What I think declarative statements in the shape of text pieces are to younger artists are, first and foremost, a way of formalising a viewpoint or an idea. The success of the subsequent work depends on a variety of factors, but these factors are inherently rooted in both the visual and the literal. For contemporary artists that include text in their practices it is often used as a means of questioning what can actually be known, the nature of society and social and political structures, as well as having further critical clout in that it is seen as conforming to the Duchampian ready-made ideology. This is often as far as most artists who occasionally employ the use of text stretch to. In the worst case scenario text pieces are self-referential, naval gazing and can often give a viewer the impression that the artist didn't have the time to write a decent poem or song lyric.
Above: 'Art is Gold'
214cm x 168cm
MDF, Gold Leaf
Below: 'Yes, Yes, Yes - But'
Black Vinyl Lettering
*as shown at the Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, Free Range exhibition in London, July 2011.
The challenge for artists using text, since Kosuth and Weiner, has been in challenging the formalism of text art. This second wave of text artists arrived as certain neo-Conceptualists sought to update those artists' work, adding a sense of self-awareness of the art's own existence. With my text work I tried to use this idea of art's awareness of itself, to posit the view that any meaning that is imbued or implied in a work of this sort inherently seeks to destroy itself. The meaning, by being implied, immediately contradicts itself by being so explicitly communicated, within the parameters of postmodernist art, and so ceases to function as a viable mode of communication. This work attempted to highlight the difficulties of making art, not just in a practical sense, but at its deepest level of communication.
Above: Degree Show, Bath Spa University, June 2011.
This work was for me an attempt to extend or explore the limits of language and art, by challenging both as universally accepted modes of communicating. It was important also for me to try to show that art that uses text is not limited in subject matter to issues pertaining solely to linguistics, but can actually open up debate on issues such as the way in which we construct meaning - from language and from experience, how we live, how we feel.