Untitled Document



As part of the collaboration between ArtSway and the Institute, two text + work seminars were presented to an international audience during June under the title ‘Word Matters’. Chaired by Jim Hunter, the seminars explored the relationship between the written word and contemporary art practice.

Guest speakers included David Bate, University of Westminster; Stephanie James; Laura McClean-Ferris, ArtSway; Professor Simon Olding, Crafts Study Centre, Farnham; and Lee Triming, artist and writer. Prosecco and antipasti aperitifs preceded the seminars which were attended by engaged and inquisitive audiences.

Following an introduction to the text+work concept, the guest speakers launched into discussions on the language of the object and text as ‘a tissue of quotations’. Considered themes included the role of the critic today and strategies used by writers; text as accessing or policing the work; and the translation process of the visual to the written.

While the first seminar, ‘Spinning a Line’, made only brief references to works in this year’s Biennale, the second seminar, ‘Crafting a Visual Language’, saw Stephanie James and Jim Hunter take the audience on linguistic journeys of the works of French artist Tatiana Trouvé, and Bill Viola’s ‘Ocean Without A Shore’, respectively. Stephanie James commented, “The seminars were more successful than we anticipated.

The audiences at both events were engaging and asked thought-provoking questions. I put it down to the great atmosphere that the Biennale provides and possibly the Prosecco aperitivo beforehand!”

A transcript of the seminar will be available to buy in book and audio format at the end of 2007. text + work WORD MATTERS SEMINARS


Even before the 52nd Venice Biennale was open to the general public, the French artist Sophie Calle seemed to be a top favourite. Her exhibition ‘Prenez Soin de Vous’ ( translated as Take Care of Yourself ) was made in response to an email the artist received from a former lover ending their affair, signed off with the phrase ‘take care of yourself’. Sophie Calle followed this recommendation by asking 107 women from different walks of life and professions to react to the letter.

The result is a beautiful, funny and thought provoking exhibition, with one response depicting a parrot tearing the letter to shreds. Felix Gonzales-Torres’ ethereal show, representing the United States and titled ‘America’ was also amongst the favourites, and it is well worth getting lost trying to find the Mexican Pavilion; Electromechanical pistons, computers, chairs, incandescent lightbulbs, heart rate controllers and radio electric scanners are just a few of the materials that make up this interactive exhibition.

The artist, Rafael Lonzano-Hemmer, breaks down barriers between digital and physical realities to bring communities together and to make viewers aware of their presence and effect on their surroundings.