The exhibition brings together works that are influenced by the actions, traces and aesthetics of handwriting or its ephemera – the lines and grids that guide it. All the invited artists are native English speakers but all to differing extents have taken influences from Chinese script. These influences surface in a variety of ways in the selected works.
The artworks in the exhibition will contain written language but no legible text, in the sense that they will not contain characters, words or sentences that can be decoded through dictionary definitions or a fluency in the language from which they derive. By only including works that strip language of this ‘meaning’ the viewer is invited to explore what else may be communicated. For example, anthropologist Tim Ingold argues that when we write we enact a sense of ourselves – the gestures come from our bodies and our embodied experience in a way akin to dancing, walking or any other bodily action that we perform. Here writing becomes performance or a trace of a performance and connects, not just the body to language, but the language, the space it aims to describe and the space within which it is enacted – the page, canvas or exhibition space.
Another, in many ways interconnected way of considering these texts without ‘meaning’ is as drawings. Many of the selected works exist in a liminal space between drawing and writing, questioning where one ends and the other begins and unsettling such categorisations.
The exhibition is organised by artist Jayne Lloyd as the culmination of a year long project that included a residency at the 501 Arts Space, Chongqing. To find out more visit Jayne’s blog at http://www.a-n.co.uk/artists_talking/projects/single/3245703 or follow Jayne on Twitter Jayne Lloyd
We would like to thank the Arts Council for funding this project and the Centre For Chinese Contemporary Art http://cfcca.org.uk/ for their support with the residency and workshops leading up to the exhibition.