Art & Language
Hard to say when
11 May - 2 July 2005
At Lisson Gallery, 52-54 Bell Street Art & Language will present new work including Sighs Trapped by Liars (910 - 1027), 2004. At 29 Bell Street will be presented two films of live performances of the group singing in the 1970's with the rock band Red Crayola. The films will be screened throughout the day, and daily from 5-6pm the space will be turned into the Art & Language Cafe with Karaoke and drinks. Other selected works, both new and from the 1970's will also be displayed in both spaces.
The title 'Art & Language' was adopted in 1968 as the name of an artistic practice and group collaboration. Though the numbers within the group fluctuated, and were at one stage around thirty, since 1976 Art & Language has consisted of artists Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden, with the art historian Charles Harrison collaborating on theoretical projects.
The activities of Art & Language have been marked from the outet by practical variety, by resistance to easy categorisation and by a tendency to provoke open and reflexive enquiry. Art & Language's earliest works date from before 1968, when the name was first adopted as the name of an artistic practice. In the following year, the first issue of the journal Art-Language was published in England. Then and over the next few years Art & Language provided a common identity for a number of people already involved in various types of collaboration. The mid 1960s had seen widespread collapse in the authority of those individualistic cultural protocols which go under the name of Modernism, and the coming together of the two terms 'Art' and 'Language' served to recognise a range of intellectual concerns and artistic expedients which that collapse had occasioned. For a variety of activities which bore practically and critically upon the concept of art, but which were at home neither in the studio nor in the gallery, Art & Language promised a social base in shared conversation. That conversation in turn transformed the practice of those involved and generated other kinds of work.
Art & Language have been included in many international exhibitions including the Documenta exhibitions of 1972, 1982 and 1997. In recent years they have also had retrospectives, in the Jeu de Paume, Paris (1993); PS1, New York (1999), the Musee D'Art Moderne Villeneuve D'Ascq in Lille (2002) and the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo, Malaga (2004).