Simon Cutts

Ode for the Rediscovery of the Olympia 66 Portable Typewriter II, 1994-2013
Mixed-media, unique work. Exhibited in Printed in Norfolk: Coracle Publications 1989-2012.

In 1987, Cutts lost his Olympia 66 typewriter, designed by Max Bill in 1939 in a Paris street market. He began a search to find a replacement which he finally discovered in 1994. The artist has written of the typewriter: ‘Its conceptual integrity must be cherished as a tool transposing the notebook jotting to the draft as the first stage of a more formal page of type. This might matter even more than the wonderful playfulness of its availability for so-called concrete poetry, used by poets like Sylvester Houédard and Jirí Valoch, amongst many, fed by the equal spacing of letters of the typewriter‘s mechanics.’


LYS Glass Poem, 1971
Unique work. Wood, three interchangeable glass sheets, hand-painted lettering. Wooden stand: 140 x 30 mm, height of sculpture: 105 mm. Unsigned, with typed label on underneath of stand.

As well as the name of a river in France, ‘Lys’ can be seen as referring to the floral lily motif of the fleur de lys. The floating of the letters on glass references Claude Monet in his water-garden (Tarasque Press, 1967). The poet also offers the option of reversing the letter ‘s’ as if an anchor.


Saffron, William Allen Editions, London, 2007
Engraved glass multiple, letterpress printed brown card box with yellow/gold printed colophon on the inside of lid. Numbered 7/9, signed. 133 x 133 mm.

The etched poem reads, ‘saffron from the stamens of the lilac crocus’. On the top of the glass are etched and painted saffron strands. Saffron is the most desirable and expensive spice in the world, derived from the dried stamens of the saffron crocus, it has a deep auburn colour. The crocus flower resonates deeply with the history of the twentieth century avant-garde - one of its foremost figures, Dada poet and artist Kurt Schwitters, made The Autumn Crocus (1926-8), a curvilinear abstract form that reveals Schwitters’ exploration of combining geometry with the sinuous, organic shapes he found in nature.