Appropriating Language #3
The works in this third edition of “Appropriating Language” come together to position the viewer in a particular context, whereby the production and reception of these text as art occurs accordingly. Text is used as a means of conveying and locating meaning and value. It is at once content and the way in which it is constructed and displayed. A sense of free-play adheres the works together, while they go on to provoke on their own right.
What is usually scribbled in the back of an artwork, with hardly any second thought, the artist’s signature and edition number is the work in Ties Ten Bosch’s “Initial numbers” neon series. Ten Bosch takes his initials - TTB - and reproduces his signature as neon sculptures numbered 1/5-5/5. What seems like a clever play on words is a sly commentary on the art market’s (mis)placed value on the artist’s name. The artist’s multiple is taken to it’s logical conclusion: the artist, himself, is editioned. The image and content of the work are the neon signatures, rendered in pleasing color and light. The artists name is thus materialized, commodified and expected to act and circulate as a product, a brand of its own. Ten Bosch’s play on words as a means of questioning the meaning and value attributed to things is evidend in “POEN”, too, which takes the ubiquitous open neon sign and rewrites it to poen, the Dutch slang for money.
Things are not what they seem in Korvin Reich’s work either. Drawn from observation, reflection or random ideas, short sentences, puns or words are printed on large canvases. Upon close inspection, it becomes apparent that these are drawings. This mixing of canvas, usually reserved for paintings, with printing typography and drawing is meant to subtly contrast mass production against the more personal touch. Each of the panels can be read as individually or pieced together to compose a whole. Text, which can be printed and multiplied, is broken down into unique, distinct pieces. When exhibited together, combinations can and do emerge. Organically, in the reader’s mind thought takes form. Unconditioned by the artist’s intention and design, each of these takes engenders questions and revelations.
How is content created? These seem to be the questions Samantha Font-Sala asks in her work “You need to introduce,” as does the exhibition as a whole. The 8 page booklets are made by folding A4 copy paper down to A6. Produced by a copy machine, these 7 booklets are meant to circulate just as easily. The question of content is contained in their very means of production. Perusing the booklets, the tension between the question of content creation and the choice of media and process becomes ever more apparent. Meant to evoke the copy shop and stationary experience, the paper color and quality, when paired with the seriousness of the ironic and naive statements, produces the satire effect Font-Sala is after.
*Eriola Pira is an independent, contemporary art curator and writer. She is the Program Director of the Young Visual Artists Awards. Her Fulbright Fellowship research on contemporary art practices in post-socialist Albania led to her M.A. in Visual Culture Theory from New York University. She is currently researching and writing about fictional artists.