Contemporary art with a Scottish twist will be on show at The McManus until next February. Can text really be art? Influential American artist, Lawrence Weiner adopted language as his medium early on in his career, and text remains at the heart of his practice. Best known for his arresting wall installations, Weiner’s text pieces can take many forms, but the core principle remains the same – his ideas should not be confined to the gallery but taken up by the viewer.
This exhibition draws from ARTIST ROOMS, a touring collection of over 1,600 works of modern and contemporary art by more than 40 major artists. The collection is displayed across the UK through a touring programme, supported by Arts Council England, Art Fund and Creative Scotland.
Unique to Dundee, Weiner’s wall texts will be presented in English and Scots, translated by distinguished author James Robertson. Although the artist has exhibited internationally in a number of languages, this will be the first time his work has appeared in Scots. In addition, a rare mini-retrospective including a selection of works on paper, archive and ephemera will offer a comprehensive overview of the last five decades of the artist’s prolific career, featuring material on loan from the Tate and the Artists’ Books Collection Dundee (abcD) at the University of Dundee.
The McManus has been delighted to work together with the Weiner Studio to create gallery interventions as part of the project. The cycle of ten wall texts from the ARTIST ROOMS collection have been carefully placed within our permanent displays. These evocative statements will amplify Dundee’s rich collections of natural history, archaeology, world cultures, industrial machinery and the spectacular Gothic architecture of the building itself.
Sinclair Aitken, Chair of Leisure & Culture Dundee said:
“We are delighted to have ARTIST ROOMS in Dundee for the first time. With recent cultural developments in the City it is fantastic to show work by an artist of Weiner’s standing. The immediacy of text and the dialogue between Weiner’s statements and Dundee’s collections give something for everyone to discover in these works.”
Ceri Lewis, Managing Curator, ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate said:
“This is the first time that The McManus has been part of the ARTIST ROOMS national programme, and our collaboration comes at an especially exciting time for the City culturally. The opportunity to bring Weiner’s remarkable work to Dundee and present it within this context in a new way opens up fresh perspectives, which we hope will offer audiences a unique insight into the practice of this internationally significant artist.”
James Robertson said:
“Lawrence Weiner’s work provokes many questions about words and their meaning. I’m hoping that my Scots versions of Mr Weiner’s texts at The McManus contain both familiar and challenging elements, and so will encourage visitors to the exhibition to think about what language is and what it does, how we use it and how we react to visual representations of it.”
Lawrence Weiner said:
“SCULPTURE IS ABOUT MARKING SIGNPOSTS WITH MATERIALS THAT ALREADY EXIST & ARTIST ROOMS THEN BECOME LIKE THOSE ROOMS AT TIMES OF CULTURAL TRANSITION WHERE PEOPLE WHO HAVE LOST MOORING TO THE STRUCTURE HAVE ENDED UP WRITING HOMILIES WITHIN THE WALLS OF INTERIOR SPACES.”
“WHAT WE HAVE WITH SILLER THREIDS RAIVELT IN THREIDS O GOWD IS NOT A HOMILY BUT IN FACT A FACT.”
ARTIST ROOMS Lawrence Weiner
2 November 2018 – 17 February 2018
Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm; Sunday 12.30–4.30pm.