Victory Over the Sun
Curated by Melissa Loughnan & Helen Hughes
Christopher L.G. Hill
Exhibition Sat 11 - Sat 25 July 2009
Opening Friday 10 July 6 - 9pm
Zaum was an early-20th century constructed language that spanned across written, performative and visual arts media. The dialect pivoted around sound symbolism and associative sensory experience, forcing audiences to restructure their mental processes from rational to intuitive to fully experience Zaum texts. Zaum was a vocabulary tailored for the expression of a new era: one that did not tip-toe around public taste or convention. It also explored the abstraction of the word as a visual element, attempting to collapse the dichotomy of the word and image in a new, pictorial language. Zaum spelled progression, evolution and revolution. This constructed language lay at the core of a collective vision of a utopian future.
The critical construction of language has been projected onto numerous other visions of the future, and continues to play a central role in imagining futuristic utopias and dystopias. Consider the compound street dialects in Ridley Scott's Bladerunner (1982), or the inter-lingual monologues of the time-travelling Chow in Wong Kar Wai's 2046 (2004). Zaum can be seen as precursor to this, as well as to the mass construction of language as it is shaped by technology in the 21st century (for example, acronyms and emoticons in emails and text messages).
Victory Over the Sun reflects the limitations of language as it is curtailed by tradition and singular definition, and considers the futuristic possibilities presented by the transrational in pictorial and linguistic fields. The exhibition brings together a diverse range of artists working across (and collapsing) a number of different mediums, considering the way in which the conscious construction of language relates to ideas of progression, evolution, revolution and visions of the future.
'If I let you interior, I'd have to make other things to hide'
acrylic on board
62.5 x 57 cm
Courtesy of Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney
Installation photography: Ben Gleiser