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This exhibition concentrates on Wittgenstein’s insistence in his later writings on the usefulness of the concept of ‘games’ for thinking about language. There is no one quality that unites all the things we think of as games, and to play a game requires not only rules, but the possibility of testing, breaking, revising those rules. Rejecting the idea that language has one essential purpose, or that meaning is something fixed and transparent, the artworks here are engaged in various forms of play, translation or reconfiguration. Language is physical as well as symbolic. Our experiences lay claim to the traditions and practices that give them meaning, but can be turned back thereon to question and confuse what we might otherwise take for granted. We come to points where ordinary language seems inadequate, but this is not because we lack an adequately nuanced set of concepts, or because we need a better ‘theory’ of language, but because we have not paid enough attention to the particular and the familiar. What frameworks support our observations and convictions? The artwork here in some ways mimics the incompleteness of Wittgenstein’s writing, the unendingness of his philosophical project. Variously they show art as a process of discarding and reassembling, of repetition with variation, of careful attention to presentation and nested meanings, to the balance between authorial control and emergence, between understanding and opacity.
We are delighted to welcome you to this playful collaboration between poets, artists and philosophers, where the boundaries between words and images, meanings and material are plucked, strummed, exalted and trammelled.