Katalin Ladik

1942, HU Website
Cherub performance, 2009. © Katalin Ladik
Phonopoetica, vinyl inside cover, 1976. © Katalin Ladik and acb Gallery Budapest

When asked to situate her artistic practice, Katalin Ladik’s answer is clear: “First, and above all, I am a poet. I constantly try to expand the boundaries of poetry.” In so doing, the pioneer sound and performance artist has frequently found herself equally pushing against other boundaries, whether of music, language, corporeality or perception. Phonopoetica is one of her best-known journeys to another realm of sound and signification. Released in 1976, the record contains phonetic interpretations of experimental visual poetry. Ladik combined ritual vocal and linguistic elements with groans, sighs, screams and other bodily forms of expression, adding in fragments of discarded jazz recordings on tape she had found in the bin at the sound studio. Taking communication to the edge – as Ladik’s record makes plain – engenders new speculative forms of vocal expression and countless imaginative possibilities.    

Katalin Ladik (1942, HU) considers herself, first and foremost, a poet. Through her work, she is constantly trying to expand the boundaries of poetry.
Whatever material she uses, the goal is to portray a poetic message through it: voice poetry with her voice, concrete poetry with her visual works and collages, and multimedia poetic performances with her body. She draws inspiration from her multicultural environment and her heritage.
All of Ladik’s performances are based on the metaphor of descent into the underworld, the ritual of birth and genesis, the motif of androgyny and the distortion/deformation of her face. The faces featured reflect our inner selves, the masks which can be found in all of us.
The relationship between visuality, objects, sounds, and movements is the essence of her work. Ladik’s artistic practice is based on movement, transformation and change as in nature and the universe.


Katalin Ladik 

Sound recording, 14.54 min, on 7-inch vinyl record, Ø 17.5 cm 

Courtesy of the artist and acb Gallery, Budapest