Viste Grønli’s exhibition for List Projects takes as its starting point the letter E, the most common one in the English language. A number of the works transform ordinary pieces of furniture—a table, a bookshelf, a corkboard—into the visual form of an E. She plays with a tenet of structural linguistics, namely that the relationship between signs and the sounds they designate is arbitrary.
A photograph, for example, depicts a person performing the sound-shape of the letter E using Eurythmy, a movement art developed by Rudolf Steiner in the 1930s. The titles of these works that physicalize the letter E also use words that begin with the letter E, such as Entropy, Eggplant, Ebola, Effrontery, and English, forming something of an “E-Poem.”
However, the artist interrupts her system of Es with assemblies of everyday objects bearing no evident connection to the letter. Mussel shells, kitchen utensils, and an apple are adhered to or rest upon books, such as Immanuel Kant’s Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785).
Playing with the systematic and the arbitrary, these juxtapositions are generated through a method she calls “thinging,” borrowing a neologism philosopher Martin Heidegger used to inflect the noun “thing” into an action, such that these sculptures manifest the material and linguistic acts that allow them to exist.
until October 25, 2015
Lina Viste Grønli
curated by Alise Upitis
MIT List Visual Arts Center
20 Ames St E15, Cambridge