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Text in art. This show cheered me up no end so I start chatting to the curator. The curator tells me it’s about giving up control/authorship and that the artists have been influenced by On Kawara. I say its about the participants visitors taking time to read the work, , I think the main thing is that it prompts a discussion. In Martijn in ‘t Veld ‘s Reading on Kawara there is a photocopy of the front page of a library book showing the date stamps. I only realised the next day why this was significant, once I had looked up On Kawara in an article by Adrian Searle.

Younh-Hae Chang- Heavy Industries ‘SUBJECT: HELLO version Z’ Here is one of those spam emails you get projected as a film, phrase by phrase, being read out as well with background music. As you take the time to read you feel yourself  getting sucked into the emotional blackmail of the email, which normally you would avoid and feel yourself being ‘swindled’ but laughing at the same time. Zinger has given over its website to showing another of these films.

Dan Rees ‘The Postman’s Decision is Final’ two sided postcard sent back and forth between two addresses for a year. I don’t even know if I’m right about this but it kept me thinking all afternoon. In the end postman decides whether it reaches the gallery or not or somewhere else.

The show included an essay by Freek Lomme,

‘As stated, art in itself proposes to radically bring forth meaningful matter via methods. This total sum may be produced by one, the artist, or more. The physical place and the author are irrelevant. They mainly have to fit to the method implied. The major vulnerability of the artistic objective might just lie within the receiver: does he even want to engage at all?’

Do I even want to read this work, find out what it is or do I want to rush on, finish my lunch hour. ˚

I also went to see:

White Cube G&G the rest ruder than the first St. James’ bit, took some pictures with my mobile phone. I love the footballer turned into something pornographic, the oil can advert one at the end at first off putting, looks like a Castrol advert.

Flowers East Hollowsphere-Jennifer Taylor horrible giant dusty balloons that reminded me of childrens’ parties and carved out wax spheres with tiny mincing machines inside.

Melinda Gibson Lamenting a Loss This was Polaroid photographs that have been smudged before the picture has set. You’re supposed to stare at them trying to see the image that’s been lost which is what happens, I guess. The titles are names of people which goes back to the text art idea.

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Dalston Mill

This week’s gallery visits


Agnes Denes -Dalston Wheatfield –  This windy slope reminded me of when we were [young] building our house. We had a patch of grass about 3 ft square we brought home in the back of a landrover from North Staffordshire, to be the beginning of our garden. The rest of the site was ground up clinker which is just what this place is.

This patch of nearly full-grown wheat looks a bit like those clumps of hair you imagine they sew into a man’s bald head, or weave-on hair extensions which is appropriate for Dalston I suppose. The size of a London garden, you can see the curve of the railway junction from the shape of the buildings that once used to be beside it. The railway from Broadgate used to join the North London line in Matalan car park. The patch of wheat would have made much more impact in Matalan car park- a bit of a missed opportunity there. Madeleine Bunting’s article in the Guardian has already gleaned (get it?) enough comments but I half doubt if the motives for the wheatfield are about raising consciousness or being artistic.  As it is the only people I see going in are trendy local arty types in the know. For the passers-by there’s a tiny door and a yellow coated security guard by the peace mural.

They’re going to make bread out of the wheat I guess, there is a kitchen and a windmill and a DJ and a bar in the rain. Tweets from some real bread enthusiasts :

@collegegarden in Cambridge harvesting their 44m2 of bearded wheat Soisson & milling it to bake Local Loaves for Lammas

Off to 2000Trees tmrw, so remember – #followfriday @RealBread & on Sat, check out Dan Lepard at the Dalston Mill & CherryDay

Lammas means loaf-mass today. Are they going to say mass at the Dalston Wheatfield? That would round off the art-climate change confusion nicely.

Dalston Mill

The Plinth, the Mall and Mason’s Yard

For today’s trip to the exhibitions I had a companion, my husband, but the bus was so slow we got off early and walked through Trafalgar square to have a look at Anthony Gormley’s One and Other which has caused a lot of chat. Unfortunately today the Modern Jesus Army had caused a lot of noise which took away from the spectacle of the fourth plinth. It was a man doing an oil painting of Trafalgar square. For some reason he looked better from the back, underneath, posed in front of his easel.

To the ICA, which happened to be near and slipped nicely into see Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. I thoroughly recommend you click on this link which is all about text in art, the concrete poets and Ian Hamilton Finlay who’s work is in the first room. A scale drawing of a fishing boat with notes of all the letters and numbers written on the side of the boat. We really enjoyed the typewriter art ‘Shooting the script’ by Carl Andre who did the bricks ..remember?  I suppose some people do still have typewriters in order to do the work. To get your own typewriter and try something similar would feel like copying but I’d like to try.

Husband was over the moon about FAINTGIRL and IGGY FATUSE, two posters from Janice Kerbel. The interesting thing about text art like this is you have to take time to read the text. You can’t take down the text and read it at home or buy a copy to read later, although sometime you feel as if you want to. No one reads it aloud to you either except maybe Bruce Nauman but he wasn’t included this exhibition. Text slows you down, the concentration is different somehow. People interacted with each other as they finished reading, saying ‘Wow if I’d typed like that I would have got the sack.’ If the page has a recognisable genre like the Faintgirl poster it’s easier to understand. If the text turns out not to say much it makes you feel let down. I felt a bit let down by well  …Frances Stark, I must explain, specify, rationalize, classify..   

Well which is it? Next we went to the White Cube to see Gilbert & George. The streets are so crowded in summer. Is London the centre of the world? Even the Mall had crowds of people walking either side and that’s a broad street. Once safely inside the hush of Mason’s Yard, we thought we just want to see the gallery. My partner had never been there, but I really love Gilbert & George. They are almost my neighbours since they eat every evening in the restaurant at the end of my road. Then they wait at the bus stop for the 67.

The work this time is composed of things that are so familiar and precious , the streets around Spitalfields, medals, branches of plane trees and their own bodies. Text appears in these pictures too: the titles like ‘Street Party’ that tell of a contemporary wry wit are part of the work. The artists wear suits covered in writing, some Bengali, some bits of the A-Z, some graffiti. The work shows compassion towards the communities that live around them, the way a small range of experiences can reflect our own nature.

The Plinth, the Mall and Mason’s Yard