Fascinating and beautifully haunting, ‘Phonopoetics’ extends an unmissable introduction to the “verbophonic” orchestrations of Serbo-Hungarian vocalist Katalin Ladik, charting 10 remarkable points in her oeuvre between 1968-1993
Endorsed by the master of sound poetry Henri Chopin, who described hers a “great, magical voice” on the sleeve notes to 1976’s ‘Phonopoetica’ 7”, Katalin Ladik’s vocals have variously appeared everywhere from Warp’s ‘Barbarian Sound Studio’ soundtrack (‘The Fifth Claw’) to Mitar Subotic’s Rex Ilusivii trip ‘In The Moon Cage’ in recent years, yet her work remains little known beyond anyone looking deeply into the Eastern European avant-garde or the even more niche field of sound poetry. ‘Phonopoetics’ is bound to disseminate her work further, and effectively place her as a European answer to the likes of Joan La Barbara. Make sure to at least check the alien terrain of ‘Ufo-Nopoetica’, engineered by none other than Lászlo Hortobágyi, and you’ll get the gist.
“Phonopoetics is the first ever survey of seminal Hungarian artist Katalin Ladik's sonic efforts. A thing of beauty, drawing from the period between 1968 and 1993, its two stunning sides shatter the lines between performance, the spoken word, fine art, and experimental music, offering the terms to rethink how each is understood. Born in 1942, Katalin Ladik has lived a wild and multifaceted creative life -- beginning primarily as a poet of the written word, expanding into experimental theatre during the mid-1970s, and ultimately becoming an artist whose practice also incorporates sound and visual poetry, performance art, experimental music, audio plays, happenings, mail art, collage, and photography, built around visual and vocal expression, as well as movement and gesture. Phonopoetics, Alga Marghen's remarkably diverse survey of Ladik's audio work, is a refracting lens into this dense and dynamic world -- a totem which belongs to a sprawling puzzle of highly nuanced personal, social, political, and existential themes, springing from the feminist and gender neutral concerns of Eastern Europe during the 1960s and '70s. The totality of Ladik's practice, particularly as it unfolds across the two sides of Phonopoetics, can be understood as a radical rethinking of the potential, manifestation, and application of poetry, as well as the fundamentals of vocalization. Delving toward the very origins of consciously created sound -- spoken or otherwise, her efforts unseat the divisions placed between literary, musical, theatrical, and visual disciplines, joining them through the fundamental need and right to express. With the excepting of two works, "Shaman Song / Sámánének" (1968), and "Ufo-Nopoetica" (1976-1993), the featured body of work was created between 1974 and 1979, a prolific period which also witnessed her working within the Novi Sad Theatre and Radio Novi Sad. Primal and poetic, with shamanic overtones and therapeutic mechanisms of liberation, capturing the image of an almost entirely unheard history within the field of feminist expression developed by pioneering figures like Simone Forti and Joan La Barbara. In the words of visionary sound poet Henri Chopin, Ladik is "a great, magical voice." Alga Marghen's issue of Phonopoetics places this little heard, and profoundly important artist into the center of your consciousness where she will no doubt remain. A vital entry in the field of sound art, historic Eastern European experimental practice, and sound poetry.”