Art Meets Language in New Exhibition

by Cass Art

The proverb “A picture paints a thousand words” is thought to have been coined by Frederick R. Barnard in 1921 while commenting in a trade journal on the effectiveness of graphics.

The phrase – which illustrates the idea that a complex idea can be communicated in a single image – is being turned on its head for a striking exhibition starting in London tomorrow (Tuesday 3 September 2013).

Artists, curators, critics and philosophers have perennially viewed art as associated with the written word. 

Now the Austrian Cultural Forum (ACF) is launching a display that deals with language and the importance of the written and spoken word for the art world.

Art Meets Language showcases contemporary works examining the links between this link by four celebrated Austrian artists.

Jochen HöllerEva BeierheimerMiriam Laussegger and Roman Pfeffer all scrutinise the process of writing very precisely as their works rearrange, transform and author text.

So how do they achieve this?

Höller refers to chaos theory, systems theory, philosophy and literature in his pieces, focusing on works by notable thinkers, as he deconstructs texts by luminaries such as Isaac AsimovKarl MarxLudwig Wittgenstein and several more. 

He repositions these texts sentence by sentence and word by word, occasionally only extracting the punctuation marks.

Höller, in so doing, produces collages generating a new context for the texts and conveying new meanings.

Art Meets Language

Beierheimer and Laussegger have developed a special online interactive project which collects and generates words and text common in art discourse. 

Their work explores the language employed by art critics, artists and others working in the cultural industry. 

They debate the significance attributed to the description or artworks and whether this does or can impede artists whose primary means of expression is something other than works.

Less is definitely more for Pfeffer. He erases text to produce his artworks. Pfeffer's work series refers to a piece by American abstract artist Robert Rauschenberg from 1953. 

Rauschenberg asked Willem de Kooning for a drawing and then meticulously attempted to erase it. 

Erased de Kooning Drawing - the work's title - intelligibly shows that rubbing out is merely nothing more than re-drawing an existing image with an eraser. 

Pfeffer addresses this classic example of destructive appropriation in a continuation of this virulent shift.

Art Meets Language at the Austrian Cultural Forum (ACF), 28 Rutland Gate, London SW7 1PQ. September 3-November 5. Private view on Tuesday, September 3 (7pm).

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