This exhibition is organized simultaneously with Marking Language at Drawing Room, London (October 10–December 14, 2013) and a joint publication will be produced.
This show features an international group of artists spanning the 1960s to today, all of whom are engaged in exploring the relationship between drawing and writing as distinct yet interrelated gestures. Now commonplace, visual art’s preoccupation with language had its roots in an unexpected linguistic turn circa 1960, when artists sought to recover a direct, sensory experience of the world. Paradoxically, language became a favored tool in this effort as artists such as Dan Graham, Mel Bochner, and Hanne Darboven manipulated the written text in an effort to evacuate predictable meaning and uncover the materiality of language. The exhibition considers a different path, one that emerged simultaneously with Conceptual Art but that embraced language in art as a means of questioning the written word’s communicative transparency on the one hand and visual art’s material opacity on the other. Challenging modernism’s longstanding effort to purge art of narrative association in favor of material and conceptual self-sufficiency, the artists in the exhibition pursue a hybrid aesthetic that privileges incompletion.