Posts Tagged ‘conversation’


In Uncategorized on June 17, 2010 at 9:43 am


Gerry Smith, I am a text-based artist: Selected Words (1998-2008), front cover.


On Friday 25th June 2010, 3pm at the TotalKunst Gallery in Edinburgh, VerySmallKitchen will hold a conversation with the Edinburgh based artist Gerry Smith. The conversation is part of The Shadow of a Train, a three day exhibition at the TK gallery (25-27th June) curated by Mirja Koponen from a script by David Berridge, part of the Betamaps festival.

Gerald Smith is a self-declared “text-based” artist. His own formulation of what this means can be seen in his 2010 statement “I am a text-based artist” (2010) which is re-printed below.

Gerry Smith, I am a text-based artist (2010)


As an example of the “Redcurrant themes” which characterise such a practice, I also cite the following reformulation by Smith of such a statement and practice as haiku as follows:

 I am therefore I

absences… you an artist

who uses text

For the conversation on the 25th, the starting point will be a series of books, pamphlets and cards that have been one location for Gerry’s recent work. These include Essential Reading, Away Wae Thi Burdies, Permanent Culture, I am A Text Based Artist/ Selected Words (1998-2008), Collected Fiction and Punctuation Poems.

This Line Is Six Feet Long and An Alexandrine from Storylines, WASPS Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh, 2010

More information on Gerry’s book works can be found on his website here.  In the context of the Betamaps events and their concern “with various notions of maps, movements, charts, instructions and recordings”- I want to note a constellation of concerns, histories, practices, and techniques evidenced in these publications, collaged from notes on the books Gerry sent me in an email on 16 June 2010: 

A working with “the/my own personal library… to enable the audience to complete their own library in a similar fashion… The Apocryphal Library, concerned with non-existent books/ Meta Books… a collection of short-form pieces which depict “encounters” that I’ve had with birds. It also has my first attempt at a punctuation poem (the haiku section of Guillemots)…

… a literary mulch – the cuttings/ shreddings of past writing helping to “bring on” or nourish new writing. The base materials all have a “mulch” connection, i.e. grass (predominantly Gunter and Whitman varieties, but also some other notable quotations) and other cuttings (my library again, and “shredded” newspapers)….

…. The book employs various writing structures and the end result was a book which was about the beginning of the writing process. It also has an annotated index…. 

…a collage short story constructed under a very tight constraint. Each line and its position in the short story was determined by the alphabetical order of the “donor” books from which it was taken (There was a substitution rule whereby I could use the preceding or following line from the donor book – so there was in effect a choice from 3 for each line). Some minor edits and alterations, specified beforehand, were also allowed… 

… The punctuation poems were a development of forms suggested by Francois Le Lionnais (OULIPO).I also drew upon the work of Ian Hamilton Finlay and Yoko Ono…

The conversation on the 25th will also consider Gerry’s recently completed The Universal History III, which has been constructed from 396 postcards. An extract of this is forthcoming on this site as a VSK Project.

A CONVERSATION WITH GERRY SMITH is the second in an itinerant series of conversations around the themes of WRITING/ EXHIBITION/ PUBLICATION. The first, with the curator Sonia Dermience, took place at shorttermsolutions in London in May.