In Other Words
Lewis Glucksman Gallery, University College Cork
Cork, Republic of Ireland
Artists: Semâ Bekirovic, Erica van Horn & Simon Cutts, Niamh McCann, Cerith Wyn Evans, Takahiko Iimura, Joseph Noonan-Ganley, Kay Rosen, Peter Downsbrough, Michael Stumpf, Tim Etchells.
Curated by: Graham Allen and Matt Packer
In Other Words is an exhibition that explores relationships between art and text, featuring contemporary artists that use text in works of sculpture, installation, film and video. The exhibition questions the ways in which we traditionally see through words to their apparent meaning, emphasised in artworks that consider the constructions of language, ideas of legibility and the distinctions between reading and viewing.
In many cases, the selected artists in In Other Words have produced new works, often in direct response to the architecture of the Lewis Glucksman Gallery. There are artworks that interact with the geometry of the gallery, that use the full extent of the walls and that populate window areas, ceilings and floors. Other works seem to cast an architecture of their own.
The history of art over the past 100 years is full of examples of artworks that have incorporated text. In works of the early twentieth century, it was appropriated from the pages of newspapers and advertisements as artists sought to respond to a world that was being redefined by print media. Later, in the 1960s and 70s, the use of text by artists came to represent a reduced economy of practice, in addressing the social and material world. Although having a significant bearing on today’s artistic approaches, this sense of text as a reduced economy has since been complicated by technological changes. In our present age of text-messaging and e-mails, the written word is both pervasive and unstable; texts are easily corrected, manipulated and erased. Whether digitised on a screen, painted on a wall, or printed on a page, a single text can infer different meanings according to its form of presentation. Of course, an awareness of how technology continues to affect the nature of text has not only informed visual artists, but has also been a concurrent concern for critical thinkers, writers and poets. Through close discussion with co-curator Professor Graham Allen (University College Cork), the exhibition has been developed with many ideas drawn from disciplines outside of the realm of contemporary art, including literature and philosophy. These ideas have not only shaped the framework of the exhibition, but are also apparent throughout In Other Words as a series of written provocations that cut across the grain of distinct academic disciplines.