Between language and image, there is neither contradiction nor analogy. That is to say, there is no direct relation between them, there is only ambiguity, e.g. obscurity being expressed, hinting at the inability to express a direct translation between the two. Any translation would only discuss another matter, one that the language or the image wish to represent; it would address the numerous levels of social phenomena that are mainly expressed as absurd, nonsensical, humorous, playful, bitter, gruesome or romantic witticisms about life.

No matter how direct or simple, the use of language in fine art forms gaps rather than connections or analogies. The exhibition entitled Line Stroke the Letter is questioning the tension between the linguistic and pictorial poles that establishes the foundation for experimenting with and testing both the literary and the visual field. The legacy of concrete poetry and of early avant-garde experiments with the language, meaning and image remain pertinent even today when the seemingly neutral tools for linguistic expression, such as user interfaces, browsers and text editors, reshape and distort our ways of reacting to the world around us. Such tools have interfered substantially with the structure of the language, thus causing changes in the way that meanings are being linked, now being subordinated to the “copy-paste” principle of interfaces of linear, network or hierarchical design. Several of the exhibited works have abandoned the otherwise unquestioned use of such tools (by applying a non-narrative use of the text editor, or the “low-tech” digital book, by generating acsii poetry, by applying ideologically-marked typography), thus to establish new laws, express criticism of the technocratic use of the language and to encourage informed use.

Despite the new media, the book is far from being dead. When it comes to reading or storytelling or forming the public opinion, books, magazines and other printed media have not been losing their stand. It is the ritual of reading that acts as the medium for the transfer of meaning, and even if, in this case, it acts in relation to fine art, its role remains entirely narrative. Illustrations, video works and installations, on the other hand, are only widening the gap between what we have just read and what we are looking at. And when the image and the word are seemingly in harmony, as is the case with Magritte’s statement This is not a pipe, the ambiguity is so much the greater.

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[artists and works] Vesna Bukovec: How to fail successfully, series of drawings, ink on paper, 2011/2013; Zvonko Čoh, Milan Erič: The Socialization of a Bull?, sketches, pencils, erasers (presentation of materials for an animated feature film, 78′, production: Društvo ŠKUC, Emotionfilm, RTV Slovenija, 1998); Tomaž Furlan: The Book, e-book, 2008; Marko A. Kovačič: A Corner for Young Communist with Recommended Reading, installation, 2009−2011; Damijan Kracina: Proteus Font, typography, webpage, installation, 1997−2011; Amir Muratović: From the Life of Books, video, 3’55”, 2010−2011; Alenka Pirman: Silent Lectures – The Most Beautiful Poems, computer animation, 2006; Ultimate Word, printed matter and audio recording, 23’45”, 2007−2009; recording production: radioCona (2009); Nataša Prosenc Stearns: Waiting Room, film, 10’20”, production: Kanalya Pictures, 2005; Zoran Srdić Janežič: Scribbled Words, video, 5’15”, poetry: Jana Putrle Srdič, production: Gulag, 2005; Ceci n’est pas un croquis, book, production: Gulag, 2012; Petra Varl: Rich Poor, wall painting, 2010; The Book of Serigraphs, production: MGLC, 2010; Rajko Vidrih: BODY, Diversely loiterer, volume II, No 1, screen print on newsprint, 28. 11. 1991; Jaka Železnikar: Proverbs, mobile app, 2011; Asciidarij 2, responsive online visual and sound poem, 2013; Asciidarij, interactive language-visual structure, 2001; Ascii Kosovel, biographical portrait, 2004, Europroverbs, generative and combinatory work of language expression, 2005; Dejan Habicht: 12 Boring Poems, lecture performance

[title] Line Stroke the Letter
[exhibition concept] Barbara Borčić, Dušan Dovč, Ida Hiršenfelder, Saša Nabergoj
[text and guided tour] Ida Hiršenfelder
[design and web support] Vesna Bukovec
[public relations] Dušan Dovč
[production] SCCA, Center for Contemporary Arts – Ljubljana
[co-production] Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana, Vžigalica Gallery
[supported by] Ljubljana Municipality, Department for Culture, 2013
[duration] 5 September to 27 October, 2013
[venue] Vžigalica Gallery, Trg franc. revolucije 7, Ljubljana

[exhibition view]