Andrianomearisoa, Jatoi, Kossentini, Lee, UBIK
Sabrina Amrani announces the gallery’s first participation in Art International 2015 in Istanbul, with the group presentation “Signs/Language”, showcasing artistic practices embedded in the universality of the sign as a human gesture encoded with meaning. Five artists working in different latitudes, but sharing a common preoccupation with the self-effacement of translation between text, symbol and form, at the heart of contemporary visual culture, where production and reproduction of images has altogether replaced the acquisition of knowledge. Signs make reference not only to the mental representation of objects but also to abstract processes of meaning construction. Accordingly, the artists in “Signs/Language” treat language and languages in the broadest possible sense.
In semiotics, the value of a sign is never absolute or fixed, but rather, it is determined by its relative position and relations in the system of signification of which it is part; the sign cannot acquire value in isolation. The content of a sign is ought to be ultimately determined and delimited not by its internal configuration but by what surrounds it. The context of signs such as logograms, speech acts, chromatic units and grammatical morphemes, articulates its meaning by both opposition and contradiction; both natural and formal languages are born out of this conflict of semantic and semiotic interests. As the horizontal relation of values between signs is distinct from the hierarchical relation between signified and signifier, signs are oftentimes muted, depending on our relative position in the order of meaning.
The practice of art, since long posed as a language –it is in fact from prehistoric art and the earliest representations of symbols that the earliest logographic languages were born, resulting in our modern alphabets, has taken in this presentation on the crisis of the sign, a defining feature of the modern era, accentuated by the dynamics of globalization, temporal seamlessness and monetization of the symbol. Different perspectives, from alphabetic diacritic marks to lexemes to composite texts, addressing manifold varieties of language and communicability –or the lack thereof, are showcased here, highlighting the imprecise nature of thoughts and ideas, and the instability of representation characteristic of faculties as volatile as thought, speech, vision and imagination.
An additional continent of reading and seeing opens up before us, in the works of UBIK, Ayesha Jatoi, Joël Andrianomearisoa, Nicène Kossentini and Timothy Hyunsoo Lee, bringing together a minimal aesthetic yet not prescribed by the structuralism and rigid formalism that begot these questions over the meaning of the sign at the turn from the modern to the contemporary. From a privileged position in time, at the edges of a dialogue both cultural and aesthetic, these artists have departed from personal topographies, often in more than one language or culture, addressing subjective characters and situations, in order to arrive at or to depict objective conditions that define our current relationship to art as a language based on texts and signs.