Transcript




Fiona Banner, Pavel Büchler, Matt Calderwood, Ben Eine, Tim Etchells, Barry Finan & Rosanne Robertson, Sam Jackson, Hugh Mendes, J Price, Michael Scoggins, Barry Thompson, Mark Titchner, Amikam Toren, Mark Wallinger

‘Transcript’ is a group exhibition curated by gallery director Zavier Ellis and artist Hugh Mendes. Both Ellis and Mendes have an enduring interest in text-based work and in the occurrence of text itself in our general cultural environment.

This exhibition will explore the use of text in contemporary art that has been transcribed from every day or alternative sources. For over a century, ushered in by Pablo Picasso’s inclusion of the fragmented word ‘JOU’ and collaged oilcloth in ‘Still-Life with Chair Caning’ (1912), artists have turned to low sources and materials gleaned from everyday life, thereby navigating visual communication away from its traditional reliance on imagery. Found elements derived from life in the studio, street and café were deployed to confront the audience directly with the stuff of reality at a time of great political, social and cultural flux. Fast-paced change was axiomatic of the modern period, echoed by incessant industrial, technical and mechanical progress. Additionally, during a period of economic depression during and between the two world wars, adopting the use of accessible collage elements and found objects represented a democratisation of materials in themselves.

Picasso’s introduction of text as a prominent surface component prepared the way for contemporary artists to develop it into a subject in itself, and to engage directly with popular culture; commercial strategies; and semantics. The artists in this exhibition wholeheartedly embrace the dissolution of hierarchical materials and sources. ‘Transcript’ will include painting, work on paper, video, installation, sculpture, performance and assemblage derived from film, signage, posters, advertising, newspapers, notebooks, diaries, clichés, graffiti, tattoo and schizophrenic acoustic hallucinations.

Beyond this framework, ‘Transcript’ will investigate the disruption of language. In 1916 ‘Course in General Linguistics’ by Ferdinand de Saussure was posthumously published, and became a critical work in the field of semiotics. Central to Saussure’s theory is the arbitrary relationship between the signifier and signified. Taking the written word as the ultimate signifier, where meaning is attached by general consensus, text-based work has the facility to communicate universally, at least to an audience who speak and read the same language. However, again from synthetic cubism onwards, text-based work has often been characterized by fragmentation and incoherence, where the association between signifier and signified is disrupted. This exhibition will assert that broken, covered, erased, reversed, redacted, or dissolving words, letters or sentences serve to deconstruct language in order to encourage ambiguous, new or unintentional meanings, both cognitively and instinctively.

The exhibition will include a performance at the private view and on the final day:
Tim Etchells ‘Some Imperatives’, 2011 Performance (performed by Andrew Stevenson)
Thursday 24 May at 6.30pm | Saturday 23 June at 3.00pm

Duration 25 May 2018 - 23 June 2018
Times Wednesday–Saturday 11am–6pm or by appointment
Cost Free
Venue Charlie Smith London
Address 336 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DR
Contact / gallery@charliesmithlondon.com / www.charliesmithlondon.com

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