Giovanni Fontana (poet)

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Giovanni Fontana (born 1946) is an Italian poet, performance artist, author and publisher.


Fontana was born in Frosinone, Lazio. He has been dealing for forty years with multi-code languages, intermedia techniques, sound poetry and visual poetry.[1][2]

Interested in the relationship between the arts, he came to a new conception of text and theorized the concepts of "pre-textual poetry" and the "epigenetic poetry".[1][2] His visual compositions present themselves as real scores, as pre-texts through which to attain a performance dimension.[2][3] From the latter half of the 1960s he has experience of theatre with the dramatic art groups. In 1968 he founded a small experimental theatre company. For theatre he wrote texts and he also worked as scenographer and musician.[1] His first visual poems are dated around the years of 1966–1968 and they develop parallel to sound experimentations on magnetic tape, which later were used in theatre (1968–1972).[2]

Fontana has published books and records. Among his works are the score-text Radio/Dramma (1977), the visual poetry works Le lamie del labirinto (1981)[4] and L'uomo delle pulizie (1984), the collection of poetry Scritture lineari (1986), the poems La discarica fluente (1997), Frammenti d'ombre e penombre (2005), Questioni di scarti (2012), the monograph Testi e pre-testi (2010) and two novels: Tarocco Meccanico (1990) and Chorus (2000). Fontana wrote theoretical and critical essays, including "La voce in movimento" (2003), "Poesia della voce e del gesto" (2004), "Le dinamiche nomadi della performance" (2006), "L'opera plurale" (2009).

Fontana was the curator of the CD Verbivocovisual. Antologia di poesia sonora 1964–2004 for the magazine Il Verri; he founded La Taverna di Auerbach, an international magazine of intermedial poetics, and the magazine of sound poetry Momo (voci, suoni & rumori della poesia), and he is an editor of the audiomagazine Baobab.[2] With his visual poems he took part in many exhibitions in Europe, in the Americas, in Japan and Australia, giving performances and installations in thousands of festivals for new poetry and electronic art.[5]

Further reading[edit]

  • Jean-François Bory, "Textes et pré-textes", in CCP, Cahier critique de poésie, Centre International de Poésie Marseille, n° 20, Marseille, France, 2010;
  • Gio Ferri, La ragione poetica. Scrittura e nuove scienze, Mursia, Milano 1994;
  • Pierre Garnier, "La voce e l'assenza", in Art in Italy, n° 11, Colognola ai Colli (Verona), Italy, 1998;
  • Bernard Heidsieck, "Giovanni Fontana et son combat", in Il suono e le parole. Otto artisti europei sonori visuali, edited by A. Malinconico, Marcus Edizioni, Napoli, Italy, 2006;
  • Eugenio Miccini, "Une sémiologie de la transgression", in Poésies sonores (edited by Vincent Barras and Nicholas Zurbrugg), Edition Contrechamps, Genêve, Swiss, 1992;
  • Francesco Muzzioli, "Scritture per voce e scritture in vista", in il Verri, n° 34, maggio, Milano, Italy, 2007;
  • Giulia Niccolai, "For Gianni Fontana's Radio Drama', in Harry's Bar e altre poesie, Feltrinelli, Milano, Italy, 1981;
  • Lamberto Pignotti, "La voce in movimento e altre voci", in Zeta, anno XXVI, n° 2, Paisan di Prato (Udine), Italy, settembre 2004;
  • Adriano Spatola, "Giovanni Fontana [Quadriennale di Roma]", in Flash Art, n° 134, Milano, Italy, 1986;
  • Paul Zumthor, Écriture et nomadisme, Éditions de l'Hexagone, Montréal, Canada, 1990;
  • Paul Zumthor, "Une poésie de l'espace", in Poésies sonores (edited by Vincent Barras and Nicholas Zurbrugg), Edition Contrechamps, Genêve, Swiss, 1992.


  1. ^ a b c Profile, A space for live art
  2. ^ a b c d e Dmitrii Bulatov. An international anthology of sound poetry. National Center for Contemporary Art, 2001.
  3. ^ "Giovanni Fontana. Testi e pretesti", University of Warwick.
  4. ^ J. Gordon Melton. The Vampire Book: The Encyclopedia of the Undead. Visible Ink Press, 2010, pp. 382-383. ISBN 9781578593507
  5. ^ Valerio Dehò, Alessandro Vezzosi. Leonardo in action and poetry. Museo Ideale Leonardo da Vinci, 2001. p. 175.