Marking Language Exhibition


Marking Language

Pavel Büchler,  Johanna Calle,  Annabel Daou, Matias Faldbakken, Karl Holmqvist,
Bernardo Ortiz, Shahzia Sikander

10  October  – 14 December 2013.  

An Exhibition exploring the relationship between linguistic communication and drawing in recent art.

Opening on Wednesday 9 October
5.30pm  Press and VIP’s preview
6pm  Curators Tour
6.30 – 8.30pm Private view

Throughout the twentieth century, and in particular since the 1960s, artists have mined language for the subject and matter of their art, incorporating the mode, format and meaning of text into their work. For their first collaborative project, Drawing Room, London and The Drawing Center, New York, will present parallel exhibitions that explore the relationship between linguistic communication and drawing in recent art. The selected artists take language and the written word as the subject of the work itself, rather than to influence interpretation of an accompanying image. Together the two exhibitions present an international selection of artists from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Colombia, Greece, Lebanon, Norway, Sweden, Argentina and the United States. Collectively these artists demonstrate an inventive use of words and text, creating works that are visually rich and that evoke multiple meanings.

Johanna Calle, RAIN


Marking Language could be read as a series of propositions, or positions, that consider the relationship between drawing and written communication in contemporary practice. It takes work being made today, by seven artists, of roughly the same generation but originating from very different parts of the world, to explore this rich territory. The artists in Marking Language use a range of strategies to divorce language from a linear narrative, for example, by fragmenting words and phrases, or by including multiple and contradictory graphic languages, and giving form to phonetic words and expressions. The work can be seen as a reflection of the fragmentation of reality, despite the illusion of world-wide connection, and a yearning for intimate and meaningful dialogue.

Marking Language will include new works, made especially for the exhibition, by Colombian artists Johanna Calle and Bernardo Ortiz, New York based artists Annabel Daou and Shahzia Sikander and Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist. Pavel Büchler’s ‘Conversational Drawings’ series straddles the London and New York shows. B ü chler’s series suggest that demonstration or instruction is an incitement to conversation, which is also the role of art.

Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist, who is well known for the performance of his poetry, will spend a number of days in the gallery, writing poems, in marker pen, directly on the gallery walls and producing related Lettriste sculptures. His resulting installation will exploit the physical appearance of language whilst exploring the manner in which certain words and phrases conjure shared meanings and memories. The Colombian artist Bernardo Ortiz is conceiving his new work rather like the composition of a musical score that has recurring themes or motifs, one of which references the Spanish translation of Frank O'Hara's poem ‘Why I'm not a Painter’. Exploring the page as both material support and a discursive space, the multiple sheets of paper are attached to a wooden structure fixed to the wall. New York based Shahzia Sikander is making a new work based on a line of poetry written in Urdu over two hundred years ago. Sikander exploits the plurality of meanings within this line of verse to produce a large scale, three-panelled work that reflects the visual richness and ambiguous meaning of her source material. Colombian artist Johanne Calle’s new project involves collecting scores of phonetic words that the indigenous peoples of Colombian have invented to describe different kinds of rain. These are ‘stuttered’ onto found ledger paper using an adapted typewriter and represent an on-going project by Calle to preserve these disappearing languages. New York-based Annabel Daou also uses phonetics and her new work comprises a series of English curses and civilities transliterated into her native Arabic language alongside Arabic curses and civilities translated into English. Daou will also make a new work on site, which will unfold on the day the exhibition opens. On a blackboard she will repeat the phrase “I'm doing research for my practice” in chalk pencil. As with other works in which Daou has repeated phrases, legibility will break down and the result will resemble a sea of language in which the visual overtakes meaning. Matias Faldbakken will participate through a series of works using plastic garbage bags sporting deliberately incoherent acronyms and drawings and a work in pencil on canvas which exploit illegibility and irrationality to explore the in between space of ‘uncommunicative abstraction’.

A fully illustrated catalogue of both exhibitions will include essays by:
• Claire Gilman, Curator, The Drawing Center, New York,
• Melissa Gronlund, an editor of Afterall and a writer on contemporary art based in London.
• Kate Macfarlane, Co-Director, Drawing Room. 

At Drawing Room, London:
Marking Language Seminar
Thursday 10 October, 2pm

This event will include the participation of six of the artists in Marking Language, as follows:

‘The look of words, the pictures they conjure and the memories they evoke’: a conversation between artists Johanna Calle, Karl Holmqvist and Shahzia Sikander and Melissa Gronlund (an editor of Afterall and a writer on contemporary art based in London).

‘The small movements of language, the power of the ordinary and the pursuit of almost nothing’: a conversation between artists Pavel Büchler, Annabel Daou and Bernardo Ortiz and David Markus (writer and art critic based in New York)

Parallel exhibition at The Drawing Center, New York:
Drawing Time, Reading Time:
15 November  2013 – 15 January 2014 

Carl Andre, Jen Bervin, Marcel Broodthaers, Pavel Büchler, Guy de Cointet, Mirtha Dermisache, Sean Landers, Nina Papaconstantinou, Allen Ruppersberg, Deb Sokolow, Molly Springfield.

Artist biographies:

Pavel Büchler (b.1952 Prague, Czechoslovakia) is an artist, lecturer and writer, based in Manchester. Recent solo exhibitions: The Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester (2013); Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, St. Louis (2011); Kunstparterre, Munich (2010); a large retrospective at DOX, Prague (2010); and multiple solo presentations at Max Wigram Gallery, London, Tanya Leighton, Berlin and Annex14, Bern. Group exhibitions since 2011 include: Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art, Denver Museum of Contemporary Art and Power Plant, Toronto; Dot.Systems, Wilhelm Hack Museum, Ludwigshafen; Les Marques Aveugles, Centre D'Art Contemporain, Geneva; Under Destruction, Swiss Institute, New York; Image Projected Until It Vanishes, Museion, Bolzano. Büchler’s work is part of many public and private collections, including Tate, London; Kunstmuseum Bern; National Gallery, Prague; Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven; Albertina, Vienna; CGAC, Santiago de Compostela.

Johanna Calle (born Bogotá, Colombia, 1965). Lives and works in Bogotá. Studied Chelsea College of Art, London, and Talleres Artísticos, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá.  Selected recent  solo exhibitions: Krizinger Residencies, Krizinger Gallery, Vienna, Austria (2013);  Irregular Hexagon, Colombian Art in Residence (curated by José Roca), Sàn Art, HCM City, Vietnam (2012);  Submergentes: A Drawing Approach to Masculinities (curated by Cecilia Fajardo-Hill), Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, USA (2011); Perspectivas, MUZAC, Córdoba, Colombia; Contables, Zona Maco Sur, Mexico City (2011);  Dibujos (curated by Virginia Pérez-Ratton), Fundación Teorética, San José, Costa Rica (2008). Selected recent group exhibitions: When Attitudes Became Form, Become Attitudes (curated by Jens Hoffmann), Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts, San Francisco (2012); The Air We Breathe (curated by Apsara DiQuinzio), SFMoma, San Francisco (2011); ‘Untitled’, 12 Istanbul Biennial (curated by Jens Hoffmann & Adriano Pedroza), Istanbul;  7th Bienal de Mercosur (curated by Victoria Noorthoorn), Porto Alegre, Brazil  (2009).

Annabel Daou (born Beirut, Lebanon, 1967).  Lives and works in New York. Daou represented the US in the 12th Edition of the International Cairo Bienniale, where she was awarded a Biennial Prize. Selected recent projects and solo exhibitions: Fortune, MoMA: PS1; come back to the war, Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin (2012); you say I want a revolution, Josee Bienvenu Gallery, New York (2012); repaired landscapes, Conduit Gallery, Dallas (2009); knot, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence (2009). Selected recent group exhibitions: Art=Text=Art: Drawing, prints and artists’ books from the Sally and Wynn Kramarsky Collection, The Hafnarfjordur Centre of Culture and Fine Art, Hafnarfjörõur, Iceland (2013), previously exhibited at  Zimmerli Art Museum, New Brunswick (2012) and University of Richmond Museums, Richmond, Virginia (2011); Drawn/ Taped / Burned: Abstraction on Paper, Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah (2011); On the Mark: Contemporary Works on Paper, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore (2010); Close Encounters 2, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York (2010); Political / Minimal, Kunstwerke, Berlin/Muzeum Sztuki w Lodzi, Lodz, Poland (2008/2009); New York New Drawings 1946-2007, Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Esteban Vicente, Segovia, Spain (2009); Democracy in America, The Park Avenue Armory, New York (2008).

Matias Faldbakken (born 1973, Oslo, Norway). Lives and works in Oslo. Studied at the National Academy of Fine Arts in Bergen and later at the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main.  Selected recent solo exhibitions: solo exhibition curated by Anne Pontégnie, Le Consortium, Dijon (2013); Portrait Portrait of of a a Generation Generation, OCA, Oslo and Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels; Intervention #21: Matias Faldbakken, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam (2013); Matias Faldbakken, The Power Station, Dallas (2013); That Death of Which One Does Not Die, Kunsthalle Fridericianum, Kassel, (2010); War After Peace (After War), Neue Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2010); Shocked into Abstraction, IKON Gallery, Birmingham, and the National Museum of Oslo (2009); Extreme Siesta, Kunsthalle St. Gallen, Switzerland (2009); SACKS / TRUNKS, Simon Lee Gallery, London (2013). In 2012 Faldbakken participated in Documenta 13 in Kassel.

Karl Holmqvist (born Vasteras, Sweden, 1964). Lives and works in Berlin. Selected solo exhibitions: Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen (forthcoming 2013); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2013); dépendance, Brussels (2013); Galerie Neu, Berlin (2013); Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen (2012); Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2010); the living art museum, Reykjavik (2008). Selected recent group exhibitions: Doppelgänger–The Separate, European Centre for Contemporary Art Projects, Strasbourg (2013); 54th Biennale Venice, 2011; Manifesta 8, Murcia / Northern Africa (2010); The Moderna Exhibition, Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2010); Swedish Conceptual Art, Kalmar Konstmuseum (2010); The Malady of Writing. A project on text and speculative imagination, MACBA Barcelona (2009); poor. old. tired. horse, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2009); THE WORLD IS NOT YOUR TOILET, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2008);that social space between speaking and meaning, White Columns, New York (2008).

Bernardo Ortiz (born Bogotá, Colombia, 1972).  Lives and works in Bogotá. Studied Fine Arts and Literature at Universidad de los Andes, and Philosophy at Universidad del Valle. Selected recent group exhibitions: Ephemeroptarae, TBA21, Vienna (2013); Prix Canson Nominees Exhibition, Petit Palais, Paris (2013); 30th Sao Paulo Biennial, Brazil (2012);  A Terrible Beauty is Born, II Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, France (2011); Beuys and Beyond, Teaching as Art, Deutsche Bank, Casa Republicana, Biblioteca Luis Angel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia (2011); and MDE07, Museo de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia (2007). Besides writing art reviews in journals, Ortiz has worked as a university professor in various Colombian institutions, and as a curator in national and international exhibitions including the 7th Mercosur Biennial (2009) and 41 Salón Nacional de Artistas in Cali, Colombia (2009). He is the co-founder of Valdéz, a contemporary art magazine that has been published in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba, and Switzerland.

Shahzia Sikander (born  1969, Lahore, Pakistan). Lives and works in New York City. She received her B.F.A from the National College of Arts, Lahore, Pakistan and an M.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence. Selected recent solo exhibitions: Linda Pace Foundation, San Antonio (2012), Mass Art, Boston (2011) San Francisco Art Institute (2010) Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York (2009) Para/Site, Hong Kong (2009); Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2008); daadgalerie, Berlin (2008); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2007); Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2007); Miami Art Museum, Miami (2005); Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield (2004); The San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego (2004); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C (2000), Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1999) and the Renaissance Society, Chicago (1998). Sikander has been the recipient of numerous awards, grants and fellowships, including the inaugural Medal of Art by the US State Department (2012) the John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation Achievement award (2006-2011); and the National Pride of Honor by the Pakistani Government (2005). In 2006 Sikander was a named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Installation shot of Marking Language at Drawing Room, 2013.

Installation shot of Marking Language at Drawing Room, 2013.
Installation shot of Marking Language at Drawing Room, 2013.