On 29 January, at CAC - Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, ninety-two artists and their works will inhabit a special terrain vague in which the act of writing is more about potentialities of meaning than about signification.
Gianfranco Baruchello, Tomaso Binga, Irma Blank, Nick Blinko, Alighiero Boetti, and Frédéric Bruly-Bouabré, among the others, will be demonstrating that “Scrivere Disegnando. When Language Seeks Its Other” is not ultimately an exhibition about writing but it’s rather an exhibition about its hidden aspects and aesthetics.
As the very first collaborative project between the Collection de l’Art Brut in Lausanne and the Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, this exhibition brings together a diverse range of personalities: from “outsider” artists, some of whom carried out their work while institutionalized, all the way to “official” artists, some of whom played key roles in twentieth-century avant-garde and neo-avant-garde movements.
What these very different individuals have in common is the desire to capture an “elsewhere” within writing, to move past the semantic dimension and freely mine the innovative and imaginative resources of language.
Salome Schmuki, Single Keys, 2019, Video Still, Courtesy the artist
Mirtha Dermisache, Texto, 1970, India ink on paper, 28 × 23 cm, Courtesy P420, Bologna, Photo Carlo Favero
Galaxia Wang, Colossia footprints, 2015-2019, 16:9 video, Courtesy the artist
Fabio Lapiana, Quaderno di scritture e scarabocchi, 2016, Notebook, 22 × 15 cm, Courtesy Collezione Giuseppe Garrera, Rome, Photo Giorgio Benni
Dwight Mackintosh, Untitled, circa 1981, Felt-tip pen and paint on paper, 65.4 × 95.9 cm, Courtesy of Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne, Photo Kevin Seisdedos, Atelier de numérisation – Ville de Lausanne
Steffani Jemison, Same Time, 2017, Acrylic paint on clear polyester film, 4 pieces: 184 × 51 cm, 242.5 × 51 cm, 184 × 51 cm, 184 × 51 cm, Courtesy The Meeting
Susan Hiller, From India to the Planet Mars (48), 1997–2017, Unique photographic negative in wall mounted lightbox, 52 × 67.5 × 12 cm, © The artist. Courtesy Lisson Gallery
The use of the written word (with or without images and figures) was a recurrent practice throughout the 20th century and continues up to the present. Several exhibitions have explored individual aspects of this enormous body of work. The first that leaps to mind is “Poésure et Peintrie,” which opened in Marseille in 1993 and remains perhaps the most complete survey to date of the relationship between word and painting over the course of the last century. That exhibition and its catalogue covered a broad spectrum of literary and artistic experiments: Mallarmé’s Coup de dés and Apollinaire’s calligrams, Futurist “words in freedom” and Dada experimentation, Raoul Hausmann’s phonemes and Kurt Schwitters’ Ursonate, André Breton’s poem-objects and Christian Dotremont’s logograms, concrete poetry and its later outgrowth, visual poetry.
As one of the curators, Andrea Bellini, affirms: “Without claiming to be exhaustive, this exhibition examines a broad array of experiments that fit into this universe. It includes figures from the historical context of so-called outsider art, and alongside them — without any hierarchy — are various members of neo-avant-garde movements. Individuals who were active around the end of the 19th century, like Hélène Smith, are juxtaposed with very young artists currently bent on exploring the question of the sign, of asemic writing, and of glossolalia, not only through works on paper but through moving images, algorithms, and computer screens as well. The writing practices presented here obey no geographic, cultural, linguistic, or religious boundaries, because they reflect a fundamental pattern of human behaviour found at every latitude and in every era. Alongside figures active in Europe, the exhibition features work from other continents: Africa, Asia, and the Americas.”
- Scrivere Disegnando. When Language Seeks Its Other
- Opening Dates:
- From January 29 to May 3, 2020
- Curated by:
- Andrea Bellini and Sarah Lombardi
- Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève
- Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 10, 1205 Genève, Switzerland