03 November 2013

Blood on Paper, text on textiles

The Blood on Paper exhibition at the V&A in 2008 was what got me interested in book arts again - particularly memorable are Anselm Kiefer's huge books, the pages from a book by Chillida, and Cai Guo Qiang's "firework", shown here. (The thumbnails on the V&A page are clickable for more info on them, and there's an essay by the curator here.)
"Danger" by Cai Guo Qiang (via)
When I started doing the "travelwriting" on my tube and bus journey, I started thinking about "the merging of text and image" - how the names of the stations or stops fit into the line drawing. When text appears on textiles, I feel that text takes over and am suspicious of using it (nor do I like my coffee mug to say COFFEE) - but books are a different medium, in fact they are vehicles for text (and/or images). Their purpose is arguably to be read.

At the Tate's Gauguin exhibition in 2010, seeing the pineapple pattern on the blue skirt was almost like reading the word "pineapple" - I simply couldn't get beyond the "word" to look at the rest of the picture. Yet seen on the actual fabric (rather than in a painting), it would have been simply a pattern element.
Of course we "read" images just as we read words - they stand for, indicate, and signify certain things, depending on context, culture, personal meanings. All rather complicated.... you can be sure that plenty has been written about this matter.

And when we read, we want to be able to understand the stories the words are telling - we don't want the words themselves to take over, to become like earworms, or to have meanings that are secret and exclude us.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Interesting reading, thank you!