Bruno Peinado, Wild Disney
© Bruno Peinado, Courtesy: MAM
Decoding Scripture & Picture
As Hugo Ball captured it in his Dada Fragments
(1916): “The word and the image are one. Painting and composing poetry belong together. Christ is image and word. The word and the image are crucified.” This statement not only implies that the re-emergence of the visual appearance of scripture in the avant-garde started from literature, but also emphasizes the strong bound of scripture and picture to religion.
Historically speaking, the interaction of scripture and picture has a longstanding tradition, as for example in medieval scripts and illuminations. “The picture as reproduction of scripture was a matter of course to the gothic painters, i.e. that of the Holy Scriptures,” writes the literary scholar Peter Bürger, and continues: “To the point that characters were shown in pictures, for example as banderols, which served as a medium between the transcendental and the mortal world or as banderols with the name of the portrayed saint. The change occurred in the Renaissance with the upcoming of the perspective picture-space, oriented on the viewpoint of the spectator. The image then became an illusionistic depiction of a scene.”
The division of image and scripture was long-lasting: “It was not before 1910 that cubist artists all of a sudden began to integrate letters, scripture fragments and newspaper scraps into their work, either by painting or gluing”, as media scientist Reinhard Döhl states. They were inspired by the word-image-experiments of Stéphane Mallarmé, who was interested in the visual appearance of language, especially in regard to typography. These experiments were followed by intermedia concepts in the fine arts: “cubism, futurism, and above all the œuvre of Marcel Duchamp finally led the way to an unconstrained convergence of literature and visual art. The once established boundaries between visual representation and verbal expression began to dissolve,” Toni Stooss observes. Literature, graphics and fine arts started to blend more and more into the art movements of the 20th Century, their tendency towards intermedia approaches consolidated. Nowadays, various artists make use of letters, numbers, words, text passages and digits in such diverse ways as design element, naturally loaded with meaning.
A strong link between image and scripture arose from the emergence of abstract art, although the artists still felt the need to somehow give a comment, even though their message could mislead their viewers. A good example for this are the works by Antoni Tàpies, who puts mysterious codes in the pictures, which give indications for interpretation.
The overlapping of scripture and picture in the present context is from extraordinary diversity and furthermore well-known in the mass media. Nevertheless, the question of decipherability arises. Superficially, scripture and language is easier to unravel than a picture. “Language is the most complete tool to create as well as to destroy meaning. Playing with words is a wonderful mechanism, because in the same sentence we praise the meaning of language only to question it shortly after,” said Octavio Paz. The works on the issue of scripture and picture vary in genre and media.
They are exhibited in the exclusive ambience at Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Salzburg (Residenzplatz 1) and invite you to a special encounter with contemporary art.
Carlos AIRES • Hans BISCHOFFSHAUSEN • Daniele BUETTI • Fred EERDEKENS • Jan FABRE • Lionel FAVRE • Susy GÓMEZ • Douglas HENDERSON • Jochen HÖLLER • Markus HOFER • Brigitte KOWANZ • Hans KUPELWIESER • Ken MATSUBARA • Bruno PEINADO • Javier PÈREZ • Jaume PLENSA • Hans STAUDACHER • Günther UECKER • Vadim ZAKHAROV
DECODING SCRIPTURE & PICTURE
July, 23 – September,3 2016
Mario Mauroner Contemporary Art Salzburg, Residenzplatz 1
Opening hours: from Monday to Saturday from 11 AM to 6 PM