“There were women, they were there, I knew them, their families put them in institutions, they were given electric shock. […] There were cases, I knew them, someday someone will write about them.” Gregory Corso, when asked about the female poets of the Beat Generation in 1994.


“this kind of bird flies backward” is a solo exhibition by Daniela Brill Estrada. Composed of a series of abstract ink drawings informed by scientific knowledge, the show is dedicated to the female figures, poets, artists, and thinkers of the post-war Beat Generation: Elise Cowen, Joanne Kyger and Mary Norbert Körte among others. Named after the homonymous book by Diane di Prima, this exhibition is an ode to them, the “secondary” figures, the poets flying backward amidst a generation that is mostly known for its rebellious, queer, and psychedelic character epitomized by names such as Ginsberg, Kerouac, and Burroughs. 


With the lifelong support of her affinity for poetry, Brill Estrada has worked for four years in collaboration with particle physicists and astrophysicists in order to propose her own poetic fundamental force in nature called the “Force of Embodiment”, responsible for the reincarnation of atoms into living or inert matter. The drawings exhibited are the result of the artist's experimentation and research of scientific concepts of fundamental forces in nature and the cosmic origins of each chemical element. They feature the process of chemical reactions between carbon-based ink, water, colored ink, calcium, and different techniques of drying or applying ink with brush on paper. Through these drawings,  which evolved to include inspiration by the poems of different “beat-females”, the artist hopes to embody the writing, lives, experiences, and stories of these poets, and bring them to life. 

During the exhibition, there will be readings of poems by Elise Cowen, Diane di Prima, ruth weiss, Lenor Kandel, Hettie Jones, Bonnie Bremser Frazer, Janine Pomme Vega, Joanne Kyger, Anne Waldman, Mary Norbert Körte, and Denise Levertov among others. 

Pictures by Simon Goritschnig

All images © Daniela Brill Estrada