The power of the written word is being celebrated at London’s Luxembourg & Dayan gallery this summer, with an exhibition of poignant artworks that feature text as their focus.
In the installation, titled ‘Word by Word,’ curator Francesco Bonami walks us through the avant-garde work of 20th century artists who invited individuals to become the readers – rather than just viewers – of their pieces.
In the range of works on display, words and letters are used in different ways to portray their message. From conceptual artist John Baldessari’s photographic piece Word Chain, where the letters physically create a shape in the image, to the more political artwork captioned Sex / Lure by Barbara Kruger, and the poetic running prose of Carl Andre's Sun Feb 5 67 Mahjong take no full page ad. The language used in all of the pieces allows people to make their own interpretation of how the words create meaning in the ‘slippage between semiotics and aesthetics’.
Typography and media are also explored in the show with the later works. Magazine covers by Italian artist Alighiero Boetti, abstract newspapers collages by Marine Hugonnier and Joseph Beuys' chalk written Double Blackboard show the influential impact of words in art. The graphics and visual patterns in the words literally portray political and emotional messages.
The exhibition, which remains on show at Luxembourg & Dayan's Savile Row space until 5 September, takes the viewer through a historical timeline of ‘painting converged into poetry and poetry converged into painting, and the myriad complexions in between’.