Signalist Documentation Centre
was founded in 1970, immediately after numerous
contacts with a large number of avant-garde
artists from all over the world had been established
and the first voluminous parcels had arrived:
books, journals and other information material.
Upon arrival (journals, catalogues, books, postcards,
letters, photographs, objects, records, original
work of art, cassettes, etc.) documentation
was partly classified and registered in some
volumes of the International Review for Signalist
Research SIGNAL. But, generally the material
still remained unsorted, in a state of a dynamic
or, more precisely, creative chaos.
One of the basic aims of the Centre is, for
sure, collecting and saving signalist documentation
and works (papers) concerned with signalism
and avant-garde creative movement which originated
and developed in Serbian culture and was active
in the broad Yugoslav space*. There is quite
a lot of such material and it has already been
used for a doctoral thesis Signalism: Genesis,
Poetics and Artistic Practice, written by Zivan
Zivkovic assistant (now professor) at the Faculty
of Philology, who obtained his doctoral degree
at the same faculty in April 1991. Yet, as quite
logical a great deal more documents (books,
journals, catalogues, etc.) refer to European
and world avant-garde from the seventies and
eighties, especially Visual Poetry** and Mail
Art. One may freely say that the main contents
of the Signalist Documentation Centre, is in
fact formed of publications which in a way represent
these two artistic forms and artifacts connected
or directly concerned with them.
The material which has arrived to the Centre
comprised mainly works, books, catalogues mainly
sent by artists who themselves wished, first
of all, to contribute in the review SIGNAL***
. This journal has achieved remarkable recognition
within international avant-garde circles in
the beginning of the seventies.
A great number of works and other documents
was obtained due to calls for anthologies that
I composed for magazine Delo no.3, 1975. and
Mail Art - Mail Poetry, Delo no.2, 1980.
Cooperation and exchange with other archives
and similar centres was established. In the
beginning and mid seventies, most successful
communication was with neo-Dadaist centre and
archives of avant-garde artist Klaus Groh, who
later became a professor in Oldenburg (Germany).
Here, one should also mention The Jean Brown
Archives, Tyringham, Massachusets, who specialized
in Dadaism and Surrealism but contains avant-garde
works from the period after Second World War,
as well: Lettrism, Concrete Poetry, Fluxus,
Happening, Pop-art and Conceptual Art.
There existed an interesting and fruitful exchange
of information and publications with Sohm Archive
which emphasized its rich collection of the
Fluxus movement and Happenings as its specialty
and published a significant monograph Fluxus
and Happenings in 1970. The owner of this archive,
Hans Sohm, was especially interested in collecting
documents and other material concerning signalism
and Yugoslav avant-garde on the whole. Since
about ten years ago, this archive has become
part of the Statsgalerie in Stuttgart.
One of the largest archives, if not the largest,
specialized in Concrete and Visual Poetry (with
a separate section devoted to Mail Art) is the
Ruth and Marvin Sackner Archive of Concrete
and Visual Poetry in Miami Beach, Florida. Up
to my knowledge, the most complete and best
presentation of Signalism abroad is found in
the Sackner Archive.
Quite a number of Signalist publications was
donated to the Library of Serbian Academy of
Sciences and Arts which formed a legacy in the
end of 1988. More information about this legacy
registered as no. PB19 can be found in Special
Libraries in the Library of Serbian Academy
of Sciences by Dr Tatjana Filipovic-Radulaski,
Bibliotekar No.3-4, July-December 1989, pp 63-64.
A fund of Signalist Editions was established
in the Library at the Faculty of Philology,
Belgrade, in 1991.
Towards the end of 1992, a large number of books
and other material were given to the library
of Matica Srpska, it is being classified and
saved as a separate library collection named
Neo-avant-garde - Documentation of Miroljub
Todorovic. More detailed information about this
library is found in the following: N.Popov,
Secrets of Signalism (New collection in the
Library of Matica Srpska), Dnevnik, 21. January
1993. and R(adivoj) D(oderovic) Neo-avant-garde
- Documentation of Miroljub Todorovic, in BMS,
Vesti (Journal of Matica Srpska Library) No.
3, January 1993.
On September 19th., 1994., a contract was signed
with the National Library “Stevan Sremac” in
Nis on founding a donation Signalism - Special
Fund of Miroljub Todorovic, in memory of Nadezda
(Nadica) Todorovic. Special value of this donation
compared to those already mentioned, is that,
besides books, journals, catalogues etc. it
will comprise manuscripts, original works (Visual
Poetry, Mail art), photocopies and originals
of letters and other documents concerning Signalism
as Serbian (Yugoslav) creative movement. (See
the paper V.P., Valuable Gift, Narodne Novine,
20. September 1994, Nis.
See more about Visual Poetry in my books Signalism,
Nis 1979. and Diary of Avant-garde, Belgrade
1990. as well as in the books by Zivan Zivkovic:
Orbits of Signalism, Belgrade 1985, Testimonies
about Avant-garde, Belgrade 1992, Signalism:
Genesis, Poetics and Artistic Practise, Paracin
1994 and in the book: Essays about Signalism
by Ljubisa Jocic, Zemun 1994.
That is how visual poems (drawings) were obtained
from Raoul Hausmann, founder of the Berlin Dada
(1918) and discoverer of photomontage. Already
very old, few months before his death (February
1971), he sent two original works to be published
in Signal. For more information about this event
see my text Raoul Hausmann in Signal, Diary
of Avant-garde pp. 10-13.
(From the book PLANETARY