Since the 1990s and early 2000s, language has evolved in unprecedented manifestations with the work of Raymond Pettibon, Christopher Wool, David Shrigley, Martin Creed, Alfredo Jaar, Glenn Ligon, Mark Titchner, Heman Chong, Fiona Banner, Shirin Neshat, Tracey Emin, Kay Rosen and Heather Phillipson, addressing issues as varied as feminism, race, belief and identity.
In our Medicine Now gallery, one can find some works of art which continue these themes of text and language based art. For the American artist, Jane Lackey (b. 1948), one can find the work of art, SNPS/SLIPS 20, made from the cover of a discarded dictionary as a material. Laser engraved onto its deep red surface, is a text, which reads the following:
the pastor placed his hand
the pastor paced…diner at eight, inner
Ed and Bessy, bed and essy
a whole blox of flowers, chrysanthe-
mum plants, chrysanthemum pants,
it’s any consolation….any consultation
The text reads as a poem whereby a single letter added or removed changes the meaning of the word and ultimately the meaning of the sentence. Lackey uses these bizarre alterations towards nonsensical ends – even inventing the word ‘blox’ – as a metaphor for the issues that occur with genetic coding.