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Good writing citation

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Tortured Language Alert # 3

And a Good Writing Citation, all within the same exhibition – which illustrates what a very tricky business this is. Nominated by Hannah Nibblet, from the exhibition DLA Piper Series: Constellations at Tate Liverpool. She says:


“My sister asked whether I understood the label for Julius Koller’s Continuation/Stoop (Universal-Cultural Futurological Operation):

Koller has defined his work as a sort of ‘anti-academicism’. The photographs show a door constructed from two glass panels, the lower of which has been removed. The absurdity of the artist’s pose as he stoops to step through the lower half of the door recalls Koller’s early enthusiasm for Dada. The second part of the title is one of Koller’s many variations on the initials UFO. Koller’s work aims at a constant questioning of the world and the cultural context, opening up possibilities for utopias in unexpected places.

I didn’t. There are a lot of unexplained ideas here that aren’t clarified by the two tags ‘Infinite permutations’ and ‘Entropy’. We went back through this constellation, which centres on Robert Morris’ Untitled 1965/71, and managed to cobble together something about the interface with the body as providing ‘infinite permutations’ and a sort of ‘entropy’ as the body wears down the environment and vice-versa. But even with an above average amount of cultural literacy between us this was hard work, and not especially satisfying.

Good Writing Citation # 4

On the flip side, a really good example of demystifying terms was in the same constellation:

Morris insisted that … forms should ‘create strong gestalt sensations’ – ‘gestalts’ being patterns or configurations in which the whole has a significance greater than, and different from, the sum of its parts taken individually. Untitled 1965/71 is a perfect example of gestalt: its four elements together produce complex interactions with the environment in which they are placed and the spectator who walks between them, whilst retaining their simple identity.

Brilliant! A new definition for my internal dictionary.”


This is an excerpt from Hannah’s longer and very thoughtful piece “Choosing Words Carefully at Tate Liverpool” published in full on this site as part of the audience perspective. Read her full article here.







Good Writing Citation #1

Good writing should be noticed and praised, and this is the section where we intend to do it!  Kicking off what we hope will become a long and proud list of examples of excellent interpretative writing is Hayward Gallery’s Light Show.  Of course it is easier to write about work that is so spectacular and experiential that it really does speak for itself, but how’s this for a clear introduction to what the exhibition is about:

“Throughout history, artists have been fascinated by light and its nature, behaviour and peculiarities. But it is only in the last hundred years that actual light has become a medium for art. In the first half of the twentieth century, with the development of technology and increasing questioning of traditional art forms, artists began to experiment with the visual and sensory effects of artificial light. Often taking their cue from the theatre, these pioneering works included dynamic light displays which directly involved the viewer. Light Show takes up the story in the early 1960s. At that time, when new alliances were being forged within art, science, technology and industry, artists on both sides of the Atlantic were investigating light and its power to transform space, and to influence and alter perception…..

 You can read the full text here.