Some say this exhibition is too geeky or nerdy for the visual art scene in Penang. I would say that it is very pertinent, relevant and fitting (to be shown in a 'university').
But,.....whattheheck! just taste it first.
Excerpt from the curatorial text by TC Liew and Kelvin Chuah
|Exterior of Galeri 27 at USM.|
|Entrance to the gallery.|
The history of text and its evolution may be read in great detail from the developments of cultures, linguists and artists, amongst others, who since time immemorial redefined their form of reading and writing. Take for instance the marked simplification and revolution of Chinese text from ancient manuscripts to contemporary publications. Fundamentally, text may be understood as a structural form for manuscripts, books and newspapers. Text in today’s context is essentially the wording in published/online writings that give shape to form and meaning of ideas. There are but many ways to decipher interpret and understand the writings and messages from authors of texts.
What about text in visual art?
What about text in visual art?
|Front sinage, notice the space between 2 and 7 on the logo.|
Text in visual art generates detailed explication of the works of art, narrating and elaborating further the intention(s) and concepts of the artist(s). The explanation and contextualization of art writing defines the perimeters in which the visual operate; hemming the reading within frameworks that encompass but is not limited to socio-economic and political connotations. Text and their meanings also allow for further discourse and multiple trajectories with which visuals may be discoursed, positioned and interpreted (depending on locality and conditions that the art works are produced).
|Caption for "Rumination" (2011) by Dr. Izmer Ahmad|
|"... of Malaysian Art" (2011) by Kelvin Chuah|
|A black border, a list of names, and information......who creates the narratives of Malaysian art, artists or writers? Who gives the conTEXT?|
|From Kelvin's work to Dr. Izmer's parade of cows (towards left).|
So what happens when text IS the work of art? Or rather text is developed into a form of encoding, where text is no longer text but something else? How then do we read text, or is it art (not text)? Take for instance, a quotation from a passage is printed on the surface of a canvas, what then are the limits before plagiarism becomes an issue?
Legally, copyright requires the quotation be cited. In a polar view, lines on an art work can be contested as art and not citation.
Encoding has possibly transformed the way messages, or text is interpreted. Structurally, the ‘text’ becomes metaphorically embalmed, possibly necessitating new methods of breaking codes. As in a piece of abstract painting contains of varied marks, strokes and colour which refer as the artist’s ‘text’ to express and convey his messages. Through the study of formalistic quality of artwork, basic elements such as dots, lines, shapes, forms, textual, colours and etc. are identified and unveiled. If those elements are tool(s) or ‘text’ that make meaning to a piece of painting; scientifically those are similar to a bit – the basic computer unit which able to entangle the gigantic databases; or microtubule associated protein (MAP), the tiniest element in human being brain that sparks complex thoughts and ideas. Those visual databases are graphically plotted, diagrammed and mapped into graph and chart format to show multiple layers of information. Diagram is another visual forms share similar function as ‘text’ does.
Again, what happens when diagram is the work of art?