September - October 2018
In our Insta-centred, image-focused universe, bringing text to the front and centre of attention is a radical act. This is an issue dedicated to word landscapes in art – not just as signs or billboards, but as art objects in and of themselves. We interview Ed Ruscha, whose word paintings are driven by archetypal American icons, as well as 20 artists who employ language in their practice, such as conceptualists Lawrence Weiner and Jenny Holzer, whose words on walls, institutions and street corners called for people to stop and take notice, and some of their contemporary counterparts like Basim Magdy and Raqs Media Collective. Whether from New York, Beirut, Baghdad or Mumbai, all these artists write in the English language, that hegemonic means of communication, and are infuenced by poets and songwriters, which brings us to the iddea of authorship. We explore language and lyriccism at its finest and the profound and provocative ways in which text-based art takes shape in the world today.