Sunday, 23 August 2009

ICA London - text and meaning comes back to play

The last time I was in the ICA  here in the Mall in central London,  there was no innernet - and no one had a mobile phone except for some plonker from the city who had to go half way up the Mall the find a hot spot, and then stumble back complaining of being moved on by one of the St James Parks eagle eyed police.

I in turn, rarely had the price of a round - but was drawn here because it was the one place in London  you could guarantee an idea had the space to breath before another kind of plonker tried  to theorise it into submission. Ah the 80's -  when language, text and the ability to speak of meaning drew long looks of derision - in short - plonkers galore,  and sometimes, it was even your turn!

Now, with th sun shining on a pleasant 21st century summer morning,  its possible to talk about meaning and networks again and no one sends for the pomo polis.

Better still,  for me, you get to do it with tools and ideas that were the as remote to the future  as flying ships where to the lunar men of Birmingham.

Take me  - I'm sitting here  with a totally posh MacBook Air - courtesy of Magnum Mac - with an equally dashing Blackberry  from Telecom XT,  tapping away using the ICA free wifi. From the bar you car hear a beautiful Spanish classical voice tearing  your heart  out on a sound system with a quality no one could imaging or afford, while to the side, in a moment of wonderful syncronicity,  Poor Old Tired Horse continues to draw in the crowd, on this its last but one day.

Poor Old Tired Horse
Like much of the best of London, this exhibition 'takes text seriously', It's inspired by the concrete poetry of the 1960', or as the web site has it,

Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. takes an expansive look at text-based art practices, inspired by the concrete poetry movement of the 60s which explored both the literary and graphic potential of language.

The Scottish artist and writer Ian Hamilton Finlay was an important promoter of concrete poetry in Britain, and our exhibition takes its title from the periodical that he ran from 1962 to 1968.

Other figures here linked with concrete poetry include Henri Chopin, Liliane Lijn, Dom Sylvester Houédard and Ferdinand Kriwet.

Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. allows the viewer to look afresh at a range of other text-based practices that originated in the 60s and 70s.

Robert Smithson and Carl Andre are best known for their contributions to minimalist sculpture, and Vito Acconci for his performance work, but here they are represented by poetic and expressive works on paper."
Other artists/works
The exhibition also includes poems illuminated by Philip Guston and Alasdair Gray, typewriter works by outsider artist Christopher Knowles and a set of etchings by David Hockney inspired by Greek poet CP Cavafy.

There are also a bunch of other works on view from  Sue Tompkins, Janice Kerbel and Anna Barham  Matthew Brannon and Frances Stark, and Karl Holmqvist.

Poor. Old. Tired. Horse. is curated by Mark Sladen, ICA director of exhibitions.

Thanks - its a stormer - and it is so nice to come home, even if it is only for a visit. Wonder what happened to the plonker with the brick phone? Probably running some derivative scam somewhere? On in jail? Or both?


Angelina said...

Great to hear that you're having a wonderful time! The ICA sounds brilliant! You took me back to the eighties for a moment there! Enjoy!

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