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Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Matilde Cerruti Quara

Matilde Cerruti Quara by Alfie White

Tonight No Poetry Will Serve by Alfredo Jaar offers a powerful reflection on the limits of language and the role of creative expression in times of tragedy. A lament for today’s darkness and a call to find the words to confront these tragic hours, the bold new public intervention displays the arresting title of a poem by Adrienne Rich (1929–2012), a figure of inspiration for Jaar since the 1980s, who observed the limits of words in times of unthinkable violence: “no poetry can serve to mitigate such acts, they nullify language itself,” she wrote in 2011. Throughout November 2023, Alfredo Jaar and CIRCA commissioned a series of poetic dialogues, curated by Vittoria de Franchis, from international writers, thinkers and speakers. Giving voice to those who find themselves silenced or without words, the poems hope to achieve Rich’s ambition that creative expression can reconcile conflicting realities.


We are going through a very repressive moment, when nuance is lost and free speech is threatened. But I strongly believe that the spaces of art and culture must remain spaces of freedom. Artists will not be intimidated. In this environment, I have turned to the words of anti-war campaigner and poet Adrienne Rich to reflect both the limits of language and the frustration felt by many that voices for peace and justice cannot sound out as clearly as we wish. And, as part of the CIRCA commission, I am turning to today’s poets, writers, and artists, to support a forum for creative expression where the clear-sighted demands of humanity and empathy can be heard. In these times when politics have failed us miserably, art and culture are our only hope. Art is like the air we breathe, without art, life would be unlivable. Art creates spaces of resistance, spaces of hope.


On 11/11 at 11:11AM In the East Village by Matilde Cerruti Quara




Hand-signed limited edition print by Alfredo Jaar, £120+VAT. Proceeds will be donated to Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders. Available here.




Matilde Cerruti Quara is an Italian & British multimedia artist, poet, performance-maker, actor and writer whose practice navigates and expands the infinite possibilities of language via experimental theatre, immersive installations and text-based art. Her work investigates identity, archetypes, systems of belief, natural forces, spirituality and rituals, sexuality and power dynamics. Matilde challenges where art should live as well as our relationship to it through references to private and personal spaces. Using her own handwriting as the font for the work, she documents an intimate process of care, labor, and patience through playful explorations of slogans, affirmations, form, and color.