Fall 2010

Session 12 words + Untitled

Words was first realised in 2009 and shown in Am Nuden Da‘s former London space in conjunction with the Los Angeles based journal Material. It was conceived as an exhibition focused on artists’ use of the written word. To coincide with the re-installation of Words at Four Boxes Gallery, Am Nuden Da has curated the exhibition Untitled.

The 13 artists participating in Untitled have responded to a proposition that the works shown here should be chosen on the basis of their status as ‘Untitled’. Where Words foregrounds language at the expense of materiality, Untitled performs antithetically by engaging with the physical and visual.

For the Words exhibition 85 artists have been invited to email a ‘text piece’ to Am Nuden Da who, using a standardised format, have copied and pasted each submission onto a single sheet of A4. All pieces are set in Arial, the default typeface, at point 10 size. This dogmatic method represents an attempt to foreground language ahead of personal style, design, layout and graphic appearance.

The installation of the untitled works offers a contrasting visual and material situation, one where categorising and identifying the artwork takes a paradoxical turn by relying on a linguistic association, that of being unnamed. Throughout the last century the ‘Untitled’ proposition has become not simply a default mechanism for not assigning a name to a work of art but a recognised methodology, one which this show addresses.

Marcel Duchamp christened the modern title as an “invisible color”, offering it a name that was simultaneously precise, paradoxical, ironic and impossible. [1] you must say words, as long as there are any, until they find me, until they say me, strange pain, strange sin, you must go on, perhaps it‘s done already, perhaps they have said me already, perhaps they have carried me to the threshold of my story, before the door that opens on my story, that would surprise me, if it opens, it will be I, it will be the silence, where I am, I don’t know, I’ll never know, in the silence you don’t know, you must go on, I can’ t go on, I’ll go on. [2] “When?” [3] [1] “Invisible Colors: A Visual History of Titles”, John C. Welchman (Yale University Press, 1997) p. 8 [2] “The Unnamable”, Samuel Beckett [3] Untitled, 2010, Cally Spooner