and women who wanted to transmit a new message and language inspired by the turmoil created by the emergence of new realities that required a new approach to be understood. They were full of enthusiasm and ideals and open to outside, and even international influences. They wanted to move away from the past and they presented themselves as bearers of an impending future. There is no trace of violence, hate or malice in their works. Their poetic was the word declined in a wide variety of forms and via the Word they communicated their Dreams to us. In their works there are no hidden conceptual and/or intellectual ideas, but only alphabets for decoding thoughts, words and lives. The Archive contains a vast amount of material created by these figures. Its size defines its value as it allows us to penetrate deep into their world and poetic.” continued Paolo Della Grazia with regard to the Archivio di Nuova Scrittura.

In past years, Museion has already dedicated solo and group shows to ANS artists, like Nanni Balestrini, Irma Blank, and many others, as well as editing publications, such as ArtWord: Archivio di Nuova Scrittura, 2003, Museion, ABC: Lettere in libertà, 2009, Art=Life=Art.Dada ˃Fluxus, 2012. In 2019 the Intermedia collective re-examined the history and activities of the New Writing Archive and brought together its various nuclei in the light of the intermediality concept. At the same time, Mart in Rovereto, which manages the Archive’s impressive bibliographical and archival documentation, presented an in-depth look at the hundreds of experimental magazines issued in the second half of the twentieth century. Last of all, thanks to the cooperation between Mart, Museion and the Bruno Kessler Foundation, the VVV Verbo Visuale Virtuale (Virtual Visual Verb) platform has been set up that brings together all the ANS archive material conserved at the two museum institutions.


Download the full statement by Paolo Della Grazia