Thoughts about writing where art is the subject

– Text can be used as a dense kind of image.


– All writing is inescapably visual.


– The use of writing, whether hard, impossible or easy to read, is now a common feature of contemporary art.


– The presence of any writing in visual art is less about communication than the decontextualisation of text, a deterritorialisation which both reduces and elevates writing to the status of drawing.


– Tension exists between the act of writing and the act of art making; attempting to say what we see and the experience of seeing.


– There is an inextricable tangle of words and images … in a painting, words are of the same cloth as images. Rather one sees images and words differently in a painting.  

Michael Foucault


– Writing … can be seen as a gesture and understood as a practice in itself, functioning on the same level as art making through its framing of one’s encounter with the artwork.


– I sometimes write things because the work is always a result of reflection. Mine is therefore an annotation that directs the reading of the work. Sometimes I try to write the reasons why I make a work, not because I want to explain it but in order to create associations of ideas and images resulting in elements to mediate on, develop and better resolve the work itself … I use words as part of a reflection that ultimately takes on a different independent value. It arises with the work, sometimes in a work that has already been made. Sometimes it precedes it, even by many years.

                               Giuseppe Penone

– Writing can be considered separately and, at the same time, as being integral to the artists’ work overall.

– Writing is a medium.


– Writing about art is a way of being in the world while also bringing oxygen to the studio.


– Art has value because people imagine it does. Art is a fragile and consensual fiction that requires great practical care while pretending not to care about practicalities.

                               David Humphrey

– Writing, like art making, is a matter of believing in your hands.


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