Robert Montgomery

May 17, 2016 § Leave a comment

Robert Montgomery (born 1972) is a Scottish-born, London based sculptor and poet, known for his site-specific installations created from light and text. Montgomery works in a “melancholic post-Situationist” tradition, primarily in public spaces.


Robert Montgomery follows a tradition of conceptual art and stands out by bringing a poetic voice to the discourse of text art. Often installed illegally amid industrial and urban sites, Montgomery’s installations address universal themes such as power, love, and human kindness with sparse language and dramatic visuals. These text-based conceptual pieces categorized as recycled sunlight pieces, billboard pieces, fire poems, woodcut panels, and watercolors.

Montgomery’s cryptic and emotionally resonant poetry comments on contemporary life and affirms his personal and philosophical beliefs, which he describes as “melancholic post-Situationist”, a 20th-century antiauthoritarian Marxist movement.



Xu Bing

March 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

John Baldessari

February 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

A conceptual artist for more than five decades, Baldessari capitalizes on the narrative and associative power of both language and images. His work is critical and often humorous and continues to call out art with a capital ‘A’.

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Cy Twombly

February 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Cy Twombly. Petals of Fire, 1989


It has been said that Cy Twombly’s paintings resemble writing, or are a kind of écriture. Certain critics have seen parallels between his canvases and wall graffiti. This makes sense. In my experience, however, his paintings refer to more than all the walls I pass in cities and gaze at, or the walls on which I too once scrawled names and drew diagrams; his paintings, as I see them, touch upon something fundamental to a writer’s relationship with her or his language.

A writer continually struggles for clarity against the language he’s using or, more accurately, against the common usage of that language. He doesn’t see language with the readability and clarity of something printed out. He sees it, rather as a terrain full of illegibilities, hidden paths, impasses, surprises, and obscurities. Its maps is not a dictionary but the whole of literature and perhaps everything ever said. It’s obscurities, it’s lost senses, its self-effacement come about for many reasons – because of the way words modify each other, write themselves over each other, cancel one another out, because the unsaid always counts for as much, or more, than the said, and because language can never cover what it signifies. Language is always an abbreviation.

It was Proust who once remarked that all true poetry consists of words written in a foreign language. Every one of us is born with a mother tongue. Yet poetry is motherless.

I’ll try to make what I’m saying simpler. From time to time I exchange letters and drawings with a Spanish friend. I do not (unhappily) speak Spanish, I know a few words, and I can use a dictionary. Often in the letters I receive there are quotations in Spanish from poets – Borges, Juarroz, Neruda, Lorca. And I reply with other quotations of poems in Spanish, which I have sought out. The letters are hand-written and, as I carefully trace the letters of strange words in what is to me a foreign tongue, I have the sense, as at no other time, of walking in the furrows of a poem, across the terrain of poetry.

Cy Twombly’s paintings are for me landscapes of this foreign and yet familiar terrain. Some of them appear to be laid out under a blinding noon sun, others have been found by touch at night. In neither case can any dictionary of words be referred to, for the light does not allow it. Here in these mysterious paintings we have to rely on upon other accuracies: accuracies of tact, of longing, of loss, of expectation.

I know of no other visual Western artist who has created an oeuvre that visualizes with living colors the silent space that exists between and around words. Cy Twombly is the painterly master of verbal silence.

Copyright John Berger 2002.

References: Audible Silence: 
Cy Twombly at Daros
Exhibition catalogue, Loewenbraeu-Areal in Zurich, 2002

Go see this one on your next visit to the RISD Museum !!!

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Glenn Ligon

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

Ligon is a conceptual artist who is known for his large-scale paintings.  In his series How it Feels to Be Colored Me, he uses texts about his identity as an African-American man laying them on top of one another until they blurred into ambiguity. In another series, Ligon created a set of posters advertising himself and his friends as escaped slaves. His work serves as a critique on racism, in an America that seems to consider itself beyond racial divides.

Mel Bochner

January 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

An American conceptual artist Mel Brochner uses language to undermine the concrete nature of both language and art.

Eleanor Heartney wrote:

In Bochner’s work, perception constantly trumps idea, reaffirming the artist’s belief that the sensuous is an essential element in even the most conceptual art.

Tracey Emin

January 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tracey Emin is known for her notoriously candid drawings revealing some of her deepest personal reflections on her relationships.  Often graphically sexual, her work is filled with witty autobiographical comments. Additionally, Emin has completed a series of neon phrases; some lengthly and thoughtful while others delve into intimacy in just a few words.

For more on: Tracy Emin

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