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Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Tomaso Binga

Tomaso Binga by Andrea Chemelli

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.


Si Chiama Guerra by Tomaso Binga


Courtesy of Archivio Tomaso Binga




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




Tomaso Binga is the pseudonym of Bianca Pucciarelli Menna. Born Salerno in 1931, she lives and works in Rome. Bianca was a professor of Mass Media Theory and Method at the Academy of Fine Arts in Frosinone. As an artist, she used a male name to ironically and critically challenge the privileges of the Masculine world. Bianca’s practice focuses on textual-visual writing; she is among the leading figures of sound poetry and concrete poetry, with hundreds of appearances at festivals and cultural events, and worldwide exhibitions.