EXIT #16 - Writing pictures View larger

EXIT #16 - Writing pictures

Producciones de Arte y Pensamiento, S.L.

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Writing pictures

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EditorialOlivares & Asociados SL
YearNovember / 2004
LanguageSpanish / English
PagesFrom 160 to 200


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EXIT #16 - Writing pictures

Words, sentences, entire paragraphs…, texts in the context of the photographic image and contemporary art. Generally when we talk about the visual arts - what’s visual and iconic – it is the image that stands out, but text and as such, theoretical discourse, supports our understanding of many art works. So the coming together of both iconic and written aspects in one work may reduce or expand its interpretation, depending on the intention. In the case of the artists Antoni Tàpies, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Ed Ruscha, the text acts more as a visual element wherein the graphics are more formal signifiers than having verbal meaning. In other examples - Jenny Holzer, Lawrence Weiner, Christopher Wool – the work seems to presents itself more as a blank page upon which the text seeks to enunciate a more or less clear and direct content. In EXIT #16 Writing pictures the subject has been approached from the usual perspective of contemporary art photography and the result runs into the blurred boundaries of visual poetics which we have decided to sum up under the title Writing pictures.

As is customary, the chapter of articles is opened by the editorial by Rosa Olivares, simply entitled Words, with an eloquence that goes beyond the cliché of a picture is worth a thousand words. This is followed by the essay: Between Language and Perception, by Rod Slemmons, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College, Chicago, who addresses the friction generated by the direct use or presence of texts, sentences and words in images. The article provides an overview of the conflicts and cooperation between these two systems of communication, from the early works of the avant-gardes to the influence of photographers such as Walker Evans, Barbara Kruger and Shirin Neshat, not mention also, semiotics and advertising.

The portfolios of five other artists whose work demonstrates the use of textual tools are presented in the central pages of this issue. The selected artists include the British Victor Burgin and German Jochen Gerz, two classic proponents of conceptual art and so called photo-text; Spanish artist Rogelio López Cuenca and Canadian Ken Lum, who use text to express critical socio-political discourse; and finally, the young North American artist Matt Siber who is interested in digital techniques and the textual landscape of urban environments. Each portfolio – 10 pages in length – comprises a set of images and texts written by the artists themselves.

The last article, Text and Photography in Contemporary Art: two examples, by Joao Fernandes, Director of the Museu Serralves de Arte Contemporanea, in Porto, focuses on the British artist Hamish Fulton and his walks and journeys related to land art, and the Ukrainian Boris Mikhailov with his autobiographical diary-like stories of the former Soviet Union, and other ironies of today’s society. The magazine closes with its usual index of biographical information on the contributing artists.

In addition to the five aforementioned portfolios, there are images from other artists: Sophie Calle, Jorge Dragón, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Hamish Fulton, Gilbert & George, Raoul Hausmann, Jenny Holzer, Joseph Kosuth, Barbara Kruger, Jorge Macchi, Duane Michals, Boris Mikhailov, Abelardo Morell, Leonel Moura, Muntadas, Shirin Neshat, Martha Rosler, Iñigo Royo, Charles Sandison, Julião Sarmento, Lorna Simpson, Milagros de la Torre, Gillian Wearing amongst others which join the proposals regarding the use, presence and reading of text as an image in this issue of EXIT which is full of words and images.